Last Sunday we began our thirteen-week series on the Gospel of Mark. If I had to pick a single word to summarize the entire message it would be “change.” In Mark 2:1-22 we learned of three major changes Jesus introduced in the centuries-old religion of Judaism: (1) The prioritization of spiritual and eternal matters over those that are physical and temporary, (2) an emphasis on the unconditional love that God extends to the worst of sinners, (3) a relationship with God that calls for times of fasting and repentance as well as times of celebration and resting in his loving presence.
After describing each of these in detail, Jesus concluded by acknowledging that these changes were so incompatible with the way the scribes and Pharisees understood their faith, forcing them to adopt them would only lead to the destruction of both the only and the new. His only option, therefore, was to create an entirely different entity to fulfill his mission in the world; the Church, the body of Christ, was his answer. Interestingly, there were many Jewish followers of Jesus who defied the odds and joined his movement. The difference between them and those who rejected Jesus seems to be a humility, an openness to the movement of the Holy Spirit, a belief in a God who was always doing something new, and a desire to be a part of it.
Brick Church, I believe God wants to do a new thing in us, both as individuals and as a community of believers. Many of you have shared with me a clear sense that the Holy Spirit is moving in our midst, preparing us to make some changes that will enable us to continue our mission of making disciples int his next chapter of our story, and embrace our three key words for this season: Love, Share and Grow. Will you join me in being open to the movement of the Holy Spirit at our Church? Will you join me in praying that we will be willing to make whatever changes are necessary for God to move in and through us to reach our community and world with the good news of the Gospel?