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Thinking about this week’s sermon

The text this week is Mark 3:20-35. Here are my preliminary thoughts about it, and the introduction to our summer series on Ordinary Time.

This week we move into Ordinary Time. This is the time of the year where we set aside the pomp and circumstance of the big holy days of the church calendar and focus on what it looks like to live in God’s Kingdom in the everyday spaces of our lives.

This summer you will probably spend many hours outside doing ordinary things like mowing the lawn, gathering with friends around the grill for barbeque, sitting on a boat with a line dropped in the water and a cold drink in your hand, or standing on the sidelines of your child’s baseball or soccer game. That doesn’t sound very religious or spiritual, does it?

The people who watched Jesus live his life didn’t think he was very religious or spiritual either. Notice how most of Jesus’ life is not spent in religious places like the temple or the local synagogue. Jesus spent his time out with the ordinary people. In fact, he hung out with the outcasts of society–the sick, the lame, the demon possessed. When he hung out with them he transformed ordinary spaces into places of healing and renewal. Jesus filled ordinary spaces with the reality of God’s love and presence in the real world and the forces of evil could not stand against it.

The ironic thing is that the religious people–who worked hard to stay away from these ordinary places–thought Jesus was crazy and demon possessed. Imagine what would happen if you lived like that in your ordinary spaces this summer. What would happen if, when the people at the barbeque or the game start trash talking and gossipping about someone, you spoke good things about them and resisted getting sucked into that negative vortex? What would happen if you opened your eyes and noticed the people on the fringes and welcomed them into your groups or offered them genuine hospitality? Two things would probably happen. First, the Kingdom of God’s love would break open around you and turn that ordinary space into something holy. Second, the “religious” people around you might think you’re crazy.

Oh well. Let them think it. You’re in good company. Join us this weekend as we launch into the Ordinary Time and see how we can meet God in the everyday spaces of our lives.

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