Pastor Gerry is with us on the third Sunday of the month and also serves the Community of St. Dymas
“Who is my Brother?”
“Let this mind be in you which is also in Jesus Christ”
Mark 3:31-35 & Philippians 2:1-5
This past month I began my tenure as the Associate Pastor at St. Paul’s. As I begin my time here, I want to thank you all for giving me the opportunity to be your pastor. I so very much look forward to the days, weeks, months, and years ahead where we will all learn and grow together in the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In my first sermon I shared some passages from scripture that reflect very much what I have already seen and experienced in the time that I have been a part of the community here at St. Paul’s. In the latter part of the reading from Mark’s Gospel that I highlighted in my sermon we were presented with a scene of Jesus sitting inside of a house and around him a large crowd is seated. Jesus’ family arrives outside of the house. When this happens, the people sitting around Jesus inform him that some guests have arrived. They say “Jesus, your mother, your brother and your sisters have arrived...they are asking for you!” And what does Jesus do? He looks around and he asks a question, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” in other words Jesus is asking, “Who is my family?” Then Jesus says, “Here are my mother and brothers!” In other words, “Here is my family.” Jesus goes on and says, “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister, and mother,” The crowd realizes they can be a part of Jesus’ family.
In the time that I have been a part of the community here at St. Paul’s as the husband of your pastor and now a pastor here at St. Paul’s, I see such a family. I see warm hearts, and welcome arms. I see a group of people who are able and willing to show the love of God not only within the walls of this sanctuary, but beyond. You have welcomed me and my family in Christian love, and I am so very grateful, but the beauty of this congregation is that I believe you would do the same thing to no matter who walked through our doors. I see love, I see compassion, and I see laughter and joy. All of these things binds our community together and gives us memories of the great times when we need each other in the hard times. So God bless us that we have these gifts to share with one another here at St. Paul’s. The beauty of having a family, the beauty of having a community, is that we are here for each other, we strengthen each other, and we love each other, even when sometimes that gets hard. We are family, and why are we family? Because the Gospel of Mark highlights Christ’s words, “whoever does the will of God, is my family.” We are all members of Christ’s family together.
We share as Paul puts it in his letter to the Philippians, one mind, one body in Christ, united. As Paul writes,
“If there is any encouragement in Christ, any consideration from love, any sharing in the spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete. Be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” In other words, be together, be in community together. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit. But in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.”
Living in community will not always be easy. There will trials and tribulations, there will be down times, and sorrow, and in community not all will always see eye to eye. However we are still blessed, for we have an example to look to. Actually we have the example to look to. And that example is Jesus Christ. Paul reminds us when community gets difficult as it was in Philippi, remember be of one mind in Jesus Christ. When Paul is writing “let the same mind be in you that was in Jesus Christ,” he speaks of love. A love that is also seen in the third chapter of the Gospel Mark. All are family and all can be accepted as family into the body of Christ. It is our mission not only as the community of the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church but also as individual believers of Christ to show love and mercy and compassion towards others. We can be a beacon of light to a world that often finds itself in darkness. And we can do it together.
I know that we don’t know each other so well right now in terms of pastor and congregation, but I see that as part of the adventure and excitement of being in ministry together. We get to learn all kinds of things about each other, bond together, and be in ministry together. Side by side, two by two and beyond. I must say that I am a young-hearted, excited, passionate individual for our Christ and our Christ’s ministry. And the grand thing is we are at the beginning! We have no idea to the heights that God may take us together. I can feel the Spirit here. I want you all to know that I am here for you, I stand by you, and I pray for you. I am excited to be your pastor.
In closing Let us remember the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, “Who are my mother and brothers? Who are our family? Here are my mother and my brothers, and sisters. Here is our family...
God Bless Each Of You,