Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 22, 2014
First Christian Church
If you are the parent of child that grew up in the 70s and 80s, you are probably aware of the writer Judy Blume. Ms. Blume has written books that were both popular and offensive to some. While some of her more famous works were geared towards tween and teen young girls, there were a few books that were for everyone. On of those book was called, “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.” Written in 1972, this book is told from the perspective of one Peter Hatcher, a nine-year old that is none to pleased with his little brother, Farley Drexel Hatcher as known by his nickname, Fudge.
To say that Fudge was annoying is an understatement. Some of the shananegians he gets into makes me love being an only child. He would throw tantrums pretty easily. Now, being that he is two going on three, some of that is to be expected. But Fudge is on a whole other level of being a pest. Peter is always upset at his brother who seems to always preferential treatment. When Fudge decided to be naughty, he didn’t hold back. In another part of the book, he eats Peter’s pet turtle, Dribble, which meant a trip the hospital to get the turtle out.
The story I want to focus on today is one where Fudge just stops eating. Everyone would gather for breakfast or dinner, and Fudge would not eat. The parents are concerned; and they try different methods to get him to eat. One dinner, it was decided that they would cook Fudge a special meal with pork chops, while everyone else had cereal. Again, Fudge wouldn’t eat. In frustration, the father tells Peter he can eat the pork chop and he grabs Fudge and a bowl of corn flakes and makes his way to the batheroom. The father then dumps the corn flakes over Fudge’s head while Peter watches on nibbling on the pork chop.
Fudge started eating again after that.
In today’s text, Paul is writing to the church at Rome. He is explaining the fact that Christians are saved by grace, but it doesn’t mean we get to live like we always do. “Does this mean that you can do whatever you want since you will get grace? No!” Paul says emphatically. He then reminds the church of their baptism’ likening to the death and resurrection of Jesus. We are different people now, so we need to start acting like it.
It’s been about 30 years since I’ve read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, but I remember that scene with the corn flakes. Fudge had a wonderful meal set in front of him, but he refuses to eat it. He refuses to eat it, even as the rest of the family is forced to eat something reserved for breakfast. Martin Luther gives a great description of sin, it is when we are curved in by ourselves, or incurvatus in se. He was so focused on himself, that he missed the food and the sacrifice that the others made for Fudge to have his special meal.
Paul is telling the church at Rome, that baptism changed them. Something happened when got wet from the water. We died and rose again to sin, in a similar fashion to what God did on the cross and Easter Sunday.
Do we believe that Jesus rose from the dead? Do we know what difference it makes in our lives? Do we live as changed people, or do we ignore the feast in front of us and look for other pleasures?
Do people know this church is a place where lives can be changed for the better, for the salvation of the whole world?
Over the past few months, we are First Christian have started to be better well known in the area. It’s not because we have a nice website, though it is a nice website if I do say so myself. It’s not because we are on Facebook or Twitter. We are beocming well known because of the things we have to done to witness to what God has done through Jesus. When we make sandwiches for the Dignity Center, or give food to the Mahtomedi Area Foodshelf, or pack food for Feed My Starving Children we are not simply doing good deeds. We are living out our baptisms, we are living as people changed through Jesus Christ. We don’t do these things to get on God’s good side or even to be good people. We do it because we believe that the resurrection was real. When that happened, everything..everything changed.
One my favorite movies is Auntie Mame, a 1958 movie starring Roslind Russell. There is a 1974 musical based on Mame starring Lucille Ball but we aren’t talking about that version. Mame Dennis is a flamboyuant person and as the movie opens in 1929 she would definitely be considered avant garde. The movie is about her taking care of her nephew after the death of his parents. Early on in the movie, Mame says something to her nephew that in many ways sums up her life. “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!”
What about you? Do you see life as a banquet? Do you see yourself as a person changed by God? May we as a community and as individuals, live like the resurrection of Jesus matters, because it does. Thanks be to God. Amen.