Gathering Music – Patricia McDonald
Welcoming Guests and Announcements – Pastor Ross
Prelude – All Creatures of Our God and King ‐ Arr. Shackley
Who’s to say what’s a blessing and what’s a curse in the great scheme of things? From our human perspective, what looks like the greatest of calamities may, in a God’s‐eye view, really be our salvation.
Call to Worship – Pastor Linda
Opening Hymn – O God Who Shaped Creation – Hymnal #443
Prayer Concerns – Pastor Ross
Prayer Song – As the Deer ‐ Martin J. Nystrom
Silent Prayer, Pastoral Prayer, Lord’s Prayer
Anthem – Wounded World ‐ Hal Hopson
Scripture Reading – Luke 6:17‐26 Jackie Mobed
Preparation Hymn – Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart – Hymnal #500
Message – Tough Sayings of Jesus 1. Follow Me
Offering – Pastor Ross
Closing Hymn – Blessed Assurance – Hymnal #369
Benediction – Choral Amen – Pastor Linda
Postlude – O God Who Shaped Creation ‐ Reid, Jr./S. S. Wesley
Luke 6:17-26 – New Living Translation
Crowds Follow Jesus
17 When they came down from the mountain, the disciples stood with Jesus on a large, level area, surrounded by many of his followers and by the crowds. There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon.
18 They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those troubled by evil[a] spirits were healed.
19 Everyone tried to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone.
20 Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said, “God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours.
21 God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh.
22 What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man.
23 When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.
24 “What sorrow awaits you who are rich, for you have your only happiness now.
25 What sorrow awaits you who are fat and prosperous now, for a time of awful hunger awaits you. What sorrow awaits you who laugh now, for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow.
26 What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds, for their ancestors also praised false prophets.
In our text for today, Jesus teaches the crowds about the Kingdom of God and how different life is for those who dwell within it. His words here include what we call the Beatitudes, but in Luke they are not “spiritualized” (e.g. Matthew says, “Blessed are the poor in sprit…”) By contrast, Jesus words in Luke echo Mary’s song in the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), How do we see and treat the poor with any sense of imparting blessing? Jesus’ woes are biting here and offer warnings to all of us.
The purpose of our life is not our own fulfillment but to live as Jesus lived sharing God’s love with others, doing good works God created us to do, and representing Jesus’ character, mission and message for the world. In the Sermon on the Plains, Jesus delivers a message to his disciples telling them what happiness means. First, our circumstances – good or bad – don’t define us or make us happy. Whatever our circumstances, happiness is derived from a right relationship with God and a right relationship with our neighbors. Happiness isn’t something that happens to us on the outside, but something that happens on the inside. Secondly, life delivers painful circumstances in which we can draw us closer to God’s heart, God’s will and God’s purposes for us if we follow God’s direction from Christ’s example and words. Caught up in the worst circumstances, we often find new directions and healing. We are happiest when we use the experiences of life’s difficulties to help others similarly afflicted. Finally, this world is not our home. One epitaph for life may be “Dear God, Thanks for letting me visit. I had a wonderful time”. True happiness is found in giving our life to Christ and spending our days serving others with JOY in our hearts!