inner stillness: when everything is all the same to you, and you live for the day, and you are not dreaming and waiting

john r. harrison

my other websites
The United Methodist Churches of Sheldon, Bronaugh, and Moundville

The Southwest District of the Missouri West Conference of The United Methodist Church

The Rotary Club of Nevada, Missouri

The Beloit, Kansas, High School Class of 1960

The Academy for Spiritual formation #17

books I've been reading
Communion, Community, Commonweal: Readings for Spiritual Leadership, by John S. Mogabgab

The Ascent of a Leader: How Ordinary Relationships Develop Extraordinary Character and Influence, by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and Ken McElrath

The Catholic Imagination, by Andrew Greeley

Spiritual Guides for the 21st Century: Faith Stories of the Protestant Reformers

Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ, by Dallas Willard

movies I'd like to see
American Splendor


Lost in Translation

The Station Agent

Winged Migration

sermons in process
Ruth 1:1-18--"Why Go with Me?"

Mark 12:38-44--"Abundance and Poverty"

1 Samuel 1:4-20--"The Desperation of Hannah"

John 18:33-37--"An Interrogation"

Malachi 3:1-4--"Messages and Messengers"

lectures on tape in my car
Introduction to Renaissance Literature

Dante's Life and Times

Dante's Literary Antecedents

Erasmus, In Praise of Folly

Introduction to Shakespeare


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Sunday, March 10

It is interesting how God can so frequently make the most out of the least; or, as Paul says, something out of nothing. Moses is a good example. He thought he was totally inadequate to the task God wanted him to perform. God thought otherwise. This morning I preached on the anointing of David, the selection by Samuel, with God’s guidance, of David as King over Israel. Samuel is instructed to go to the family of Jesse to select on of Jesse’s sons to be king. Jesse had eight sons, but the rationality of that time would have led one to believe that the oldest of the eight, the first-born, would be the one that God would choose. As it turned out, God reversed the order and chose the youngest, David, who wasn’t even at the convention when the selecting was going on. Jesse had him out keeping the sheep, thinking that he wasn’t even worth considering. My favorite passage from this text was God’s message to Samuel, when Samuel thought the first son of Jesse would be chosen: “the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” We might alter those words a bit and say, “they judge a book by its cover, but the Lord judges a book by its contents.” I suspect that there is an eternal truth here. I think humans then and now tend toward superficial judgments. Indeed, we even program and plan our lives to deal with that superficiality. One would think that the story of nativity would cause us to think about this. Jesus was born in a barn to poor parents who weren’t even “officially” married. Jesus’ first visits were from shepherds, one of the lowest occupations in the culture. If he were born today, would we pay attention? Personally, I think that the organized, institutional church needs to be mindful of those words, “the Lord does not see as mortals see.” We tend to mimic the culture rather than run counter to it. We think that in order for the church to “grow”--and we believe that we must do so at all costs--we must adopt all of the techniques of the secular culture. And I think we may end up with a church that is no longer the church any more. But getting back to David, he was out in the fields tending sheep, because it did not occur to Jesse that he might be in the running to be selected by God through Samuel. How often, in the life of the church, or in our personal lives, to we overlook what might please God because we are so hung up on our superficial understandings of the world? I have a bias, and it is toward the small church. I think the institutional church is so enamored with large congregations that it treats the small church like David. We act as if God doesn’t really care about small congregations. Certainly, there are things that large congregations can do that small ones cannot; but are we not assuming that we see as God sees?

posted by John Harrison at 8:11 PM

thinking links

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