Sermon Series: The Gospel of Dr. Seuss
Message 3 of 6: What Was I Scared Of?
Scripture: Ephesians 2:11-19
Notes from a message offered Sunday, 2/3/19 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.
Reading of What Was I Scared Of? by Dr. Seuss
What’s a great way to get over something when you’re scared?
The older I get the scarier the world gets. I’m more aware of things. When you’re little you’re sheltered and that’s a good thing.
So how do you get over things? Some folks would say, “Just do it! Put on your big girl pants!” I’m not always that strong.
In order to get over things I’m scared of I need help. I need great friends to stand beside me, speak truth to me, pray for me, help me take the next step. I need to take a step back sometimes and get some perspective.
There is something about taking a step forward and facing our fears. There’s something about the practice of doing that. It’s a practice. It’s like a little kid learning how to walk. First, they’re stumbly bumbly, then they get a little better at it, and a little better at it, and then they’re zooming around the house.
Part of the practice is remembering how alike we are. This is the beautiful message of this book. The realization that these spooky green pants are actually scaredy pants. They are just as scared as the little bear.
Each one finds the other strange. The little bear doesn’t wear clothes, has no experience with pants. The pants have no experience with bears.
They realize they’re both looking for the same thing.
So when I’m scared, especially when it feels like I’m scared of someone, someone because they’re different from me, they’re probably just as scared of me. Deep down inside we have the same longings. We have the same needs.
Christ with Hand in Benediction/Blessing
God’s Gang Sign- Three fingers representing the Trinity, two representing the dual nature of Christ (fully human, fully divine), the palm open in blessing, reaching for us.
Association of this hand symbol with the core longings we all have. When we realize we all have them it breaks down the fear and it breaks down the dividing walls between us. People are no longer strange or weird, they have the same needs we do. We begin to see them as human.
- The Palm is Belonging. How many of you are longing to belong? Do I belong here? Yes! You are wanted. You are welcome.
- The Thumb is Unconditional Love. Life is so different because we have thumbs.
- The Pointer Finger is Security. For some of us its the #1 thing we’re longing for. We tend to point at things and people and say, “You’re not safe.” Instead of saying, “Come closer. Let’s talk.”
- The Middle Finger is Understanding. Does anybody get me?
You put all these fingers up and the other two down and you get the ancient sign of blessing. This is what we need. This is what Jesus offers. Jesus offers them all to all of us.
Ephesians 2:11-19, NRSV
11 So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called “the uncircumcision” by those who are called “the circumcision”—a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands— 12 remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
- At one time you had the insiders and the outsiders- the Jews and the Gentiles, the circumcised and the uncircumcised. It was like this but now it’s different. You’re not a stranger, an alien, an outsider. You’re not far from God. Because of Jesus, everyone can be brought near.
13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
- This was so important and so needed Jesus died for it. He bled for it.
14 For he is our peace; in his flesh, he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.
- Christ is our peace. The peace between us and God and the peace between one another.
- So important it took body and blood, Jesus’ flesh.
15 He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, 16 and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it.
- Jesus took on the humiliation, the violence, the hostility so that there would not be hostility between us.
17 So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18 for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God.
There are times when our church family are more of a family to us than our biological family. It must be that way in God’s house.
VIDEO: Father Gregory Boyles of Homeboy Industries in California
For God’s Gifts, United Methodist Hymnal #489
O Holy God, open unto me light for my darkness,
courage for my fear, hope for my despair.
O loving God, open unto me wisdom for my confusion,
forgiveness for my sins, love for my hate.
O God of peace, open unto me peace for my turmoil,
joy for my sorrow, strength for my weakness.
O generous God, open my heart to receive all your gifts.
What Was I Scared Of? Sermon © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
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