Sermon June 14, 2020

Rev. Dr. Shannon Rogers, DDiv, UCCARev. Dr. Shannon Rogers, SermonsLeave a Comment


June 14, 2020

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” (Luke 13:34)

And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” (Luke 19:41-42)

As I look at these times in which we are living, I am reminded of these verses of Scripture. Like Jesus, as these verses tell us, I too look upon my country, and I must lament, I too must weep. For around me today, I see all manners of divisions, bigotries, judgments, discriminations, and hatreds. Just as Jesus saw when he looked at Jerusalem, I see those charged with the care of the people abusing their powers and misusing the offices they hold. I see greed, selfishness, arrogance, and desire for power and dominion over others. I don’t see the unity that once made our country and its people great among nations. I see a nation and its people divided and blindly determined to tear itself apart.

We, as a people, have taken a terrible turn toward a path that can only lead to destruction. We are once again brother against brother, sister against sister, and people against anyone who is not just like themselves. We are not a melting-pot of people seeking a better life; we are now a country self-isolated from a world it has turned its back on. We have placed ourselves in the hands of unscrupulous leaders with prideful, selfish, and greedy motives of self-enrichment and lust for power and dominion over others. We have simply “lost our way.”

These words of Scripture speak to me just as those prophets spoke to Jerusalem. I believe Jesus is saying that he and God would have gathered the children together, but instead, the nation had divided them apart. This is our country and our society today. We were intended from our creation to be a united species, but given our “freewill” we have abused that blessing, and turned it into “the strife that divides” rather than “the tie the binds.”

Into a nation filled with hurting people, and a government that could not care less. Jesus looked upon the center of that once great nation. His heart was heavy, and he began to weep. He cried for those who could not be rescued, and for those that would not even consider his warnings. He cried for the vision he saw of the destruction that was to come, and the heartaches of his people. But I have to believe, Jesus’ tears reached further than just where he was. Perhaps he was weeping for all those nations and people who would over the centuries embrace their own personal ways, and refuse to realize God’s plan for the unity of all.

It has been some 2020 years since Jesus cried for Jerusalem, and yet today we still refuse to know the things that make for peace. Those things are still hidden from us because we have stopped looking, never started to look for them, or are too wrapped up in ourselves and what we want, to look at what we are missing.

Like Jesus, I too weep for the vision I have of our nation and my people. I believe, if we continue to divide ourselves, we will surely find our country reaping the same results that Jerusalem suffered. We will not learn, though history is filled with warnings of what we can expect when we refuse to live in peace among ourselves when we allow divisions to rip us from the security that is found in the binding of a nation together.

I must believe, in today’s world, surely there is enough intelligence, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding that these issues might be overcome. That we might realize, we are much better when we are united. We must understand, the strength of our nation is found in our unity, not in the might of our military. We are more prosperous and successful when we work together as one rather than when we are divided. We are more respected when others look at our unified front than when they see our self-destructive divisions. Our enemies fear us when we stand together, but pray for our divisions.

God loves each of us the same and gave each of us “gifts.” Those “gifts” are unique to us as individuals, but those “gifts” will never be truly realized, or reach the potential intend until we join them together. We can not come together until we choose to do so; that is our free will too.

So, now I ask you these questions. Will you look at yourself and determine to put your differences aside? Will you turn from the path of division and return to a unified way? Will you accept the reality that we are all God’s children, and God created us that we would be as one?

There can be order in the world without one world order. That will happen only when we, as the people of the world, realize we are created differently for a reason. And that reason is that we would come together and use those differences to create a better world than we would have as individuals, that we would unite for the good of all humankind instead of for the few. Peace on earth is available, but there truly is a price. The price of peace is found in living the love of God in all we say and do, and toward all others without conditions or exceptions.

I will leave you with one more question. “What is your choice, and what will you do?”

Romans 15:33, “The God of peace be with you all. Amen.”

Rev. Dr. Shannon Rogers, DDiv       

Sr. Pastor and President, Unitarian Christian Church of America (UCCA)

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