Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sun. May 2, 2010 (Henry Neufeld)

Henry Neufeld, in his talk entitled The New Commandment, redrew the distinction between practical Christianity and theoretical Christianity; the practice of getting the shoves out and doing something, or the habit of sitting around discussing what should be done. This is not new - Harvey Cox identified in the history of Christianity that early Christians focused on following the teachings of Jesus for about three centuries, then for the next few centuries, focused on adhering to a correct doctrine and creed. Only recently has Christianity changed once again to disregard dogma and explore barrier-free spirituality. Henry notes that the Sermon on the Mount says nothing about what to believe, but only about what to do. Yet the Nicene Creed three centuries later speaks only about what to believe, not what to do. This tension was evident in Jesus time. Peter, as disciple, got into hot water with Jewish elders over his disregard over eating unclean things with unclean people. And it is particularly because of his disregard for doctrine that salvation is extended to you and me today. Had Peter done what the Jewish elders directed him to do, Christianity would never have been more than an obscure and private Jewish sect. But Peter shared the gift of God’s love freely, without notion of reply or reciprocity, with all he came in contact with. There was no obligation to return that love only to the givers. There was indeed a free lunch. And if we choose to share freely with those around us, there is still a free lunch. It is up to us to do something, not just talk about it. [AP] Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, May 2nd, 2010 using your browser's preferred media player.



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