Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Baggage Sermon Series Summary

  (Luke 10:1-24)
by Dr. James R. Brooks, Lead Minister
[reflection on our 3 week sermon series that concluded last Sunday]
We all have too much baggage!  We want a fix more fine than simply set it aside and leave it all behind.  Jesus’ hopes and dreams for you are that you travel light and live free!
Jesus sends out the 70 followers with instructions to leave behind the baggage we might want.  Rather, they are to take the very best of their relationship with Jesus … sharing the peace and experiencing “the kingdom of God coming near to you” with those they share life.
They return with stories of joy!  Jesus then reminds them to rejoice more that they are remembered in heaven than that they have accomplished much on earth.
The more we pack our bag with the best of our relationship with Jesus, the more joy we find on our journey in this world.
The more wisely we chose with whom to unpack our baggage, especially our painful broken luggage, the easier to experience the Kingdom of God come near us.
The more we trust in Jesus’ teaching and care, the less “other” baggage we will need on our journey.

Our birth and death are frames for our life on earth.  What beautiful pictures of journey will be held by these frames?  Even more, cherish the pictures that image the Kingdom of God come near to you today.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Why Your Presidential Election Does Not Matter

Rev. Dr. James R. Brooks

When I accepted my call to ministry, I did not at that time believe it  was a call to serve the St Louis Metro area.  A child of Indiana and a student of Australia and Kentucky, I am surprised that I have been called to 20 years of my ministry in the St Louis area.

In that time, I have become a defender of St Louis.  Early in my ministry, I officiated a wedding in the club where Lindberg negotiated the financing of his flight over the Atlantic.  Now I mourn St Louis place it the world.  

I note the change in governance from elected officials to corporate boards.

“Like the losses of McDonnell Douglas, Trans World Airlines, Anheuser-Busch and Ralston Purina, the Monsanto deal eliminates yet another headquarters for a market leader that gave the St. Louis region recognition across the world.”
By Jacob Barker St. Louis Post-Dispatch

St Louis was the gateway to the west, symbolized by the Arch.  Now it is a bellwether to the world of a change.

Once upon a time, the church was the queen of the sciences and the leader of peoples.  The church has undergone the change wrought by the Enlightenment and now by the Post-Modern movement.

The church gave way to the “Nation State” as the leader of peoples.  From empires like Great Britain to democracies like the USA, nation states ruled the land after 1500 AD.

Five hundred years later, we witness the ascendancy of global corporations as the leaders of people.  I thank the late Phylis Tickle for the timeline.

- To be among the wealthiest of people implies global economic prowess.
- Local unions buckle beneath the weight of global corporations with a constantly shifting and cheap workforce.
- Global corporations that are “too big to fail” within a singular nation state.
  • Global corporations that pit the tax laws of one nation state against those of another.

It is too late to fear the change already among us.  For the faithful Christian, the question becomes how we can be “the Kingdom of God has come near you today” as stated in Luke 10.  Or how can we fulfill the Great Commission and Great Commandment from the Gospels in the contemporary context.

It is too late to hit the brakes or to shift the car in reverse.

It is time, as it was in the book of Jeremiah, to ask how to be faithful in the current context.  The more quickly we engage that question, the more quickly we can share the Good New of Jesus Christ.