SER # 18Wa
FIRST UMC – NEBRASKA CITY
WEDNESDAY APRIL 29TH 2020
TEXTS: HEBREWS 13: 1 – 3
THEME: BUILDING BRIDGES.
God is Good! All the time! And all the time! God is good!
Our Scripture today is Hebrews 13: 1 – 3 “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to Angels without knowing. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
The word of God to God’s people.
Announcement: Word of God written for the people of God – Thanks be to God.
We will have communion this Sunday so prepare to bring a piece of bread and some juice and we will consecrate them.
The Lord’s Prayer:
We are so thankful to God for this far that he has taken us God is Ebenezer. It is my prayer that the good Lord is keeping you safe and hoping for better days ahead. I would like us to meditate today on the words written in the book of Hebrews that we just read. Some scholars think Paul wrote the book of Hebrews, while many others agree nobody really knows who wrote it. My work here is not to try and explore the author of this Epistle, but rather for us to learn on the message that comes to us today.
From this passage I would like us to think for a moment on the theme I have called, Building bridges. The opposite of building bridges to me would be building wall or burning bridges and we know none of the latter really works. We can begin our journey on learning the importance of building bridges from Jesus himself. He came so that he would become the way the gate the passage for us to go to the father. Jesus is our mediator to God the father. We say our prayers through Jesu Christ. Jesus is the real bridge for he is when way the truth and the life. When Jesus came, he removed the walls that had been built to keep people separated by different ideologies, race and even gender. The Temple was composed of clear walls that separated people: court of gentiles, court of women, court of Israelites, court of priest, place of high priest only. There was curtain that divided holy of holies from the other sections. It was only the high priest would be allowed to enter to the holy of holies. It was so serious that when the high priest entered to the holy of holies, they had to tie a rope around him just in case he dies there or faint and nobody was allowed to go in there to get him out, they would pull him out using the rope he had tied around himself. It was this curtain that split into two when Jesus died on that Good Friday 2000 years ago, and there is no more wall hence Jesus became that bridge.
In the world we live today, we know what building bridge looks like. We build bridges to connect the gap. Those in education know what it means to develop programs that build bridges in order to connect to the next higher program or to something different and new. I leave that tread of thought to the academicians and educators to explain. Mine today is to try and learn together how we can build bridges in our faith journey. We understand the concept of what a bridge does in our everyday lives. The question today is what kind of bridges can we build as people of faith?
- Bridges of Shared Resources: God has blessed each one of us with some resources. Some resources are tangible while others are not. Think for a minute of items phones, computers, cars, and other gadgets. The question is how are you using them to bless others. We may give ourselves all excuses especially this time of covid – 19 due to social distancing but I believe we can keep the distance by picking a phone and calling somebody, by offering a donation to the food pantry that someone might be fed. I think of our own education, having two useful hands or even one that is still active, your voice, small garden and many more. Look around in your life and see if you have some resources that can be shared and in doing this we will be building bridges.
- Bridges of hope: When a person or community loses hope, they have lost everything that matters. It is hope that keep a single mother struggling knowing that some day all shall be well. It is hope that keep a poor child working hard knowing one day their work will be rewarded. It is the hope in each one of us that makes us ready to wake up and keep moving even when the odds are against us. We are at a time where people are struggling and they are just about to give up. Not very long I received a card from one of the church members encouraging me and reminding me that they were praying for me. This made my day and I still keep remembering those words. We have people now who are not sure how long they will keep their house, their car, even some of their house furniture. We may not have the answer for everything that is happening but a few words of encouragement will go a long way. I read one time of a story in a certain culture where there was famine and a mother would not know how she would keep her children spirit up when she was gone to look for food. She devised a way of getting some kind of rocks that looked like potatoes and she put them in the put and filled with water. She but in on a wooden pit fire place and told the children to keep the fire one and make sure they added some water until she came back. They did that they would even press to see if they were getting softer. Before dark mama came back with food. The moral of the story is that this kept the children hoping and before long there was food. Maybe you could be that person that brings hope to that family that is struggling and they are about to give up. If we seek to give hope God will always show us how. Words of encouragement, a twit, email or even a card. Let keep the hope our people high. Words like, ‘thinking about you means a lot.’
- Bridges of understanding: We live in a world of misunderstandings and this leads people to making poor decisions. When I have little free time my wife and I watch 90 days Fiancée (it is not the only thing I watch on TV). There is usually a lot of drama there but what is interesting to observe is the misunderstanding caused by people not understanding the culture of the other. It seems these relationships are across the continents. There was one time an interesting where an American elderly woman went to Nigeria to meet her love. She goes ahead to the boy’s parents to ask them permission to get married to their son. What the woman did not know women don’t ask permission to the boy’s parent to marry their son. When permission was denied she got very disappointed. I would like us to become the bridges of understanding within our government, our churches and at our place of work. The bridge of understanding is built: when we are willing to listen, not to judge, draw quick conclusions or make demands that can’t be fulfilled. We are called to become that listening ear, enabling hand, a far sight eye to the people. When there is too much darkness people are not able to see ahead. We try to shine the light of Jesus to the world.
- Bridges of possibilities: We have to be guided by the word of God that reminds us that there is nothing impossible to God. We have to help people by building bridges of possibilities in their lives. The world we live in today we are faced with all kind of challenges. But it is my believe that whatever we face today we can overcome by help of God. Paul reminds us of these powerful words. “But we have this treasure in the jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned, struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4: 7 -9). I am reminded of what my science teacher used to tell us that we have to think big for the sky is the limit. Living a life of possibilities is only possible when refuse to be limited by our disabilities that we have created around ourselves. We have to remind ourselves once more what the word of God tells us. Paul writes: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Ephesians 4:13). It is good to note that Paul is using singular here I which means you have the capability of doing the impossible because you ae not alone, but through Christ who then gives you strength. You have to think of yourself as a winner. I am reminded of insect movies like Anti Z, Bug world, Bee movie. They make what seemed impossible possible by not allowing themselves to be compromised. They allowed themselves to think outside the box so to speak. You have the best help you can ever wish for if you are willing to request. This helper is nobody else other than Jesus himself. We are all God’s people let us go out and build bridges not walls.