Today’s sermon was preached by the Rev. Fred Demaray who took for his text “Reduced To A Comma”. Fred spent some time speaking of the Apostle’s Creed and putting it into some historical context for us. While it seemed to have undergone a number of changes over the course of time, the phrase “born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate” is what is currently read time and again as the Creed is spoken. And therein lies the dilemma of the comma. All of Jesus’ life, his teachings and his ministry are contained in that one grammatical mark, says Fred; if we can reduce Him to a comma perhaps we can then be persuaded to overlook him.
And that got me to thinking about how many of us allow our own lives to be reduced to a comma too, allow ourselves to be marked as a minor diminuendo note in the grand symphony of life. Allow ourselves and our private efforts to be overlooked and subsumed by the secular. Jesus calls us to service and to “service to the least of these”. But as Hymn 722 notes, Still your children wander homeless; still the hungry cry for bread; still the captives long for freedom; still in grief we mourn our dead. In emulating Jesus and offering food and drink to the helpless and hopeless amongst us, we are offering food and drink to Him. In spurning these opportunities, we are turning our backs on a life of lasting joy and comfort and consigning ourselves, along with the goats, to hell. Is this the everlasting life we want?
The cover picture today also gave me pause as our scriptural reading spoke about being on the right hand of God or on the left. The picture clearly presents Jesus as all-welcoming and inviting us all to a full and loving life. It is up to use to choose which hand we ultimately want to end up on. Fred asked the children how does it make you feel when someone says I love you? And because Jesus loves us, we have a different view of what life is all about; we are called to live in that comma. Jesus is Lord!