Rev. Chelsea Simon
Sunday, September 5, 2021 at 9:30am
Outdoor & Livestream Worship
My son, Max, turned 3 ½ this past week. Three is such an interesting age. It is full of sweet moments. Moments where he gives me hugs, tells me he loves me, and let’s me put him to bed. It is also full of not so sweet moments. Moments where he is screaming “no, Mommy”, pushing boundaries, and breaking rules. I call these the sour patch years. First he’s sour, then he’s sweet.
I am constantly telling Max to, “be nice.” For some reason it is very important to me that Max be a “nice” kid. But I started thinking about that recently. What do I mean by “nice”? Nice isn’t exactly a positive word. If you spent 6+ hours cooking a meal and someone said, “oh it was nice”, that wouldn’t be a compliment. If you went on a first date with someone and your friend asked you how it went, and you said, “ah it was nice”, there probably wouldn’t be a second date.
I started thinking about nice and how it might relate to Jesus. I came to the conclusion that Jesus wasn’t nice. Jesus was compassionate, loving, and kind. But nice Jesus….I don’t think so. In fact, Jesus made people uncomfortable, and angry. He held people accountable and called them out on their wrong doings. Jesus demanded justice and a better way of living. He called Pharisees serpents and vipers. He flipped tables.
Pastor Carlos A Rodriquez puts it this way,
“Jesus wasn’t nice.
Yes he was loving and inclusive - but in the way that gets you rejected by the religious.
Yes he was generous and truthful - but in the way that gets you persecuted by the powerful.
Niceness was not his mission.
Destroying oppressive systems was.
This week we will look at the book of James which gives us sage wisdom on how to live as followers of Jesus. James challenges us. How does our faith, or belief structure, influence the ways in which we live and participate in the world?
I hope you'll join me at 8 a.m. in the Chapel (a shortened thirty-minute Communion service) to start your day, 9:30 a.m. for Outside Worship or Online Worship (Livestreamed at 9:30 a.m. and on Facebook or our YouTube Channel throughout the day or week to come).
Peace in Christ,