Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Apple and the Chalice

Old Rabbi - free clip art
Pastor Jerry began his sermon reading from  Ephesians 2:13-14.  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

Pastor stated that in this world, our cities, our homes and churches there is much misunderstanding and we must remember that Jesus is our peace and breaks down all the barriers. 

Today we were to have continued serious conversations about the future of our small church.  There would be discussion of options if we continue to loose members in death.

To illustrate how there can be two different opinions about the same subject, he told this fictional story.  The Pope and the Rabbi:
About a century or two ago, the Pope decided that all the Jews had to leave Italy. Naturally there was a big uproar from the Jewish community.

So the Pope made a deal. He would have a religious debate with a member of the Jewish community. If the Jew won, the Jews could stay. If the Pope won, the Jews would leave.

The Jewish people met and picked an aged but wise Rabbi Moishe to represent them in the debate. However, as Moishe spoke no Italian and the Pope spoke no Yiddish, they all agreed that it would be a silent debate.

The day of the great debate came. Moishe and the Pope sat opposite each other for a full minute before the Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers. Moishe looked at him and raised one finger.

The Pope waved his hand in a circle around his head. Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat.

The Pope pulled out a wafer and a glass of wine. Moishe pulled out an apple.

The Pope stood up and said, “I give up. This man is too good. The Jews can stay.”

The cardinals were all around the Pope asking him what happened.
The Pope said: “First I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity.  He responded by holding up one finger to remind me that there was still one God common to both our religions.

“Then I waved my hand around me to show him that God was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground, showing that God was also right here with us.

“I pulled out the wine and the wafer to show that God absolves us from our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of original sin. He had an answer for everything. What could I do?”

Meanwhile, the Jewish community had crowded around Moishe; amazed that this old, almost feeble-minded man had done what all their scholars had insisted was impossible! “What happened?” they asked.

“I haven’t a clue,” said Moishe, “First he said to me that the Jews had three days to get out of here. I told him that not one Jew was leaving.

“Then he told me that this whole city would be cleared of Jews. I let him know that we were staying right here.”

“And then what?” asked a woman. “I don’t know,” said Moishe. “He took out his lunch and I took out mine.”
   ~ ~ ~ ~
This world is rapidly changing and churches must change along with it.  New methods must be considered for church growth.  The church is assigned to bring about holiness, and share the love of Christ to hurting people.  There are many fragmented families with division and confusion that need comfort and direction. 
What is the greatest need of mankind?  The answer is simple, people need to hear and receive the good news of the Gospel.  Jesus came to seek and to save the lost and is not willing that any should perish but that they should come and receive Him.
Somewhere there is always war and seemingly no peace except in the hearts of those who follow Christ Jesus.  Jesus prayed that we be united and be as one.  It may take our every effort in the Spirit to be of like mind and heart.
Jesus reminded his disciples to love one another and as he offered the bread he said, “This is my body broken for you.”

1 comment:

  1. That's a great story!

    I'm praying for your church, Hazel. May our Father bless your church and all who gather with you.


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