October 24, 2021
WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Let me remind you quickly of our protocols for everyone’s safety.
· Attendance was taken by Ushers as you entered.
· masks are required by Session, as well as social distancing
bulletins are placed in the pews to help with social distancing
· Offerings may be placed in the plate by the doors.
· Please write your prayer request on the Yellow cards. An usher will pick them up during the 1st hymn.
· Please join us after service for fellowship will be continuing with beverages only, in Calvin Hall
Gary Iverson, Bob Bock, Joan Boyd, Jack Braden, Wanda Hirl, Marilyn Neymeyer, Joan Pinkston, Maxine Wagner, Valerie Jerez, Annette Conzett, Jo Lefleur, Dr Dyke, Jane , , Amy Jacobs, Bonnie Pillers, Mike Niles, Harlan Marx had a knee replacement and Tom Kelly who is recovering from surgery. Lois Seger is moving to Council Bluffs, IA to be near her daughter and will be living in an assisted living -we send her with love, the Steven’s Family, Reed Family, Patti Thomas’s Family, Lassen Family Death Uwe’s son Robert, Family of Elise King, and Lucy Melvin hip surgery October 25
Call to worship Unison (based on Psalm 46:1-3 )
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult
GATHERING PRAYER (Unison)
Lord God, as we come to worship and praise You, help us to put aside all the distractions of our lives. The worries of our lives, the frustrations of each day, the angry words we have heard or spoken. All these distract us from You and we want to focus on You. Give us Your peace. Amen
*HYMN All people that on earth do Dwell No. 220
Prayer of Confession (UNISON)
We come before You, O God, not because we are worthy, but because You have called us to come to You. We have not loved our neighbor as ourselves, we have not turned the other cheek when someone assaults us with blows or words. We have not forgiven seven times seventy. We have failed You again and again.
We pray You to see into our hearts and know we want to follow You. Forgive and restore us that we may be Your servants in all we say and do. Amen
Assurance of Pardon
The mercy of the Lord endures forever. As far as the East is from the West, so far has God removed our sins from us.
(Unison) Because of this we can say we are forgiven people, thanks be to God, amen.
*THE PASSING OF THE PEACE
THE OFFERING AND OFFERTORY
Lord God, what we give is not ours. We give because You have given so freely and fully. We give not only these gifts, but we give ourselves to be used by You to do Your work. Amen
Prayer for Illumination
Lord God, open our ears and our hearts that we may truly hear You. Amen
27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” 28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
SERMON “you are setting your minds not on divine things ”
Mark 8:27-33 “you are setting your minds not on divine things”
The eighth chapter of Mark is a dividing point in the gospel. Up to now no one, including Jesus, has mentioned the word Christ or Messiah. From here on, we will hear it many times. Up to now, no one has talked about what lies ahead for Jesus. From here on, everything points to the cross and the suffering Jesus will endure. From this point on, Jesus is more and more intent abut telling his disciples, and us, what it means for Him to be called Messiah and what it means when we declare ourselves His disciples. He makes it clear his is not an easy path nor is it easy to be His follower.
Mark tells us Jesus was in Casoria Philippi when this incident took place. For us, this is merely a name. for the people of the time, there was some meaning. A temple had recently been built there for the worship of Cesare, who had declared himself to be worshiped as a God. In the past, the area had many temples dedicated to the worship of various Baals of the past. There were many places where worship could be given. It was in the midst of all this Jesus asked the disciples, “who do people say I am?”
That question was easy. All they had to do was echo the word on the street and there was no shortage of opinions out there. clearly word about the things Jesus was saying and doing was circulating among the people and there was no shortage of opinions about what these things meant.
“Some say John the Baptist, others, Elijah, and still others say you are one of the Prophets” from these answers we can see there was no one who did not agree Jesus was more than the average person proclaiming what they said was a word from God. Clearly, this Jesus was something out of the ordinary. John the Baptist was one most of the people had known because he was a contemporary of Jesus. John had, in fact, baptized Jesus. John had also rallied against Herod because Herod had taken his brothers wife. Because of this, Herod had John killed. The opinion that this voice had returned was a challenge to Herod. Elijah on the other hand was a voice from the past. Elijah was regarded as the last of the great prophets of the past. He had witnessed about the fall of Israel and its subjugation among other nations. The other prophets the disciples mentioned were an assortment of voices that had been judged to be witnesses to what God was doing or was about to do. The opinion of the masses, then, was this Jesus was part of succession of voices which had, in one way or another, been
witnesses to God’s work among the people.
From there, Jesus begins to get more personal with the disciples. “But who do YOU say I am?” they had been following him for some time, they had seen the miracles he had performed. they had seen him challenge the scribes and Pharisees; they had seen him come away unscathed by the attempts to trap him into saying something they could use as a charge against him. They had a up close and personal view of Jesus and had some time to talk among themselves as they saw these things unfold. What was their take on the things they had heard and seen? What did they think it all meant?
It's hard to imagine there was not a very pronounced silence following this question. It may have they were trying to decide what the “right” answer was. It may have been no one wanted to be the first to answer for fear of their answer being inadequate. As is true today, students are often reluctant to answer questions put by their teachers. The custom of that time was even more limited as students were usually not allowed to speak to their teachers and so the question was unexpected and it took some time to consider how they could answer.
Finally, old bull in the china shop Peter replied, “You are the Messiah” when we read this we tend to cheer for Peter. He has finally said what all of us have known since we began reading the Bible. Jesus IS the messiah, from now on surely things will be headed in the right direction. Surely, we think, Jesus will pat him on the head and say, “what a good boy you are” that’s what we tend to think as we read this, what we get is something quite different.
Instead, what we get is Jesus telling the disciples NOT to repeat what Peter just said. Our first reaction to that is to say WHAT? Surely what Peter said is true. Surely the point of being a disciple is to tell others who and what Jesus really is. Why does Jesus tell them not to repeat the most important thing we can say about Jesus? To say the least Jesus response is one most of us have wondered about. It is the last thing we expect when someone had identified Jesus as the Messiah.
To give my answer to the question I have to step aside from the story and share a personal story. it was during the quarter final exam in a college trig class my sophomore year in college. While I don’t remember the exact question, I remember
clearly what I did. I looked up the wrong function of an angle, then multiplied by the numerator rather than the denominator and, somehow, got the right answer. Because the professor asked us to show our work, he marked it wrong, but he did include a note saying, sometimes two wrongs do make a right. That is the reason I believe Jesus told the disciples and Peter not to repeat what just had been said: they had the right answer, but the work that got Peter to that answer was wrong.
We have to remember out understanding of the Messiah is very different than the common thinking of the Jewish people of that time. Their thinking was the messiah was going to restore the glory days of Israel. Their image was the days of King David when Israel was a force to be contended with, not a captured nation. The messiah was going to restore the peace, financial welfare and esteem of the country. The messiah was going to make Jerusalem great again. This messiah was gong to be the one who would correct all the things that were wrong and give Israel back a time of peace and prosperity, unfortunately, this was NOT the type of Messiah Jesus was going to be and so he instructed them to be silent until he could explain what type of Messiah he was going to be.
Then Jesus laid out for them what His version of the Messiah was to be: “Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the scribes and be killed. And after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly” this was a shocking thing to hear. All their lives they had heard this one definition of the messiah and the hope that held for Israel. Now the one Peter had just called the Messiah was giving them a picture that was totally the opposite.
It should not surprise us Peter began to rebuke Jesus. After all, the messiah was going to restore the glory of Israel. The messiah was going to give us the good old days when we can bask in the glory of our nation rather than existing as a captured nation under Rome. Everyone knows the messiah is going to give us great things, how could a messiah that was going to suffer and die accomplish anything? A messiah that was going to be rejected by all the ruling authorities could hardly be the one they were waiting for. The statements Jesus was making could hardly be true of the Messiah we have been told was going to come.
Jesus, in rebuking Peter, laid out what the difference was: “You are setting your minds not on the divine things but on the human things.” Jesus was telling Peter he was listening to the voices of the world and not really listening to what Jesus had bee saying. Yes, peter gave the right answer to Jesus’s question, but the way he got to the answer was all wrong. You need to step back and truly hear what I have been saying in all I have done. you need to understand the price you will pay if you understand what the Messiah truly is.
What, then, does it mean to focus on Human things rather than divine? How can we separate these things? Clearly, Peter did not understand it at this point or Jesus would not have rebuked him. What are the things Jesus lays out which we need to keep in front of us?
Jesus commands, he does not suggest, he does not recommend, he commands we pray for those who seek to do us harm. Because I often focus on human things, I have a lot of trouble praying for the leaders of Al-quida, I have trouble praying for the leaders of the Taliban, I have trouble praying for those who spread false information about vaccinations. They do so much damage, they lead others down a wrong path. I struggle continually to set my mind on the divine thing Jesus commands.
I want to have revenge, or at least see people who do things I believe harm me to have some sort of come-uppance. Jesus demands, he does not suggest, does not recommend, does not say it would be a good idea, he demands I forgive them in the same way I want to be forgiven by God for doing the things I do that offend God. That is focusing on divine, not human things.
I want to be popular, or at least liked by those around me, particularly by people who have positions of power. Jesus is saying he will be criticized because he is always seen with “the wrong people”: he was seen with gentiles. With lepers, he freely associated with women, with all the people who were usually dis-regarded by the rich and powerful. He was not only with them, he touched them, he had dinner in their homes. Surely, were things every good Jew was taught to avoid at all costs. After all, contact with them made a person unclean. That is looking at things from a human point of view not divine.
We hear the words when Jesus says take up our cross and follow him but our reaction is to say something along the lines of, “Surely, we are not called to suffer but to be secure and comfortable” these things are just too difficult, Jesus MUST have meant something different. As we do this, we echo what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:18-19: “for the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God” it is the difference between the human and the divine answer to Jesus’ question: who do you say I am?
When Jesus went to those who were outside the usual definition of acceptable, he was showing the difference between the divine and the human. We tend to go to those who deserve to be helped. Jesus went to those who tend to be ignored. He was showing God’s mercy being extended to all. Even those who are unacceptable from the human viewpoint.
His disciples often did not understand what he was doing. How many times do we read about them discussing the things Jesus had just said or done and they did not get what was happening? Our temptation is to get away from people who do not understand or appreciate what we are doing. That is the human point of view. Jesus continued to teach them, to urge them along the direction he wanted them to go. We begin to understand that even though I do not always understand or appreciate the things he is saying, he will not desert me. Because he did not separate himself from them even though they did not get his message, he will not separate himself from us, even though we do not always get the message. Even at the cross, one of the last things he said was, “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing”. Those words serve to remind me that there is nothing I can do that will separate me from God’s love.
We have felt the power of forgiveness when someone we have harmed forgives us. we know the burden that is lifted from us. we feel the release when we forgive someone who has done something to us. there is a weight lifted from our lives that is very real. We feel the power of the divine point of view.
We come to worship because we understand we do not have the ability to see things from a divine point of view. It is much easier to see things from a human point of view. After all, that is what is around us all the time. It is easier to remain within the bounds of the way things are going rather than rocking the boat. Doing things in that way, however, does not bring us the inner peace we like to tell ourselves it does. There is something that does not sit well within us when we see things from the human point of view. We understand we need to do something different.
When we start a new exercise program, it always feels difficult. We are stretching muscles we did not know we had. In general, it feels like a lot of work. The easy thing to do is give up and go back to what we were doing before. Because of what the doctor tells us, however, we stick with the program and it becomes our routine. We find ourselves finding the benefits of the program rather than the difficulties. We find ourselves doing the exercises we despised because we can tell the difference it makes.
When we try to see things from the divine point of view, all we can see are the impossibilities, the difficulties, the strangeness of what we are doing. When we come here and ask God for the ability to see things from the divine point of view, we find our eyesight beginning to change and we see the things Jesus calls us to do every day,
*Hymn Called as partners in Christ’s service” No.343
AFFIRMATION Apostle’s Creed, Ecumenical Version
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven,
He is seated on the right hand of the Father,
And he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
MORNING PRAYER AND LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done in earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever. Amen.
*HYMN Lord, dismiss us with thy blessing No 538
CHARGE & BLESSING
Go out into the world with love, render to no one evil for evil. May the blessing of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit be with us now and forever more. Amen
*Stand as you are able.