Make God’s Dreams For Us Our Dreams As Well—Part 11
READINGS – Part 5
The connection between faith and deeds, between spirituality and compassion, has societal dimensions, not just personal ones. The great philosopher of religion Elton Trueblood noted the role of religious faith in society when he wrote, “The terrible danger of our time consists in the fact that ours is a cut-flower civilization. Beautiful as cut flowers may be, and much as we may use our ingenuity to keep them looking fresh for a while, they will eventually die, and they die because they are severed from their sustaining. roots. We are trying to maintain the dignity of the individual apart from the deep faith that every man is made in God’s image and is therefore precious in God’s eyes.” We believe the saints among us are in touch with a transcendent dimension that more than many people realize, may be the hope of civilization.
Nancy Longhurst, a young woman in her twenties, is one saint who shows this connection through a simple but significant story. She was tin church one morning when a couple who worked with children with disabilities and profound retardation stood to talk about their work. “I remember clearly sitting in the church,” she says, “and feeling strongly that that is what I should do, even though I had never done it before and was a bit afraid of people with disabilities.” Living largely off savings, she spent the next year in the couple’s household. Through being with them and watching how they treated the children they cared for, she says, “seeing how their philosophy was always to approach a child with love, I learned to care for people. I learned that that has to be at the heart of this field: to serve people as Christ would serve.”
Historian Glenn Tinder has put Nancy’s discovery in more academic terms to suggest something similar. Ultimately, he argues, “good customs and habits need spiritual grounds, and if those are lacking, they will gradually, or perhaps suddenly in some crisis, crumble.” We cannot think that there are no societal implications from the secularization our culture has experienced in recent decades, he believes. We wrongly assume that we can continue to treasure “the life and welfare, the civil rights and political authority, of every person without believing in a God who renders such attitudes and conduct compelling.” Tinder asks, “To what extent are we now living on moral savings accumulated over many centuries but no longer being replenished? To what extent are those savings already severely depleted?”
If the dominant message we get from the culture is that our needs, our ambitions, our self-fashioned goals for life are all that matters, we need the saints among us to remind us differently. While we are told that we have a right to live for ourselves, buy what satisfies our whims, and think little about God or others, the saints model something else. By their convictions and by their behavior they can remind us how to live, and where to find the resources to act on our higher impulses, as a society and as members of society.
The Saints Among Us, George H. Gallup, Jr. and Timothy Jones, Morehouse, pages 73-74.
Sunday’s coming. Do you have your sermon ready? Is it relevant? Will it effectively motivate your congregation to walk more in step with the Master? What about that Sermon Series you’ve been thinking about?
Or, if you’re someone who plans well ahead, have you asked yourself what you will preach for your Easter Sermon, your Advent Sermon, your Christmas Sermon?
David Mains and Mainstay Ministries can help. We offer a wide variety of Sermon Starters and Full Sermons that will give you Sermon Ideas to help you prepare for regular Saturday or Sunday sermons, Mid-week Bible Sermons, and Sermons for special occasions.
We also offer assistance as you create Topical Sermons, Sermons Series, and sermons for special times of the year. We have resources available to help you with Advent Celebrations, Advent Sermons, Christmas Sermons, Easter Sunday Sermons, Patriotic Sermons, and more.
For more information on how to create better Bible Sermons and how to turn Sermon Ideas into Sermon Outlines, and then into effective, meaningful Sunday Sermons, please click here to visit David Mains’ website.
You will also find a variety of resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries website. Just click here.