8/30/20 – “Meet John, the son of Zebedee”

Posted on : Aug 28th, 2020 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

“Meet John, the son of Zebedee”

This Sunday, we will be meeting the disciple/apostle named John. He is the brother of James and they were the sons of Zebedee. He is attributed with writing the Gospel that bears his name. But he is better known to us as the “Beloved Disciple” or the “Disciple Whom Jesus’ Loved.” The Gospel narratives tell us that at the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples {what we celebrate as Communion} John rested his head on Jesus’ chest during the supper. The image above depicts that scene.

The scripture reading for Sunday depicts another intimate moment shared between Jesus and John and it focuses on what it means to be “family.”

The setting of the story is at the cross. In spite of the gathered crowd to witness Jesus’ crucifixion, this is a moment of intimacy shared just between three people: Jesus, his mother, Mary, and John. Jesus is creating the concept of what many of us have come to know as a “logical” family. With his death, Jesus is concerned for his mother’s well-being. Who will care for her? Where will she live? What Jesus does is to turn to his most trusted companion and creates for his mother a new family to whom she can belong. 

What Jesus creates at the cross is something that many of us have had to create, our own sense of “logical” family. Granted we all have a biological family, but for many of us those family ties are not strong or may be severed all together. Some of us know the rejection from members of our biological families and others of us know the geographical distance that separates us from our loved ones. Both of these situations have been a part of my biological family experience.

This has allowed me to create my own “logical” family. I have assembled a group of people who gather for holidays and other life events and we truly are a family gathering of love and support. They fill the void that is missing from my biological family. They are a true gift in my life.

Perhaps you have been like Mary or me and found a need to form a new family? If so, then you know the joy that is experienced for Mary and John, when Jesus binds them together as a new family at the foot of the cross.

This sense of “logical” family that Jesus creates at the cross is expounded upon in the memoir written by Armistead Maupin in a book entitled Logical Family: A Memoir.  “Sooner or later, we have to venture out beyond our biological family to find our logical one, the one that actually makes sense to us,” Maupin writes. “We have to; if we are live without squandering our lives.”

What I want to do in this sermon is to show you what a gift you have in being a part of the West Hollywood United Church of Christ. In selecting to be a part of this beloved community, you are participating in another “logical” family experience as you love one another and as you work together in doing the ministry. Do you cherish your life together as one of God’s “logical” families?

I realize that preaching an extended sermon series is a tricky business as most of you will need to miss a Sunday here for there, especially over the course of the summer! So, if you wish to keep up and not miss an apostle, then I invite you to send me an email with the date of the Sunday you missed, and I will be happy to send you that sermon. This is my email: joemcgowan@aol.com

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!


Joe McGowan, Guest Preacher


A Reading from John 19: 25-27

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

When the other ten disciples heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So, Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be servant of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as ransom for many.”


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Topic: Worship August 30
Time: Aug 30, 2020 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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