|“In an ideal world our beliefs and our actions need to line up perfectly - but in our global world, our beliefs are divorced from our actions, and the world has a name for that - it’s called hypocrisy.”
What is our response? Well, the Gospel for Sunday (along with our weekly worship routine) reminds us that we are not perfect, and that we can take time to recognize our imperfections, and that we not only can, but probably NEED to call on Jesus for mercy...
We need this connection with Jesus both in recognizing for ourselves what might need to change, but even more poignantly, that in recognition and asking for forgiveness, our relationship with Jesus transforms us...
Pastor Todd reminded us there are many ways that we encounter the world around us and referred first to Dr. J. Allen Hynek (who influenced Steven Spielberg’s movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind) came up with a categorization of alien encounters. Of which we may be familiar - but the
1 - seeing a UFO
2 - having physical proof
3 - actually making a connection
But we go one step further with Jesus - A close encounter of the Jesus kind transforms our lives...it changes us.
Is that true in your life? Has there been a close encounter of the Jesus kind in your life? Have you noticed any change or transformation? Do you long for it? Do you celebrate it? And what comes next?
In our faith practice there are ways (large or small) that we can take steps in celebrating and experiencing this connection and change. Some might find that gathering around conversation and bible study might help, or singing songs, or creating textiles to be passed on (like the quilters, or the artists or the musicians among us)
Finally - Pastor Todd referred to the 3300 vertical climb - from Jericho to Jerusalem that Jesus and the disciples were walking along. This was the path of the pilgrimage to Jesuralsm and there were “travelling songs” that people sang along the way. We know them as Psalms 120 - 134 which are called the psalms of ascent - a way to encourage. If you would like to look more into these psalms - check out this site...
As we enter into the Holiday season, may you be encouraged, and transformed, and know that if and when you are in need of help, Jesus will have mercy....