Y’all Come Back Now, You Hear? A sermon on Ephesians 2 (manuscript)
Y’all Come Back Now, You Hear?
† In Jesus Name †
May the grace and mercy of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ assure you of the peace that is found as the world comes back, reconciled to Him!
Another Pastor Parker Parable….but one that needs a bit of a set up…
They were gathered, at the end, around a pool that reminded you of a Roman Villa.
As the credits rolled past, the cast of the sitcom would, with a hospitality that seems somewhat unknown today, invite us to watch next week with the words,
Y’all come back now, you hear?
You might call this pastor Parker parable, “The Kingdom of God is like the Beverly Hillbillies!”
Another way to put it is that if we made a television show about our church, it could be called the Concordia Hillbillies!
We certainly are a diverse group of characters, and there is no one that would walk in our doors, that wouldn’t be welcome.
If you are unfamiliar with the show, here is the basic plot, a poor family of people from somewhere in the Appalachia strikes it rich with oil on their property. They load up their truck and move to the Beverly Hills, the place of dreams and where rich people belong.
Of course, there are some things they had to get used to, As the slide says, Ma, somethings just ain’t going to be the way they used to be! Things like indoor plumbing, a pool in the backward instead of a creek and a pond, and the manners of the rich and infamous they would need o learn to deal with, and quickly. It was a study of cultural anthropology, and conflict resolution between peoples of different cultures and backgrounds done with great humor.
As we hear the words of Paul to the church in Ephesus, we see similar cultural issues, and we see a community being formed, as the people become one. There were things that the Gentiles and the Jews would need to learn, as they were brought together in Christ.
This is our goal for today. That we would begin to desire that all people would come and hear our plea, “be reconciled to God!” No matter their place of birth, their native language, their gender or economic status, that they would come, and that they would all come back to God, you hear?
Did We Worry About Fitting In? Or Did we Look Down on the newbies
The first plea to be reconciled goes to those who are new to the community. Those who were, and you have to here the “were” aliens. They weren’t part of the community, they weren’t governed by the law of the covenant, they were considered outsiders.
Some of us have experienced that feeling once or twice in our lives. We were born in a different place, some even on a different continent, like South America, or Asia. Some have come from Africa or Europe Some of us came from really strange places, like the lakes region of New Hampshire. We may have had people mock us, and California natives tell us we weren’t welcome or we felt like we would never fit in. Hear Paul’s words again, and see if the feeling sounds familiar,
- “11 Don’t forget that you – used to be outsiders.
- You were called “heathens” by the others
- In those days you were living apart.
- You were excluded from bein part of the community
- You did not know the rules and benefits of bein a part
- Therefore, you lived in this world without God and without hope”
For the Gentiles, it was just a matter of being held without the hope of fitting in,
I love Paul’s concern for these new believers that they will fit into the community of God. But part of that is helping them understand that they aren’t unbelievers anymore. These things were true – but they aren’t anymore.
It is as if he said, “Clampetts – you used to go to the bathroom out back, but Jethro, you don’t need to anymore.” Paul says, “Gentiles – remember you were like that before, but now you have hope, now you are part of the covenant, now you are in the community, no longer separated, no longer aliens!” They were now saints.. and that means something.
But they weren’t the only one’s who needed to learn!
Does anyone remember the name of Miss Hathaway’s boss? You know the rich banker who used to try and acquire the Clampett’s money? Was it Clydesdale?
Whatever his name, I think they modeled him after the older brother in the story of the prodigal son. He had trouble, serious trouble, adjusting to the fact that someone whom he didn’t think was worthy ended up with more blessings than he did. The Jews had the same struggle. Their pride in their circumcision and the other traditions they counted on caused them to lose contact with God’s vision.
It’s a problem we all struggle with at times, as our faith isn’t focused on Christ, but on something of us. I love how this translation puts it, “even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts.”
Do we let our religious lives get like that at times, where they affect our body, but not our souls? Do we get to the point where we go through the motions and say the words, but don’t rejoice over the incredible mercy and love God shows us? The point when our traditions, or our preferences become more important than others coming to know God’s love?
What will it take for the new folk and the old folk, for the Jew and the Gentile, for all the cultures, all languages, all life to be at home together?
What Makes it Home
It happens when the same way it did in the Clampett household. It happens as we feast together.
It happens when we remember the life, death and resurrection of Christ includes us. We come home as we are joined together with Christ’s death and resurrection.
That’s how we know when we are home… home together. Hear Paul’s words again,
17 He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. 18 Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.
to His home together
19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. 20 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. 21 We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. 22 Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.
We belong together, we have been made one people, one holy people as we are God’s family. He is making His home out of us. People from every background imaginable, people who’ve committed every sin and been forgiven, people who are broken, who’ve come to be healed. God will work with people who’ve even come, like the apostle Paul did, to fight God, He can heal those who come to persecute God’s people, and like Paul was filled with awe, God can reach them! We can welcome, and even love them, and shown glimpses of the glory of God which we shall share in, together.
That is the power of God, seen as He makes us one….in Christ…
And y’all come back now, to His table for there will be a feast, celebrating His death and resurrection, the power of which is at work in us.
Posted on July 20, 2015, in Sermons and tagged Beneverly Hillbillies, community, ethnic challenges, grace, Life in Christ, peace, practicing the presence of God, The people of God, Unity in Christ. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.