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Sermon, September 16, 2018

Updated: Nov 9, 2018

Grace and peace to you from God our father and our Lord and savior Jesus Christ amen. Losing weight is hard isn't it? We have to give up the things we like to eat, we have to exercise and take care of our bodies better if we want to make losing weight work. Scientists and dietitians have said this for years and years That's the truth about weight loss and it will be hard. But there are many companies and groups out there who would have you believe that losing weight is really easy. Just eat this freeze dried or frozen diet and the weight will disappear!Try this pill, drink this shake or this smoothie and it will take care of everything. For some people being a Christian is the same way If you just do a little bit more, if you forgive and love a little bit more, everything will be ok! We've heard them on TV and the radio God wants to prosper you Pray hard enough and God will give you what you desire Being a Christian means all your problems will go away You can still live in the culture of "me and my stuff" still hate the outsider and the people who don't think like you do or look or live like you do, it's easy! But then we hear today's gospel and Blam! Jesus throws all of that out the window. Jesus and the disciples are walking from one town to another, when he asks them a deceptively easy pair of questions "Who do people say that I am? Who do you say that I am?" Jesus has been teaching and feeding and healing and by the way getting very popular. The disciples have begun to believe he is the messiah, the one who will save Israel. In fact Peter says it in answer to Jesus question "You are the Christ!" But when Jesus describes what a messiah is, Peter rebukes him! Peter seems to think , as we often do, that he can live like Jesus without getting hurt. But living like Jesus, breaking down boundaries that keep people apart. loving our neighbor as ourselves, living without fear as Jesus did, all have consequences Such radical behavior will not be tolerated in our world as it is. Presbyterian Pastor Andrew Foster Connors Put it this way "If you live as though you believe that loving all people in the world is the only way to live, then suffering will inevitably follow. If you live as though you believe there really is enough bread to go around,somebody's going to come after you. If you live as though you believe God judges the nations on the basis of how well the most vulnerable among us are faring, somebody's going to oppose you. If you live as if you believe that God expects you to offer hospitality to all, You're going to suffer, you might even get hurt." Jesus words are clear if you want to follow me you have to go where I am going giving up not just a little of your life, but all of it Jesus says "All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross, and follow me. All who want to save their lives will lose them. But all who lose their lives because of me and because of the good news Will save them. This word is not just hard, it is frightening! That is really what is behind much of the trouble we have following Jesus, fear. We are afraid of losing what we have We are afraid of being taken advantage of We are afraid of trying new things We are afraid of taking risks We are afraid of dying The good news is Jesus isn't afraid of living whatever the cost. Jesus lives as if he is loved by God! God does not want us to be afraid! God wants us to be free to love each other and care for each other, to live as if we are saved because we are! Through grace and faith we are saved and free to serve our neighbor. I remember a tale about people who had always lived in the dark. They sat around a fire hunched over for safety.  But when the light finally came, they were so afraid they refused to move, they lived as if they were still in the dark We don't need to live in the dark! Jesus is the light coming to us freeing us to follow him. Amen Love God, love your neighbor, be the body of Christ in the world Rev. Marie Meeks Dobbs Ferry Lutheran Church preachymarie@gmail.com

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