Father’s Day – June 19, 2022
Who Is God the Son? (Part Three)
A Lived Faith Through Jesus Christ, God, who had all power, majesty, glory, and honor, took on human form. Christ did not come as a conquering general, a mighty ruler, or a wealthy captain of industry. Christ came as a common person. He worked with his hands. He ate common, everyday food and wore common, everyday clothes. He was not one of the power elite. Jesus says of himself in Mark 10:45: “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, to give his life a ransom for many.” Christ had more power and more claim to glory than any of us could ever imagine, and he gave all of it up for people like us. Though we call him “Lord,” he came to serve. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, cast out demons, and taught about God’s will for humankind. He washed the feet of his own followers (John 13:1-20). He did not ask for money or seek fame for doing these acts of kindness. He was not doing these things for himself, but for people in need: sick people, hurting people, people who needed to hear about God’s will for their lives. Most significantly of all, Jesus died on the cross. Crucifixion was often called the “slave’s punishment” in Jesus’ day. It was generally considered the worst way to die. It was not only a form of physical torture, but it was also a way to humiliate and make an example of a criminal, a way to deter others from engaging in the kind of behavior of which the victim of crucifixion was accused. All of this takes us back to the notion of kenosis, or “emptying.” Christ did not empty himself of his divinity, but he did empty himself of all of the privilege that went along with being God.
The Incarnation says something about the way in which God believes that human beings should live. Jesus lived in a particular way that teaches us about the virtues that we, his followers, should try to embody. Of course, none of us is Jesus, and we should not ever confuse ourselves with Jesus, but we can try to embody the same kind of virtues that Jesus embodied. Jesus, first and foremost, embodies self-giving. In fact, we might say that Jesus is God’s self-giving to humankind. If God is self-giving in such a remarkable way, those who try to live as God would wish should be self-giving as well. Philippians tells us that Christ “humbled himself” in taking on human form. Therefore, we who follow Christ should also try to embody the virtue of humility. Jesus’ ministry was one of service to others through healing, teaching, and acts of love and kindness. Therefore, we should also live lives in service to others in the ways that are available to us. Jesus welcomed people into his group who were thought to be undesirables by many in his day because they were sick, sinful, poor, or perhaps all three. We who follow Jesus, then, should welcome within our family of faith those who are outcast, hurting, desperate, and in need of grace and forgiveness.
In the light of the Incarnation, how should we relate to other people? How should we spend our money? How should we spend our time? To what extent can we describe our lives as self-giving? To what extent can we say that we embody humility? Within much of our culture, these are not the values that are held up before us. Rather, the values of personal gain, fame, wealth, advancement, and prestige are being held up before us all of the time. In a culture that is obsessed with celebrity, with reality TV, and with shows in which people routinely stab one another in the back in the hopes of winning both money and celebrity, the Incarnation challenges us at the deepest level to live in a way that is countercultural. If we view the world through the lens of the Incarnation, we will see these self-aggrandizing values for what they are: they are sinful. Continued >
A Deeper Faith The claim that Jesus of Nazareth is fully human and fully divine is clearly a dramatic, even sensational, claim. We can all agree on its relevance, but can we really say it is true? What drove the early disciples and the early church to make such an amazing assertion? Clearly, the first disciples were deeply puzzled by their experience of Jesus. Most if not all of them saw Jesus initially as a potential political figure who would liberate them from the hated Roman occupation and restore the fortunes of Israel as a nation. This fitted nicely with their own desires to be top dogs in the new regime they hoped Jesus would establish in Jerusalem. Over time, they came to see things differently. At one level this meant they had to reorder their own desires to align them with those of Jesus and face the suffering this would involve. However, only masochists would suffer for a cause that they found incredible. Hence at a deeper intellectual level they came around to seeing Jesus as the Savior who would liberate not only from political oppression but also from bondage to sin and evil. Their Jewish heritage paved the way for this radical shift of vision by making it clear that God was indeed a liberator, but the liberation cut much deeper than mere liberation from political oppression. Human nature itself needed to be set free from its hopelessly disordered state and turned the right way up. Only God could pull off this deeper operation.
The key to the change of their vision of Jesus lay in the actions they saw Jesus perform. The bottom line was that Jesus performed the acts that every informed Jew knew only God could perform. When they saw Jesus teach with searching authority; when they witnessed him heal with direct miraculous power; when they heard him forgive sins against God without hesitation; When they saw him exercise direct power over sickness, nature, and death; when they noted his amazing authority over evil and the demonic; all these gave them an acute pain in the brain. Why? It was because these were exactly the acts that identified the very God of Israel. Moreover, in his trial, Jesus openly claimed to be the Son of God (Mark 14:61-62). When you ponder this over time, you are left with few options. You can say that Jesus was an imposter and a fraud. You can answer that he needs psychiatric attention. Or you can begin to see that Jesus is indeed something much more than a mere prophet or teacher: he really is the Son of God. Once you make this shift, other things fall into place. Why is it that he never asks forgiveness for his own sins? How is it that there is such intimacy with the God of Israel? Why and how was he so dramatically raised from the dead? Why and how does Jesus, risen from the dead, bestow on the first disciples and on us the Holy Spirit? Why does the early church begin to worship him as they worship the God of Israel? What happened is that Jesus came to be seen as the Lord, the Son of God, acting as God did to recreate and restore the world to sanity and good health.
Historians have always been baffled by Jesus. Over the last two hundred years, when many have rejected the teaching of the Church about Jesus, they have tried ever so hard to figure out an alternative. Try as they may, they cannot reach a consensus. In many cases they simply project their own vision of what they would like Jesus to be; they recreate Jesus in their own image. The early disciples did not do this. On the contrary, they were driven to abandon their image of Jesus and learn a whole new way of thinking and speaking about him. We can see this in the gospels, most especially in the Gospel of John. The early church ran with this profound vision of Jesus as the Son of God and in time hammered out the full implications that we find written up so succinctly in the creeds. This kind of move involved an intellectual revolution in the theology of Judaism. It required intense reflection and amazing intellectual boldness. It also required a massive revolution in how they lived; and it led into blessings untold in their lives and in the church as a whole. The same holds true today. This is the faith that has sustained the saints and martyrs of history; it also sustains deep faith today, the kind of faith that can really change the world. Peace be with you, Buster
Can Bad Situation become a Blessing? Our May 1, Worship Service was moved to a member’s home due to a water pipe break and flooding of part of the church. The experience was wonderful and warm. Message Title: The World Upset with Easter
07 Bettie Brandenberger
08 Carrie Trietsch
12 Shanelle Haisler
18 Hannah Levelle
27 Kiefer Hardin
16 Ricky and Susie Schertz
26 Herf and Wanda Graham
Jacob and Sophie Cotton
Karan Muns, Our Very Special Office Administrator Received Her Master’s
Karan graduated from UNT Sunday, May 15 at 4 p.m. with a Master of Arts in Journalism and a public relations certificate. I started the program in the Spring of 2020 and finished with a 4.0. The name of my thesis is “Structural Affordances and Message Frames of Animal Rescue Facebook Posts.”
“I’m very grateful to have been working at Blue Mound during this part of my life. I would not have been successful if not for my church family and the flexibility and grace they extended to me time and time again.” Karan
05 Holy Communion
12 Second Sunday Lunch, Noon
19 Father’s Day
25 Family Fellowship Night, 6:00 pm Fun, Games, and Food.
There are so many events during a month’s time that they can not all be told in this newsletter.
Please check with a friend, the Sunday Bulletins and/or our weekly email updates for more information.
God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change:
Change the things I can and Wisdom to know the different.
Living one day at a time, Enjoying one moment at a time.
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
Taking as he did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will.
That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.
BLUE MOUND UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
8421 N. Interstate 35, Denton, TX 76207-1537 (940) 382-0825
Midway between Denton and Sanger at Exit 473
Sunday School: 9:30 am, Sunday Worship: 10:45 am
Linda Boyer, Newsletter Editor
Need to contact Pastor Buster Noah?