The Orange & The Twinkie

Date: March 4, 2012

Context: St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Asheville NC

Sermon Text: Mark 8:27-38 

Grace to you and peace from God our father in heaven and our Lord Jesus Christ.  

It was just a few weeks ago… Jesus called out and said come follow me… I will make you fish for people… Jesus says in Matthews Gospel (Matthew 11:30) for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.… It seems, Jesus never gives his disciples an easy path to follow… And yet this morning we see Jesus telling his disciples that those who want to find their life must lose it

There is nothing easy and light about that… losing my lifedeath but I have plans for my life… I have hopes and dreams… I am with peter on this one…. Life is GOOD and let us keep on living…. Jesus rebukes Peter and the idea that we can just be disciples during the happy and easy times… Jesus is teaching his disciples a simple yet difficult lesson….

In our children’s time this morning I was drawing the connection that things that have life can give lifethe orange was once alive… so it gives us, nutrients energy, life… and the Twinkie… has barely anything that was once living in it… it is mostly man-made chemicals… its next to kin is a Lego, one chemical process away from plastic…

So back to the life giving orange…. Jesus is teaching a simple fact…. Life gives life…. in order to make more oranges… the orange must what… be plucked or fall from the tree… severing its life-linethe orange must lose its life… so that the seeds inside can fall to the ground and sprout another… orange tree… or so that the flesh… can be consumed and give nutrition to the one who eats the fruit…

So whether the orange is plucked or planted… it gives life because it was once alive… Not to be too simplistic but the same is with Jesus… Christology 101…. Jesus was a living human and in his death… he is able to give life… not as the orange… but everlasting life…Jesus gives life that breeds more life… a life that that is connected to the ultimate life source… GOD… Jesus gave his life freely… so that a free life with God is possible… and so it is fitting that Jesus would expect nothing less of his disciples… both then and now to give of their whole life… to surrender their life so that they might have a relationship with God and so that those around us might live…

So use the lens of the Orange and Twinkie to approach this text and begin to understand what we are to learn as disciples of Jesus… followers of Christ…. You and I are the orange… we are alive… not only alive in the ways of this world, walking talking breathing…. but through the waters of baptism are made a new living creation in Christ Jesus… so our life is connected to the life of Kingdom of God… and with our life we are able to bring the kingdom of God near to others so that they might have new life… Christ secured our everlasting life and freed you and me to be able to give others life… the Kingdom Life… a life in Christ Jesus. but we are broken… we don’t always get it right… Peter the rock Jesus built his church on… didn’t get it right… so why do we expect ourselves to be perfect….

We proclaim that we are both sinner and saint… we are both Twinkle and Orange… The orange gives life… that is the saint side of us… the new creation in Christ…. We all know the Orange Saintly sides of our life…. We celebrate them year around… the gifts and talents… the good faith works and acts of love…

The other side… the Twinkie is the brokenness and frailty of our life… the worldly side… the side that only breeds death…. This is what Jesus is talking about…. When we read that Jesus calls us to lose our life… Jesus doesn’t want us to throw our whole life away… Jesus is calling us to lose the Twinkie / worldly parts of our life… the places in our life that keep us from bearing fruit for the kingdom of God… Jesus wants the parts of our life that hide who and whose we are as new creations in Christ from the world… to die… the shells, walls and façades of our life to crumble and die so that we can breathe free and bear the fruit of the kingdom for all the world…

My challenge to you during these 40days of lent… is look at your life… and ask God to show you your Twinkie side

  • Could it be you have to always be right…
  • Do you live one life here at church and another life at home or with friends…
  • Do you feel you have appear to always have your life together… 

 

All of these and many more that might be flooding your mind right now are all fake… just like the Twinkie they are man-made or woman-made for a single purpose… to make us feel good in the moment… it might bring us a moment of sweet success when we use or take advantage of someone to get ahead in our jobs or life… But even with sweet success fades to emptiness, friendless and death… these fake… facades in our life is what Jesus is telling us to lose and let die…

Why… So that we can be who we really are… with our strengths and weaknesses… you don’t have to always be right, or have your life perfect and together…You do not have to do everything by yourself…

Paul writes 2nd letter to the church in Corinth… (2 Corinthians 12) But, God said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I, Paul, will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me….

God knit you together just like you are… strong and weak… the world want us to build up strong walls to protect us and make us appear to be strong and mighty like the Roman Empire… but the ways of the world… walls and empires will fall… but the Love and Grace that God has blesses us with is sufficient and will not fail us… ever…

Christ gave his life so that we might live… this season of lent… die to the places in your life that are fakelose the parts of your life that hold you back from being the complete you… Boast in your weakness… own what you can’t do… because the death to this part of ourselves… brings life to the community around us… because we die to the idea that we can do it all and only rely on ourselves to live life and we begin to open ourselves up to being in relationship with others around and life is breathed into a community that relies and is accountable to each other.

God made us uniquely strong and vastly weak so that we can live life together in relationship complementing each other and bringing about the Kingdom of God… and sharing the true life found only in Christ. You have nothing to lose but the fake facades that keep you from living a fruitful life in Christ…

May God bless you and Keep you…

May God open eyes and heart to your strengths and weaknesses so that you can see how you fit into God’s Kingdom…

May you leave this place and bless others with your life so that they might have access to the Life of Christ…

Thanks be to God who choose us, broken sinful us… to bring the Kingdom near to His creation.

+++This was my goodbye sermon as my ministry comes to a close at St. Mark’s Lutheran in Asheville NC.+++

+++May God bless us and lead us to paths still unknown to us. May the Lord’s name be praised ! +++

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