Friday, January 25, 2013

An Unforgettable Sermon

I once had a plan for a sermon  but Murphy and his silly laws got in the way. The sermon was from Matthew 25 about the story of ten bride’s maids and their oil lamps. You need to know that the last time I was in Jerusalem I purchased several clay oil lamps of the kind used in the days of Jesus. My thought was to use one of them to demonstrate how these lamps provided light and how oil was added and have the lamp burning on the communion table during the sermon.

On Friday I took my oil lamp to church and practiced with several wicks to get it just right. The fourth time it worked like a charm. The lamp worked just the way I wanted it to and it was easy to put out. Then I thought I would introduce it during the children’s moment and leave it lit on the table. It seemed like such a good plan to help every one focus on the sermon and remember it well.

On that Sunday I had everything set up and the children came forward and it was all working just like I thought up until I added a bit of oil to the lamp and some of it got on the top of the lamp. We sang “give me oil for my lamp keep me burning.” It wasn’t much just a bit and I lit the wick. It looked OK and was for a moment. I set the lamp on the table and got ready for communion. During communion I looked at the lamp and noticed that not only was the wick burning but so was the whole lamp.

One of the elders tried to put it out with the candle snuffer but that was too small and then the lamp fell off the table onto the floor… Well we got the fire out with no real damage but it will be a sermon that no one who was present will ever forget. We can make great plans and even work hard to make them work but we need to be ready for the unexpected. Being ready for the unexpected was even covered in the sermon.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Our Federal Government

The preamble of the US Constitution gives us the purpose for establishing our representative form of government. It is short but it covers a lot of concepts by which we are governed. I have been thinking about each of these reasons for our federal government.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

First on the list is justice and I read that equal justice for all people in this country. We may have a trial by a jury of our peers and when accused the arresting authority must inform us of our rights. This includes the right to an attorney provided by the state if we can not afford one.

Domestic Tranquility:
The federal government is charged with keeping the peace within our borders.

Provide for the common defense:
Provide for Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines to keep us safe from outside aggressors.

Promote the General Welfare:
People interpret this in many ways. The debate is on going concerning our care of the poor, sick and disabled. Is the affordable health care act covered by this?

Secure the Blessings of Liberty:
Not just for ourselves but for future generations.