Sermon for June 10, 2018: “The Blame Bus”

Readings:
Genesis 3: 8-15
Mark 3: 20-35

Sermon for June 10, 2018: “The Blame Bus”

Six weeks ago, we were all at the house.
Paul at the table drawing.
Kristen and Maddie playing in the living room.
I was in the kitchen fixing Paul’s lunch for the next day.
Kristen comes over and checks on Paul.
She notices that there is a huge ketchup spot on the table cloth
Paul had chicken nuggets that night (one of the four basic food groups)
She asked, “How did that stain get there?”
And without hesitating, Paul says, “Well. Daddy was over here earlier maybe he did it.”

My head went up and it was the biggest throwing under the bus he had done on me.
First off: I was innocent of all charges.
But the ease with his excuse caused me to react not by saying “Paul that was not nice”
But with a simple “Dude!”

We are so good at making excuses for our behavior.
But this is not a new problem.
This is not a millennial problem.
It is not a Generation X, Boomer, Greatest Generation problem.
This is a human problem.
And it starts all the way back in Genesis

When Adam and Eve eat the apple.
And then they realize they have messed up big time. BIGLY.
And when God comes calling, what do they do?
They hide.
Which is the first thing we humans get wrong.
We cannot hide from God.
God will find us.
Be it a good place or a bad place.
But then when God confronts Adam
This is what Adam says (and I am paraphrasing)
And let’s get that bus revved up and running again (here it comes)
“Well, God. The WOMAN (pointing) the YOU gave me, she gave me the fruit and I ate it.”
Who is the one person that Adam does not blame?
Adam hits the daily double.
He not only throws Eve under the bus but he also throws GOD under the bus.
Then Eve gets in on the act.
“Well, the serpent, he TRICKED me!”
Who is the one person she doesn’t blame?
Boom! Right!
Do you sense a pattern?
Since the beginning of our time with God, we humans have tried over and over again to blame others for our own mistakes.
Today’s reading is God’s punishment for what went down.
And I can’t help but think WHAT IF Adam and Eve had just said, “We messed up.”
Do you ever think about that?
If Adam and Eve had stepped up and been honest?
Maybe the punishment would have been different?
Or it may have been the same, who knows?
But it is what it is!
By the way, the apple (See what I did there) does not fall far from the tree.
Remember what happens with Cain and Abel?
Cain kills Abel.
God comes and asks where is Abel (side note: God knows, but he wants to see what Abel says)
And Abel says, “Hey I’m not his keeper.”
Again he doesn’t take responsibility.

What a mess.
What a mess.

Same thing happens in the Gospel.
You have Jesus who is on a roll
He’s sent out evil spirits
He’s healed many people
He forgives a paralytic man
He performs miracles on the Sabbath (uhoh)
And last week we heard the story of a Sabbath healing of a man with a withered hand.

Now by this time the scribes and the Pharisees have had just about enough of Jesus and his popularity.
This WOULD have been a great time for them to actually LISTEN to Jesus and change.
It would have been nice if one Pharisee in Mark says, “You know. Maybe this Jesus is right. Why shouldn’t we be working for God on the Sabbath?
Why shouldn’t we be talking about the LOVE of God and not God’s rules or how God hates sinners!”
But they go another way.
They spin.
“He’s crazy.”
“He has the spirit of the Devil in him!”
The stuff that Pastor Will and Chan hear on a weekly basis, right?

Trying to scare people away from Jesus.

You see a pattern?
Rather than admit their failings and learning, they go against God and God’s mission.

Jesus doesn’t fall for it.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus points out how the so-called “religious leaders” had failed.
They have not been loving,
They have judged,
They have excluded,
They have become power-hungry.

That leads to the whole blasphemy of the Spirit.
When you lie about Jesus, you are in BIG trouble!

Let’s get back to family.
Jesus’ family.
They want Jesus to keep it quiet.
They don’t want Jesus’ words to be thrown at them!
So they want to whisk away.

But Jesus wouldn’t have it.
But this is where our God is truly amazing.
I can’t wait to tell you.
Jesus asks, “Who is my mom and brothers?”

I tell you why that is great.
It goes back to the very beginning again.

After all the bad stuff.
After Adam and Eve
And Abel
After they sin,
And they go against God

DOES GOD GO AWAY?
DOES GOD GIVE UP ON THEM?

No.
Yes God punishes them.
But that is a parent disciplining a child.
But after the punishment,
After the law,
What does God do?

He clothes Adam and Eve.
He provides a new home
Children
Food
A life

What does God do for Abel?
He places a mark on Abel’s forehead.
A mark of PROTECTION.
No one will mess with Abel because Abel is STILL under God’s protection.
And Abel is still able to grow,
To live, to marry
To have children.

What does Jesus do in our Gospel?
He points to the people, the followers, the disciples, the sick, and YES I would even say the Scribes and Pharisees and says, “HERE are my brothers and mother!”

Jesus does not un-invite people to the kingdom.
In that one verse, Jesus breaks the boundaries and says EVERY ONE COME ON IN!
We are family now!

Family.
Brothers.
Sisters.
Children.

Children of God.

Earlier I asked you to think what would have happened if Adam and Eve had just said “we messed up.”
Now I want you to think of the many times in our lives when we should just say “I messed up.”
“I am really sorry.”

What kind of change would that make in our lives?
Think about that.

No matter what we have done in our lives,
The times we blame others for our mistakes
The times we sin and try to get away with it,

God still stays.
God still stays with us.

Because God wants this RELATIONSHIP to work.

This RELATIONSHIP is a gift.

Because God appreciates us.
And takes cares of us.

Without question.
Without permission,
BUT
With a LOT of love.