Sunday, February 19, 2017

GHOST STORIES AND THE GOSPEL: SCS 106

Sunday, February 19, 2017, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 106

PRAYER for Today:
Matthew 6:9-13 King James Version (KJV)
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.


MORNING WORSHIP MUSIC:


SCRIPTURE LESSON for Today:
Philippians 4:4-9 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.
6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.



SERMON for Today:
People who are from the heart of Appalachia or their hearts have been touched by Appalachia know that along with a deep respect for family comes a tradition of telling stories and legends that some would say were of a supernatural nature or ghost stories and legends.  It is an art form to be able to tell one of these stories well.  An art form mostly lost and never to be regained.

The same people from whom these old stories came also had a deep respect for their faith.  They believed the Gospel stories without any reservations.  They did not sit around discussing if the miracles Jesus performed were true.  They simply believed.  A dimension beyond the valley and mountains they could see was not something hard for them to imagine because they were raised on stories that included happenings not of an ordinary day.

Today, we are so sure of what we know that most of us believe that there is nothing knowable beyond what our conscious brains can know.  We think the Gospels stories like the old stories of Appalachia are simply tales of amusement.  We think we have become smarter and have more knowledge than all the people who lived before us.

It is true that science has produced great knowledge which has been put to desirable uses.  However, when they wanted to keep the invasive Canada Blackberry plants from ruining the natural “baldness” of Roan Mountain, TN they turned to goats. http://baatany.org/

The Gospels are not about your head.  They are about your heart.  They are about your soul.  They are about a world that hard science cannot either explain or explain away.  The Gospels are about how to live a life in harmony with your own heart because you have given your soul away to serve others as the Man in the Gospels did.  As long as we remain selfish and demand that all the love be directed towards ourselves, then we will remain soulless and wandering in the wilderness of loneliness in a crowded world.

Only when we decide to give our soul away to the One who gave it to us in the first place can we find the joy it takes to face the darkness until sunrise.  When the sun comes up there will be peace in our souls and harmony in our hearts.  How do I know?  Because that is the promise in the Story and I believe the Story.


May God Bless You and Your Loved Ones and May God Walk Beside You Each Step You Take This Week. Amen

© Ed Cooper, February 19, 2017, Stoney Creek, Tennessee, Appalachia  
All rights reserved

(Ed Cooper is Director of Project Dream Again and an ordained minister in the Christian Church/Churches of Christ.  He lives with his wife Patty in the mountains of East Tennessee.)

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