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Faithlife Corporation

Role Models - Lent 2c

Notes & Transcripts

Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path and may the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, our light and our salvation – Amen

On first glance – when you see me on Sunday morning with my ‘one size fits all’ dress you might be surprised to know that I like sports

            Don’t let this attire fool you – I like playing sports and watching sports

I like to play many sports, and in my time I have tried most and been deeply involved in a few

I also watch enough sports each week, especially in the winter with hours upon hours spent at the arena – actually some of this sermon was written with my laptop  in a cold arena

When it comes to watching on TV, I enjoy watching most things with other people around – but mostly I like watching when things start to heat up

Growing up my brother, a more avid sports fan, used to make fun of me and say “what’s your favourite team?.... The playoffs!

So you can imagine that over the last two weeks, with Vancouver Winter Olympics on, I am spending lots of hours watching sports and our TV is in a constant rotation between CTV, TSN & Sportsnet

The Olympics, and particularly this winter Olympics, have captured Canada’s and the world’s attention for a brief and wonderful moment in time

It is a time when countries come together bringing their top athletes in a variety of disciplines and the spirit of competition is held up to the highest esteem

Generally, the Olympics principals of competition at the highest level while at the same time an ethics of fair play and sportsmanship are highly honoured

Every event, even the ones that I would never normally watch, are at the height of excitement and have captivated my attention

In some cases I think of the sports that I have done – skiing: alpine or Nordic, and my imagination goes out there

I wonder what it would be like to be at that moment of years worth of training and competition, to have traveled all over the world, to have sacrificed a ‘normal life’ in the pursuit of excellence in a very narrow discipline a sport

All that hard work leading up to the greatest of all ‘playoffs’ - the Olympics - and competing for your country

This past two weeks is a very inspirational moment in time – particularly for us Canadians – the host country

I know that some people have issues with all the costs of the Olympics – the legacy of debt that world events like this may have

            People question the value of such extra-ordinary expense

But I believe that perspective comes from a view that is looking at the moment in time and not the long standing legacy that will be left

We have for a brief moment in time an exceptional opportunity for inspiring stories to be witnessed and lived out

I am particularly thankful for all the time when events are not happening

            This otherwise dead-time has been filled with stories and interviews

CTV has understood that people want to learn about the athletes – we want to understand what motivates them – we want to see into their families and friends and they want to feel a little bit about what the Olympics means to these elite athletes

The segment that I have really enjoyed is the one that Rick Hansen hosts called “the difference makers”

Here, we learn about those people behind the scenes that have so motivated and influenced our Olympics athletes

            It is clear that role models really matter

And here is where we connect with our scripture from today

            St. Paul writing to the People of Philippi – a people that he really liked – and he is telling them

17Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us.

            Paul is telling us that Role models matter…

                        He is presenting himself and others as an example to be emulated

                                   

And he presents really dramatic contrasting options

He states that one should follow his and others like him and imitate them or be an enemy of the cross

18For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. 19Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven

On one hand – citizenship in heaven by following the examples of good role models - and on the other hand – destruction

            Strong words – dramatic claims

                        But it speaks to the vitally important responsibility that Role models have

 This is the time of Lent – it is the 2nd Sunday in Lent

            It is a time when people look introspectively and consider themselves in a self examination way

Here with this reading we are called to consider our choices in life, and consider them in a very black and white way

Lent has been for some a time when people consider what they might give up for Lent

            Like giving up TV, or chocolate, or desserts or alcohol

And as important as that can be, if the sacrifice draws our focus away from things that distract us away from God, or are habits that are not glorifying to God, and therefore bring us into a deeper relationship with God

Yet the passage selected for today does not speak of giving up anything – but taking on something

taking on the duty of watching others – imitating others – looking for righteous role models

            and doing what they are doing

the point of a role model is that we might be involved in the same things that they are involved in

While watching the Olympic coverage last night there was an interview with the Grand chief of the first nations – and he quoted Confusia with the following:

            Tell me and I’ll forget – Teach me and I will remember – include me and I will understand

                        The task that we have before us is to be included

                                    Some are called to be role models and some are called to imitate them

Everyone has a role to do… and the alternative options is not a pretty one – it is destruction… and it is as an enemy of the cross

That is why today we are celebrating our youth volunteers – the people that devote their time and energy to teach our young members of the church and to be the all important role models that they need

Our youngest members of the church are growing into a world that is growing farther and farther away from the church – away from the teachings of Jesus

            Now more than ever we need good role models

We celebrate today the ones that have volunteered and committed to this vital ministry – but it doesn’t end there

As the saying goes – ‘it takes a community to raise a child’ – therefore each and every one of us in this church community have a responsibility of being good role models or good imitators of those role models

It has also been said that - many times things are more caught than taught

People often learn more from what is done and what is seen being done, than what is said

And today we also celebrate the baptism of Gavin – we welcome a new member into the family of God

Gavin is not of the age to make any of the faith claims himself – but His parents and Godparents made them on his behalf

            They are tasked with the responsibility to raise young Gavin in the faith

They make promises, like every other parent and Godparent before them, in the presence of everyone gathered, and in the presence of God, to be faithful role models for Gavin

            To teach and nurture him in the faith of Jesus Christ

                        To share the gospel message and to model a Christian life for Him

To renounce sinful ways, the devil and all that is evil and corrupts and destroys

            To trust, obey and accept Jesus as Saviour

They have made life altering promises for Gavin

And they have promised to be role models in the faith

            But it doesn’t end there…

Each and everyone here today have made promises to Gavin and to God that we will help to do all in our power, as we are able, to support Gavin in his life in Christ?

            We are all – each and every one, promising to strive to be righteous role models

So consider you own “difference makers” – whether that be one or both of your parents…

            Or maybe an aunt or an uncle or grandparent…

Consider how you likely forgot much of what you learned in school but can remember the teachers that cared for you and made a difference…

For some you might remember a Sunday school teacher or an elder in your church that set a good example of how you were to live

Think about your own role models – and imitate them – so that you too can be a role model for others

            Because our citizenship in heaven

                        Therefore, my brothers and sisters, stand firm in the Lord

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