June 16, 2013: GRIT

Posted on : Jun 13th, 2013 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

What does it take to change the world?  To change your life?  In a word:

GRIT

The apostle Paul, after being in prison, being cut off from the community of faith and after losing, then regaining the trust and financial support of the Christians at Philippi offered these words, words which sure speak symbolically, if not literally, to the realities of our lives today:

“I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need.”  And then Paul concludes with these words:  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

For Paul, the ability to “do all things” through Christ was first and foremost an act of faith.  And Grit – perseverance, hard work, trust.  Along with his faith in Christ, Paul believed in himself and the power of God to change the world and his life.

As we celebrate LGBT Pride month, this Sunday I’ve asked Jack Gregory to share with us what life was like in the years shortly before and after Stonewall.  Stonewall is marked as the beginning of the LGBT liberation movement.  It was actually a street riot by a bunch of drag queens who gathered at the Stonewall Inn (a bar/club) in Greenwich Village, New York City.  On June 28, 1969, the New York Police raided the bar, as they often did at gay clubs to harass and intimidate the patrons.  This time, the drag queens had had enough of this abuse.  The drag queens rebelled and the rest is history.  What they did took grit.  It wasn’t anything that was planned or organized.  It was simply a basic human reaction by these men who demanded that they be respected and treated better.

Today, we’re waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision and strongly anticipating that equal marriage rights will be returned to our State, where equal marriage began.  How far we have come!  The folks at Stonewall could never have imagined this, or did they?

One of the great things about the LGBT liberation and equality movement is there has been no one single individual who has led this movement.  It has truly been a movement of the many.  It’s taken a lot of grit to get where we are today – and a lot of faith.

In this Sunday’s gospel, a man came asking Jesus to heal his son, who was disabled.  This man took his son to Jesus’ disciples but they were not able to heal him.  He was a great dad and had a lot of grit.  He was not going to give up until his son was healed.  So he took his son and told Jesus how the disciples couldn’t heal him.  He was, however, sure that Jesus could heal his son.  Jesus expressed a bit of anger at the disciples, and then healed the child.

After the man and his son left, the disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t cast out the demon and Jesus said, “Because you didn’t have faith.”  Ouch!  But how true those words of Jesus are.

This Sunday, father’s day, we’re going to look at a contemporary parable about a father who has a disabled son and will not give up on helping his son to have a full life.  What he does for his son is simply unbelievable!  He has grit like I’ve never seen.  It sure gives new meaning to Jesus’ teaching:

“I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there”, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.’

Happy Father’s Day and Have GRIT!

Dan

~ This Sunday’s Scriptures ~

Matthew 17: 14-21

Jesus teaches about the power of faith

When Jesus and the disciples came to the crowd, a man came to Jesus, knelt before him, and said, ‘Jesus, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; he often falls into the fire and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.’ Jesus answered, ‘You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.’ And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there”, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.’

 

Philippians 4: 8-9, 11-13

Paul speaks about the power of faith.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Leave a Reply