Sermon from June 23, 2019
Galatians 3: 23-29
St. Francis of Assisi, Prairie View, Texas
Susan and I have both raised two fine sons.
They are both in their 20s.
And they both are out on their own.
And best of all, both of our sons receive:
(I never thought it would feel so good!)
Anyway, naturally, both of our sons, like all children, have challenged us.
When they were growing up, both of our sons received – discipline.
I can remember back to when our son, Scott, was only two years old, going through those terrible two’s.
And Susan and I and Scott were out at a pizza restaurant.
We were out at a pizza restaurant with Susan’s parents, Scott’s grandparents.
At our table at the pizza restaurant, Scott began acting up.
He got all wiggly and fidgety.
He would not be placated with a book or a toy.
Repeatedly, we told him to behave.
Yet little Scott continued to whine and to make a scene.
Finally, as his father, I pulled him out of the booth and away from the table.
I pulled him by the hand away from the table and I crouched down to his level.
While Susan and the grandparents watched, I then put my finger up and admonished our two-year old:
Don’t you act up at the table.
Don’t you be making a scene.
Don’t you misbehave.
Now grow up!”
In the Bible, the Apostle Paul writes to us, instructing:
“Before Jesus came, the law was our disciplinarian.
But now that Jesus has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian.”
My sisters and brothers:
Before we knew the God of grace, we thought of God as someone who would yank us out of the booth at the pizza restaurant and wag his finger at us.
Before we knew the grace of Jesus Christ, we viewed God as yelling at us by saying:
Don’t you act up!
Don’t you make a scene!
Don’t you misbehave!
Before we knew the God of grace, we viewed God as simply a disciplinarian.
Yet the good news is this:
Now that Jesus has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian.
Now that Jesus has come, we have been clothed as equals, in the same clothing as Jesus Christ.
Now that Jesus has come, we are no longer little misbehaving children.
But we are adults.
And if we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, then we should not be disciplinarians to one another.
If we have been clothed as equals, in the same clothing as Jesus Christ, then we should not wag our finger at each other, pointing out each other’s sins and shortcomings.
My dear friends:
I don’t know about you, but this feels like hard times we are living through.
All I have to do is open up Facebook and other social media, and there is a whole lot of scolding going on.
There is a whole lot of finger wagging at others going on.
In our society, we feel plenty free to get in each other’s face and exclaim:
You’re acting up!
You’re making a scene!
We live in a society now where the normal is outrage and blaming and division.
Yet Jesus did not come among us to be our disciplinarian.
And if Jesus did not come among us to be our disciplinarian,
Then we should certainly not be yanking each other out of the booth at the restaurant and wagging our finger at each other.
For I don’t know about you, but I got enough sin to worry about in my own life.
And I don’t need to be pointing out your sin as well!
I have enough to worry about in my own life.
So I don’t need to be your disciplinarian.
And I certainly don’t need for you to be my disciplinarian!
And now Jesus Christ has come.
Grace has come.
Love has come.
When Jesus comes, I am now longer subject to a disciplinarian.
In Jesus, I am an adult.
In Jesus, you are an adult.
Since we are all now grown-ups in Jesus,
We all are clothed alike in the love of Jesus.
We all are one, by the grace of Jesus Christ.
For as St. Paul also teaches us in Galatians:
“There is no longer Jew or Greek.
There is no longer slave or free.
There is no longer male and female.
All of us are one in Christ Jesus.”
Right now, our son, Scott, is 28 years old.
As I said earlier, he earns his own paycheck.
He lives on his own.
Make no mistake, he is a piece of work, yet he is loving and kind.
He called me on Father’s Day to tell me that he loves me.
I am still Scott’s father.
But I am no longer his disciplinarian.
(Yet I would still like to think, that reading him the riot act in the pizza restaurant, helped to build him into the man he is today!)
Right now, my son, Scott, and I are grown-ups together.
We have both received grace, not condemnation.
We are not each other’s disciplinarians.
We are clothed alike in the love of Jesus.
We are one in Christ Jesus.
My dear friends:
God is not wagging his finger at you.
No, God is giving you grace and love.
You are an adult daughter of God.
You are an adult son of God.
In Jesus, you are a grown up.