Here is the message I gave for the morning worship at Grannie Annie’s Kitchen (Grace UMC, Newburgh) on Saturday, February 23, 2013. I based this message on the Scriptures for the 2nd Sunday in Lent (Genesis 15:1-12, 17-21; Philippians 3:17-4:1; and Luke 13:31-35. I emphasized the reading from Philippians.
Writing these Saturday messages is interesting. The people who come are not always interested in the message, desiring more the food that is offered. They perhaps have only a basic understanding of the Bible, Christianity, and Methodism; there is also the possibility that they have rejected the church, both the traditional and non-traditional forms. To preach the same message that one would preach to a Sunday morning service doesn’t always work. It may very similar to what transpired for John Wesley when he moved from the prepared multi-hour sermon of the Anglican church to the extemporaneous sermon of the fields and factories.
If you are interested in giving the message some Sunday morning, let me know (either through my regular e-mail – TonyMitchellPhD “at” optimum.net or on Facebook). Dates in March are still open and I will be opening up April in a couple of weeks. We open the Kitchen (and please do not even think of this as a traditional or typical “soup kitchen” because it is most definitely not that) at 8. After everyone has settled in, we offer this worship and then begin serving. We will serve until around 9:45 or when we run out of food. We close the doors at 10.
To me, this time of Lent is a time of a journey; of a change sometimes in place that we are but most definitely a change in who we are. Many people are uncomfortable with those changes, never wanting to move from where they are and, most definitely, never wanting to change who they are.
Perhaps that is why we have this season called Lent and why it takes some forty days to prepare for Easter. To change who we are is not always an overnight thing but one that requires time and focus. Paul writes the Philippians and tells them that those who are more concerned with the material world or life on easy street are headed in the wrong direction.
As I read those words that Paul wrote, I wondered about who he was talking about. Most of the people I know would tell you that life is nowhere near an easy street and that life is a struggle. But I know many people who will tell you that you have to grab everything that you can because you don’t have too many chances in life. And it is what you have that, in the end, counts the most.
We all know people like this. Interestingly enough, it is a broad spectrum of individuals. It is the individual who stole a radio out of my car many years ago. I don’t know what drove him to do it but I am pretty sure that the word desperate would have been involved. For this individual did it between 2 and 5 in the morning on a night when it was something like -20o F. And, yes, when I went out to my car that morning to go to work and school, I was mad and angry. But I also had to smile a little bit because I am not sure what that individual was going to get for his efforts; I know that he probably took it to a pawn shop somewhere but how much was he going to get for a tape player that didn’t work? For all his efforts, this individual probably didn’t get much in return.
But is also those individuals who say that they are Christian but who are unwilling to do the things that come with saying that they believe. I haven’t quite figured out how to respond to these individuals but I should because there are so many of them. They have no desire to come close to the Cross because it means to them that they must give up everything that they have gathered together. How are they any different from the people Paul writes about who are only interested in their bellies and their appetites?
But what is that you have “in the end?” Paul also wrote, to the effect, that if you have everything but your soul is empty then you have absolutely nothing.
That’s why Paul also speaks of one’s life in Christ. Paul does not want people to follow him but to follow Christ because in doing so, their lives are transformed from the mundane and boring to the beautiful and exciting.
I was introduced to a saying yesterday that goes like this, “Christ is in each one of us; we just have to recognize Him.”
When Ann opened up “Grannie Annie’s Kitchen” it was with the purpose of feeding people. But it was to be more than just a quick breakfast. Some people come here on Saturday morning expecting something entirely different from what they get. But that is because of how we see this kitchen and how we see our lives in Christ.
How you see this kitchen depends on where you are in this journey called Lent and in your own life. You can see this place as a good place to get food on a Saturday morning and that is fine. But we hope that you see this place as a place where not only your physical body but your soul is feed as well.
How you see others depends on how you see yourself. You have the opportunity this day to decide which way you want to go in your own personal journey. You have the opportunity this day to decide that you want to change your life.
Next Saturday, as you are preparing to come to this place once again, someone may ask where you are going. I know that many of you will say that you are going to get a good breakfast at Grannie Annie’s Kitchen; but I would also hope that you are saying that you are going to a fellowship of people gathered together to find and know Christ.
Where are you going this day? Where are you going tomorrow? That is what this journey is about.