July 7, 2010


I try not to be too culturally relevant in my sermons these days. During the sermon, my congregation is made up of people aged as young as 12 months to as old as 88 (plus or minus). It is hard to make a reference to a movie or TV show and have everybody get it. Two and a half years ago, I preached Ricky Bobby's Baby Jesus Prayer, and a lot of people were clueless (though when I repeated *most* of the prayer from the pulpit, laughter came from many generations.

Anyway, all that to say, that I'm thinking about Yoda's wisdom, "do or do not, there is no try" this morning as I read Jesus' Parable of the Good Samaritan. Twice in the interaction with the lawyer Jesus uses that scary, two-letter word, "do."

"You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live."
"Go, and do likewise."

The "do" that Jesus is talking about is particularly difficult. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself."

Do that and you will live. In the words of my 16 month-old daughter, uh-oh.

And then there is that pesky call to "show mercy" which is amazingly hard to do. Being merciful is a specific quality of God. Our Muslim neighbors, when they utter the divine name, Allah, always follow it with two qualities of God, most gracious and merciful.

The "do" that Jesus is demanding of his inquisitor is love and mercy. The "do" that Jesus is calling us to is to emulate God. And this is something you either do or don't do, there is no try.

Not sure if I'll invoke Yoda from the pulpit this week. I'm not quite nerdy enough for that. But, the point remains. We're called to "do."


Scout said...

you are great! don't ever leave us...we need the sane, the smart, the technological to stay and help keep us alive....

Colby Cheese said...

(excerpt from RECLAIMING CHURCH by Doug Sloan)

“Doing” has to be the new definition of faith. A “new definition” will not be statements of purpose/mission/vision or political participation or public stances on issues or styles of worship. It will be specific activities; specific ways of living that are the new definition. Participating in CODA or LifeLine or Habitat for Humanity will not be an outreach activity; it will be what we do and definitive of who we are. Supporting a free clinic or a food pantry or a shelter for the homeless will not be the focus of an annual fund-raising event; it will be part of our continuously active and visible theological and spiritual DNA. Worship will not be every Sunday morning – it will be whenever and wherever 2 or 3 (not 200 or 300, not 2,000 or 3,000, not 20,000 or 30,000) are gathered to live, study, and contemplate the Good News. Indeed, “doing” will be about living and being the Good News, not scheduling it as a repetitive activity on our digital calendar on the same day at the same time that always occurs at the same location and always follows the same sequence. “Doing” our faith does not require capital campaigns; local, regional, or national governing boards; seminaries; or licensing/ordination policies.

“Doing” our faith has to be seen as a radical, counter-cultural, defiant way of living. By its very nature, our faith is not supposed to be institutionalized and not measured by largeness, cultural pervasiveness, or authoritarianism. Our faith is supposed to be personal and divinely humane. Our faithful doing is to be delivered person-to-person, face-to-face, one-to-one – not by an invisible faceless remote committee or collective. “Doing” our faith can be accomplished only with more personal involvement and not with more technology that is better, more pervasive, more invasive, and increasingly remote and detached.