WELCOME FROM HAYWOOD STREET
Thank you to partner restaurant, Luella’s BBQ, for choosing to donate to the Downtown Welcome Table for their 15th Anniversary. It was a great night celebrating with them!
Time is running out to register for the Golf for Awareness fundraiser! Registration closes September 9th. Register Here!
The Street Dog Coalition will be on campus this Sunday, 8/28, from 9-12. These services are offered for pets of folks experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
We will be having a memorial service for our friend, John Perry, on Wednesday, 8/31, at 12:30 in the sanctuary. We invite everyone who knew and loved John to join us in remembering and celebrating him.
Check out this updated calendar that lists the food resources in the Asheville area. You’ll find the organizations, times, and locations where folks can get meals and groceries each day.
Click here to see the list the places in the community to donate clothes and to find free clothes. If you know of a place not on this list, reach out to Melanee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Robert is asking for some help! Robert has been hard at work on the Respite Porch, and is asking for help painting this week. If you’re interested, come on by during week!
- Servers are invited to join us at the Welcome Table: The kitchen is in need of additional servers at the Downtown Welcome Table on Wednesdays and Sundays. If you’d like to help, please let Katlyn know or sign up and feel free to bring a friend!
- Meal Train for Respite: Every night of the week a wonderful home cooked meal is provided for our friends in Respite. This month there are several open days that we need folks to sign up for. You can do so here: https://mealtrain.com/dm2y6z. Feel free to share this need with your friends, Bible Studies, etc.
- Clean Up Companions Needed for the Downtown Welcome Table on Sundays and Wednesdays: Wednesdays 12:00pm-1:00pm and Sundays 10:00am-11:00am companions are needed to help clean up. You can sign up or just show up!
- Haywood Street Hair Cutting Ministry – We are currently in the process of reimagining the Hair Cutting Ministry here that we have had in the past. If you would like to be a part of that process or would like to cut or wash hair when it is open, let Katlyn know!
- To Go Boxes – Since reopening in December, we have gone back and forth with to go containers at the Welcome Table. Because we served only to-go-boxes during the pandemic, our community got used to the option and we didn’t want to take that away abruptly. We have slowly been phasing out of providing to-go containers and have decided to begin phasing them out completely. Once we run out of our current supply, we will not purchase any more containers. This is both for sustainability purposes (creation care & budget sustainability) and because we want to focus on the experience at the table and allow other places that serve to go to do that well. In the case of an emergency, staff will work directly with an individual and provide food to go if needed.
- NEW MINISTRY UPDATES – Starting the week of May 1
- Sunday Bible Study – 11:00am in the sanctuary
- Tuesday Prayer Group – 12:00 in the sanctuary – Gather for a time of communal prayer
- Thursday Card Making Group – 10:00am in Room 1 (off the main lobby) – Gather together to make cards for our community and friends in prison or in the hospital
Sermon by Pastor Jody
“Stirring Up Trouble”
Centuries before his birth, his coming was foretold, expected . For hundreds of years the people of Israel were anticipating the coming of the Messiah. The prophet Isaiah prophesied,” The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light, for unto us a child is born and he shall be called wonderful counselor, mighty God everlasting father, prince of peace.
Prince of peace.
The verses we are looking at today are part of the travel narrative in Luke. Jesus is traveling toward Jerusalem, his face is set, he is on the way to the pentacle of his earthly ministry.
Along the way he continues Teaching , healing, Confronting Pharisees, all the while moving toward Jerusalem. In the verses immediately preceding today’s text, Jesus tells those thousands who were trampling each other, desperate to be near, to those who followed him said don’t worry, God takes care of the flowers and the birds and so God will care for you.
Don’t be afraid he says, the father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Jesus journeys toward his accusers and along the way he offers hope and comfort. Don’t be afraid.
And then, things seem to ricochet. Jesus goes from comfort to warning. He tells them he has come to bring FIRE to the world. A fire he wishes were already burning. There is urgency in his message. He did not come to bring peace. He came to bring division!
The prince of peace did not come to bring peace….but division
Notice that he did not say- I did not come to bring peace, I come to bring war. When we think of the opposite of peace, we think of war, violence, don’t we? But just because there is no war, does not mean there is peace.
The Romans who occupied the land believed in peace , peace at all costs… Pax Roma. Peace through strength, which is no peace at all. The opposite of peace is not necessarily war, the opposite of peace is unrest. Jesus is not inciting a riot or calling for a violent war.
He said I do not come to bring peace, but division. Division as the opposite of peace. Division as unrest. Unrest within our society, our family, ourselves. What causes this unrest, this division?
What is it about the promised Prince of Peace that could possibly cause unrest?
About 60 or so years ago, there was a young man who lived in a small southern town. All his family lived in the town. Grandparents-parents brother sisters Aunts -Uncles- Cousins- 2nd cousins. They all went to church and school together. They played softball and had picnics. They all looked after each other and if one was in need, everyone was ready to help. He loved his family. He thought it was perfect.
The young man went to college in a big city and after graduation he came back to the town. He couldn’t find a job in his chosen profession right off, so he got his old job back at the hardware store. One day an African American man came in, rather hesitantly. He apologized for being a bother, but said he needed a part for his tractor and he was not able to find it anywhere else. The young man listened to his needs, escorted him back to the proper department and helped him find the part.
The owner of the store came out as the man was checking out. He refused to sell the man the part and told him to never come in again. The young man was shocked. Shocked at how he felt about the incident, because he had seen that happen before, but this time, it felt different, he was different.
At supper that night, the young man recounted his day to the family. His aunt said the African American should not have come in the store. If he needed a part he should have gotten it from the junkyard like all the rest do. His sister said times are changing and we must treat everyone the same. His father said the store owner had every right to deny service to anyone he wanted. The customer would just have to deal with it. The conversation got louder and louder. The Grandmother lamented for a time when things were not so hard. She talked about the good old days and wondered why anything had to change. The cousin said, of course things have to change, only a fool would think they could not. The uncle got upset that his nephew had called his mother a fool. He yelled at the young man for stirring up trouble. He and his brood got up and stormed out. And they never came back. They stopped coming to visit at all. The family never had another meal together.
Somewhere, somehow, over the course of his matriculation, the young man experienced a change. A change that his family thought was trouble. It is all about change.
My friend says when one person in a group begins to change, the whole group has to change. When people are forced to change, someone is bound to get their feathers ruffled!
Jesus’ ministry is all about change. Turning the world upside down. That’s what Jesus does in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew and the Sermon on the Plain in Luke . The blessings and woes from Luke 6 lift up the things we usually view as curses and mourn the things we usually rejoice in. Blessed are the poor, blessed are the hungry…..woe to you who are full, woe to you who are rich.
It sounds like Jesus it turning things upside down, but in reality, God’s reality, Jesus is setting things aright. And when things are set right, it is in contrast to the current way, it upsets the status quo. Jesus brings unrest to the status quo. The way things are is simply not the way things are supposed to be. There is oppression, hunger, violence racism sexism and the list goes on and on. We have been told by prophets and priests and we have been shown by Jesus, God in the flesh. Love God, love each other. That’s the way things are supposed to be. Jesus calls us out. Sheds light on the way we live in conflict with the greatest commandment.
Jesus is stirring up trouble. For them and for us.
Shane Claiborne activist and author of The Irresistible Revolution said, “The more I get to know Jesus, the more trouble he seems to get me into.”
To be a follower of Jesus means to be doing things the way he did them. Questioning the status quo. Calling out any form of injustice, any action that is in contrast to the greatest commandment. And when we do, when we look at the world the way Jesus tells us to, and we take action the way Jesus did, we will more than likely experience that division, that unrest that Jesus warns us about.
Nobody wants to change. It stirs up trouble.
The scene at the table is a made up story. But I bet it happened all over the south in the 1950 and 60’s. People, especially young people getting away from home for a while. Experiencing something different and then coming home and questioning the way things are. Questioning a system that expects, demands, we judge everyone, judge on skin color, or economic status, or gender identity, political preference. A system that is supported by a belief that some people are better than and some people are less than. A system of belief that is founded on oppression. A belief that is the opposite of love each other. A system that holds its beliefs more tightly than the commands of Jesus. Similar scenarios likely did happen and likely still do. Jesus knew it.
He knew that the oppression was so ingrained and accepted that questioning it would cause unrest, division. Jesus came to turn the systems of the day upside down and to usher in the kingdom of God.
“Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!”
What is it about the promised Prince of Peace that could possibly cause unrest? Well, he sure does stir up trouble
Georgia congressman and civil rights activist John Lewis said, “Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.
Let your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.
Previous sermons can be found here.