The Widow’s Offering Mark 12: 41 – 44

5 Mar

I used to be the guy who would watch an old woman throw a dime in the collection plate and make some sort of sarcastic remark.  

 

I know better today.  I understand today, that someone who has a very nice income can throw a dollar into the basket without even missing it, but to someone else, that dollar might be what they need to take the bus, or do their laundry, or even get themselves a hot cup of coffee.

 

Today I want to talk about the value of gifts.

 

I grew up with a lot of resentments around any gift giving type occasion, because my mother had instilled in me the importance of the obligation of matching the monetary value of the gift received when giving a gift in return.  

 

So basically, every gift I got was an obligation and stress, especially when I didn’t have the means to match the value of the gift.

 

Today, I’m trying to be a different person, and rethink the idea of the gift.  

 

I let go of the idea of obligation and simply appreciate the sentiment and say thank you.

 

But additionally, I no longer place value on gifts based on money but more on the sacrifice.

 

In my first year of marriage, my wife at the time gave me one of the best gifts (other than my son) that she had ever given me.  She bought me some comics.  But it wasn’t the comics themselves that I valued.  My wife didn’t know anything about comics.  And I had many, many boxes of comics.  I had probably about a thousand comics.  She went through every single box and memorized what I had to make sure she didn’t buy me something I already possessed.  The true gift was the effort and time.

 

In this modern, busy world, it’s that effort and time that are true gifts for me.  Someone who makes me a blanket.  A mother who learns all about Pokemon in one month so she can put on a Pokemon tournament for her son’s birthday.  A person who listens to you for an hour without checking their phone.  

 

Those are the most valuable of gifts.  Gifts from the heart.  Gifts with thought and meaning.  

 

Our partner churches come each week and bring us food.  And we love the food.  But to me, the greatest gift they give is their time.  They plan the meals.  They shop for the meals.  They cook the meals.  Then they travel here, attend our service, serve the meal, and help clean up.  We love the food, but we love your time so much more.  Thank you.  There are many other ways to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

 

Today I have gratitude in my heart for the people in my life who give a little of themselves or a lot, to show me that I am loved.  And I do not feel obligated to match the value.  But I will give in return whatever I can offer.

 

test

24 Feb

http://nyti.ms/10dQ9Hr

This is an example of how challenging it is for cops to to get the robbers.  They did in this case.  Congrats to cops.  Laws don’t stop cyber criminals across borders with sophisticated beings.  If you read the end of the article, there is a quiet admission of who will bear the laws.  The cops didn’t recover nearly all that was recovered.

Exciting New Announcement: TVCU Podcast!!!

24 Feb

We will begin recording the initial episodes of the new Television Crossover Universe podcast in a few weeks. The show will be hosted by Robert E Wronski Jr., Ivan Ronald Schablotski, and James Bojaciuk. The guests lined up for the first four episodes are Simon R. Green, Erik Burnham, Christofer Nigro, and James Bojaciuk. We are still seeking donations to help pay for the studio fees. https://www.gofundme.com/TVCUPodcast

Scare-A-Con

24 Feb

We are not added to the page yet, but we have been invited as guests at the upcoming Scare-A-Con, June 3 – 5 at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, MA. That technically makes the TVCU Crew celebrities, I guess. We will also be recording an episode at the convention, not live, but still before an audience. http://scareacon.com/scare-a-con-new-england/podcasters/

“Tips for Successful Podcasting” at Scare-A-Con

24 Feb

For those attending Scare-A-Con, I will be sitting in on two panels, both “Tips for Successful Podcasting”, on Friday, June 3, at 5:30PM and Sunday, June 5, at 1:30PM. You can learn more about the panel schedule at http://scareacon.com/schedule-ne/

Sermon for 1-15-17

24 Feb

Mark 12:28-34New International Version (NIV)

The Greatest Commandment

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[b] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[c]There is no commandment greater than these.”

32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

 

The greatest obstacle to my pastoral path is that people piss me off sometimes.  

 

I try, try, try so hard to have patience and tolerance for all of God’s children, but sometimes people just do things that just push my buttons.  It’s an ongoing struggle.  

 

In theory, I know that all people are God’s children, and that love, peace, patience and tolerance are the answers… blah, blah, blah.

 

But in all seriousness, I do love all people, even if sometimes I don’t particularly feel it with certain people in moments.  And I want to love all people.  I’m called by God to serve him by serving ALL his children.  So in order to do that, I must overcome what are indeed my own failings in order to be His servant.  

 

And they are my failings.  Because intellectually, I know that when people push my buttons, it’s usually because people aren’t doing things my way.  That they aren’t understanding that my way of thinking is the right way.  And I must confess, I’m not always right and my way certainly isn’t the only way and sometimes not even the right way.  

 

This weekend is Martin Luthor King Junior weekend, and I wanted to preach today about equality and justice but as I began looking for a scripture that might fit my theme, I ended up searching for “Love thy neighbor”, which led me to today’s scripture reading.  

 

There’s a lot more to today’s text than what I was originally looking for, and it gave me a lot to think about, and I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to discuss the text with Pastor Steph and others in our Cathedral community throughout the week to wrap my head around this part of the scripture.  

 

And I’ve come to feel that my failings in the second part of this “greatest commandment”, “loving my neighbors as I love myself” may usually come when I don’t first focus on the first part, which is “to love God with all my heart, mind, and strength”.  

 

It’s easy to lose patience with others when I’m focusing on how they are affecting me, or how they are different from me, or how they are better than me, or worse than me?

 

But if I’m remembering that first and foremost we are to love God, and after all, God is love, and therefore, the greatest commandment is love, then I must turn myself over to love.

 

Love of God, and love of his creation, and focus on gratitude for his love and his creation.  

 

God gave this world great gifts.  He gave us free will, and if people are different than me, that’s a gift of free will.  Thank God not everyone is like me, because that would be an extremely boring and difficult world.  Sure, some people may have very different values and ideologies than me, but on the other hand, there are so many people who have ideas that when I open myself to hear, may enrich my life and create growth in me.  There are so many different cultures and backgrounds and experiences, and if I open myself up to the God that is in all of his creations, I can myself become a better person by creating connections with those who are different, rather than closing myself off.  

 

And so when I indeed open myself up to love God, I can then become better at loving my neighbors.

 

And that’s my take on the scripture.  Now it’s time for the rest of the sermon, where we pass the mike and get your takes on the scripture…

Superman/Joseph

21 Feb

I gave a sermon in December.  It was the only one that I only wrote in my head and not on paper.  So sadly I don’t have it to post.  A friend of mine video taped it though, and when she has the time, she will send me the video, and when that happens I will post it here.