Text: Luke 9: 62
Focus! That’s the word for today. Focus!
What a child needed to learn when a parent gave in to the plea,
“Let me mow the yard!”
First try and there were weaving cuts in the grass that turned
their front yard into a meandering pattern of confusion - and the follow-up lesson,
“Focus on a marker ahead of you and then keep every cut in line with the first one.”
The boy mowed a few passes and then quit.
It was hot, he was tired, and besides, some friends came by and
invited him to go to the pool.
Second lesson the parent added to the first:
“Stick with mowing until you are finished!”
Jesus’ Gospel charge carried from a first-century agricultural setting to be applied to our twenty-first-century urban farming: “Focus!” and ‘Stick with what you are doing until the job is done!” - with the “it” not being plowing a field or cutting the grass but what Jesus called “the kingdom of God.”
We who are sitting in a Sunday morning service of worship, listening to Jesus’ stern charge: “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” may hear it as a summons that has us wavering back and forth between despair and anger.
Despair that so many are NOT with us in worship and anger that they are not committing to hold to their vow to “profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior” and be “a faithful member of the church of Jesus Christ” sharing regularly in the worship of God and enlisting in the work of this local church as it serves this community and the world.” (Quotes from the “Order for Confirmation: Affirmation of Baptism,” UCC Book of Worship and New Century Hymnal, p.38 and 41)
But, might we hear Jesus’ charge to us who are here in worship
as a call to update the agricultural scene Jesus used for His charge to our day when so many people are what could be called” “Urban farmers?”
Urban farmers whose plow may be a steering wheel of a car working the field of Rt. 422 or the Expressway or turnpike or interstate.
For children and teens their hand may be on a football or volleyball or basketball, a hockey or lacrosse stick, tennis racket or golf club, and their field is the surface for their sport.
“Urban farmers” who, when committing to follow Jesus, hear His “fit for the kingdom of God” as the lifelong goal that stands alongside their immediate goals and outlasts all of them.
Just as farming equipment has changed from that Gospel plow, might we see that we who are able to be here on a Sunday morning, listening to Jesus’ charge:
“No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
have a new mission to those “urban farmers” whose field is the workplace or the sports clubs and games that keep them from being with us.
Our first mission is to:
let them know we are praying for them- and we let them know when we see them, or through a call or test
message, because we know they want to be here but there are work assignments or sports schedules
that can’t be changed. It’s the reality of today’s world!
Our first mission: to let those who are caught in that bind know we pray that they may have the strength
to balance all the pressures in their life.
Our second mission is to:
use the electronic, high tech world as the new Gutenberg press that more than 500 years ago made it
possible for the Bible to be in the hands of the people, who received it with more excitement that the
announcement that Christopher Columbus had discovered a New World.
Now we can give those who are taken away from worshiping with us:
- web site addresses for daily devotionals and readings of the lessons we are hearing; and our church’s
webpage with a weekly sermon;
- along with sing-along CD’s for families to play as they travel and hear songs that carry the words of the
Bibles and teach what it means to be followers of Jesus,
- and we have a weekly email message that is a virtual visit with missionaries and the places where they are
serving, and an online emersion in the life and faith of Christians all around the world.
Our second mission: to let those who are caught in the bind of schedules know they can use a cell
phone, IPad, or laptop to be in church electronically, to grow into living the Jesus life, to be fixed on the
life-long goal of being “fit for the kingdom of God.”
And our third mission: (in keeping with our name “Trinity Church” having a “Trinitarian” mission)
To rejoice in those times when we can all be together in worship, around Jesus’ table set with bread and cup,
and when we can sit in our “upper room” – Hendricks Room – where we say “we are doing what we do best – eat,” and add, “We are practicing, because Jesus said the kingdom will begin with a banquet.”
All the time, however, we hold to two convictions of Christ’s family, the church, two UNCHANGING commitments:
One, the work remains the same – to use the plow of the Bible and the worship and sacraments of the church to plant the seeds of new life in Christ in the soil of people’s lives.
Two: the focus remains the same – to live as citizen of God’s kingdom.,
“Urban farming!” in these challenging, exciting times!
May God hold our hands to the plow and fix our eyes on the goal early Christians put into words that relate to our sports motivated and regulated times: (Hebrews 12: 1,2)
“let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” AMEN.