The Holy Gospel: April 28, 2013 (Year C)

Read:  John 13:31-35

Meditation:  “Show and Tell”

E. Stanley Jones emphasized the fact that at the core of Christianity we find a person, not a philosophy–incarnation, not information.

Jesus reveals this in today’s lesson.  “Love one another” is philosophy–good philosophy–something every major religion advocates. 

But Jesus did not stop there.  He added, “as I have loved you.” Word became flesh.  A concept became concrete–truth illustrated.  Jesus’ example was both the source and confirmation of the message.

The pattern is still the same–the word must still become flesh in order to be understood.  We are more likely to say, “I get it” when we see it done than when we only read about it.

Similarly, the world is attracted by lived theology and incarnated truth.

Brennan Manning believed that the main reason the church does not grow is that Christians do not live, enact, behave, incarnate the Gospel—leaving people to say, “There’s nothing to it.”

I completely agree.  We do not need another “church growth” conference to assess our situation and propose strategies for increase as much as we need “let’s get serious Sundays”—weekly opportunities to confess that we have failed to turn word into flesh, and to make new commitments to do so.

Our hearts will not feel so phony if we do this, and the world will no think we are selling them a bill of goods.

Ironic, isn’t it that a pre-school activity—“show and tell”—could turn out to be what we need most.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 31 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
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4 Responses to The Holy Gospel: April 28, 2013 (Year C)

  1. Diva Carol says:

    Steve: Isn’t it funny how many church growth conferences seem to be about ways to make the church grow without being incarnational? It’s the same way with church mission statements. We have been given the mission statement in Matthew 28. We don’t need to reinvent it.

  2. Scott Hagood says:

    And we should do our “show and tell” with the same enthusiasm and compassion that a child does when they take a simple toy to pre-school to show their friends and explain what the toy is and means to them. Thanks for helping me see the lesson my grandson has been trying to teach me about “show and tell.”

  3. Tom Pope says:

    Steve,
    Thank you. This is right in line with what I am preaching tomorrow. Preaching a series on Building a Kingdom Mindset. Tomorrow’s scripture is the Gospel reading. Theme of Loving like Jesus. By the way, I’m borrowing (and attributing) your E. Stanley Jones quote.

  4. Ed Dickens says:

    Amen and Amen Brother Steve, this resonates deep within me as it helps focus an action statement for the congregation I serve as we go to make disciples. Thanks much! In His grip, Ed

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