Sermon June 7, 2020

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


June 7, 2020

Acts 10:34-35,34 Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.'”

Of all that is said in Chapter 10 of the Book of Acts, I believe this verse says all that needs to be said. God does not show favoritism toward anyone over anyone else. That is true without condition. God does not see your race, size, religion, social status, sexual orientation, or anything else that separates humankind. I truly believe that God is waiting for us to follow God’s lead and do the same. Perhaps, then we might learn to live together as God’s Family, within the “reign of God” as part of God’s Kingdom. If God doesn’t discriminate against any of God’s creations, why should we? I believe the answer to that question is, we shouldn’t.

When I look at this verse, I have to believe; Peter learned this truth from Jesus. Peter looked at Jesus and saw how he embraced everyone the same. How Jesus, loved without conditions, without reservations, without limits. Peter saw the reflection of God in the life of Jesus, and it compelled him to follow the example Jesus set and live a Godly life for all to see. It drove Peter to take the message of “living the love of God” to the world around him. He no longer saw a world of “them and us,” he saw through the eyes of God the world of “God’s Children” in need of a salvation that can only come from knowing that God loves them all. Peter became the example of Godliness for others to see and emulate. That is spreading the word, the Gospel, the Good News.

That message has nothing to do with belonging to a church. It has nothing to do with belonging to a specific faith. That message has everything to do with teaching others how to live a life of love, in our words, and the example we present for the world to see. Love for God above all else, and living that love toward all others. Peter, like Jesus, and those others after him, turned from the paths they were on and stepped out into a world just as divided as ours today, to present a message of faith, hope, and love. A message that is needed today, more now than ever before. God’s plan for humankind is that we will someday live in unity, peace, and compassion for each other, without conditions of any kind. Do we? If not, then perhaps it’s time we started, and that begins with you.

For all these centuries, we as a people have not learned to live together as God intended. We are more divided today than ever before because we choose to be. We refuse to love as God loves, and instead place conditions, requirements, restrictions, qualifications, and barriers between ourselves and all those who are not as we are. We live in a time where racism, bigotry, and discrimination are just as widespread and prevalent as it was before the middle of the 20th century. Our leaders placate our desire to be united and for real equality with their empty words and shallow deeds, all to hide their desire to do nothing to change the status quo. And we elect them anyway and follow their lead.  

In our country today, there is a great outcry. People are taking their grievances to the streets, and some are misusing that right and causing violence and destruction. Violence and destruction are totally uncalled for and defeats the purpose of the demonstration. This must stop, but we have certain leaders, and people of authority that desire and promote more wrongdoing. They desire to cause more division, strife, and discontent. They desire to spread ungodliness to promote and expand their agendas. We need a “change,” and that will mean we ourselves must change; we must turn from the path we are on and take a new way. Change is not found by doing things the same way as always; change is found by taking a new direction, doing things in a different way, following new and different leaders. 

King Solomon was alone, as many of us are. Yet, God spoke to him in the night, perhaps in a dream, and revealed this truth to him. 2 Chronicles 7:13-14, 13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Today we are once again living this warning. Once again, we find our lives interrupted and in disarray with all manners of plights. We find ourselves having to deal with not only events of nature but also events of humanity. We are faced with a pandemic and its consequences, with civil unrest and its consequences, with all manners of financial and political strife and discontent and their consequences. We are truly perplexed, frustrated, and filled with anxiety and dread. We are sheep without a shepherd, the blind leading the blind. Our way of life is being redefined and redirected, and it seems, toward a great precipice to which we cannot seem to stop.

Just as God revealed to Solomon long ago, the answer to our plight is the same. We have allowed ourselves to be led astray, to be misguided and misdirected. We are following “false prophets” and “false leaders.” We have lost sight of the light of God and let go of God’s hand. We are looking to worldly things that are perishing before our eyes, and we choose not to see. We are being led by people and principles toward a direction that is not where God wants us to be. We have strayed from the “Path of Righteousness,” and are now on the highway to perdition, to a great fall that will end in heartache and misery, and if not halted in time, destruction.

As God revealed to Solomon, that outcome is in your hands. You can choose how you will react to the “times we live in,” or “warnings from God,” that is your free will. The “healing” of our land is possible but not without your willingness to do your part, and willingness to have faith in God that God will give us what we need to make that healing complete. First, we must choose to do what is right.      

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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