In-person worship services will be held as scheduled this Sunday. Please use discretion when determining whether roads are safe for your personal travel.
If you are unable to travel, consider joining worship online HERE at 7:30, 9, 11 or 5pm, on-demand at Resurrection’s YouTube channel, or on TV at KMCI 38 at 8am or 11am.
We are watching the weather and at this time the Car Show is still on as scheduled for the public, open from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. We will keep you updated as conditions change.
1 The LORD said to Abram, “Leave your land, your family, and your father’s household for the land that I will show you. 2 I will make of you a great nation and will bless you. I will make your name respected, and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
those who curse you I will curse;
all the families of the earth
will be blessed because of you.”
34 Jesus said to them, “I am fed by doing the will of the one who sent me and by completing his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘Four more months and then it’s time for harvest’? Look, I tell you: open your eyes and notice that the fields are already ripe for the harvest. 36 Those who harvest are receiving their pay and gathering fruit for eternal life so that those who sow and those who harvest can celebrate together. 37 This is a true saying, that one sows and another harvests. 38 I have sent you to harvest what you didn’t work hard for; others worked hard, and you will share in their hard work.”
39 Many Samaritans in that city believed in Jesus because of the woman’s word when she testified, “He told me everything I’ve ever done.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 Many more believed because of his word.
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him, but some doubted. 18 Jesus came near and spoke to them, “I’ve received all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.”
38 Peter replied, “Change your hearts and lives. Each of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is for you, your children, and for all who are far away—as many as the Lord our God invites.” 40 With many other words he testified to them and encouraged them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Those who accepted Peter’s message were baptized. God brought about three thousand people into the community on that day.
God’s revolutionary mission didn’t even start with Jesus’ time on earth. It was already there in God’s call to Abram (later Abraham). Now to be clear: the church’s goal is never to merely post impressive numbers. Sometimes, in the story of Jesus Revolution and in the Bible’s story of Jesus, people who saw themselves as among the holiest left in disgust because the church welcomed people they found unworthy—and that didn’t alter the mission. On the other hand, as in today’s readings, sometimes numbers tell the story of people, real people, lots of them, who have found healing and hope because the church has brought them into the saving circle of God’s love. And Jesus’ example was clearcut. His actions in hostile, suspicious Samaria were an early preview of the “Great Commission” he gave his followers in Matthew 28. It included (and includes) caring about “all nations,” making continual choices to invest our energy and talents in making the lives of others better.
Loving Jesus, not everyone you invited chose to follow you. But enough did that someone gave me that invitation. Help me join the ranks of your followers who share as a key part of walking with you. Amen.
I’m not a fan of strawberries! Perhaps that is why my mom sent me to a local strawberry patch when I was kid. She knew if I went picking strawberries all of them would come home rather than ending up in my stomach. I remember looking down the rows of strawberries and being impressed by the work one person was able to accomplish. Strawberries were everywhere and so well cared for. Many people were going to enjoy strawberry goodness because of one person’s time and attention in the patches.
The passages we read today tell stories of large numbers of people coming to find Jesus. Stories showing us that the harvest truly is ready like those strawberry patches. However, I’m especially drawn to the John passage where we get just a hint of the Jesus Revolution that took place in Samaria. Jesus stops in Samaria on his road trip and connects with a Samaritan woman who is considered a bit of an outcast. It is through this personal conversation and connection that a whole community gets to experience a Jesus revolution. It seems to me (and research backs this up) that big things happen one small step at a time. Sometimes we sit back and wait for the incredible thing to happen when in general that is not how it works. What could God do if I took the initiative in something small like a relationship, a kind act, or a helpful word? God can use small things and do something big. Small things can lead to big things with God. We see this all the time in Scripture. It is just up to me to do that small thing.
So back to my strawberry picking. The keeper of the strawberry patch was one lady who also happened to be my Sunday school teacher. She knew all about harvests both in the produce area but also in the Jesus area. She was always building relationships and pointing kids like me to Jesus, and because of that her harvest was not only strawberries but people too!
* Theodore Hiebert, sidebar note “The Promises to the Ancestors” in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 23 OT.