By Rev. Mark Ferrin
What is the most important in your life? Your priorities?
I have been officially retired from full time Pastoral ministry for over 3 years, at FB in Keene, NH. Anyone here retired? Anyone not retired?
Now that I’m retired, I have a new bucket list. Anyone here have a bucket list?
So 3 things on my bucket list that I’ll share with you:
Ist: Preach at the most famous & best church in Biddeford Pool Me.(Well,
**Secondly, I like ice cream. Anyone else? I mean I really like ice cream. My two daughters and wife awkwardly share that our refrigerator ice box has at least 6 cartons of ice cream at all times, not counting the sorbet.
Best ice cream around here? Ice cream in Ocean Park?
Does anyone know Kimballs ice cream? Jaffrey, NH, and Three others in Mass: Lancaster, Carlise, & Westford (I had trained my car so that when it got within 10 miles of Jaffrey, NH, it automatically goes there).
My goal to go to all 4 Kimballs,,,,in one day. Or bike ride. (around here)?
**My third bucket list goal, I have finally got permission from my wife to do. My wife, Ivy Merrill, who is also an ABC Pastor,is the best Preacher in our house, (She’ll be leading worship here next Sunday.
She said, I can finally get arrested,, in the spirit of Dr. King or John Lewis, or Rosa Parks.
So what is important to you, your priorities? What would you be willing to get arrested for, or as Dr. King says, willing to die for?
Ex: Maybe we can get a clue from what people advertise on their cars.
- bumper stickers, pins, political, school, Bee Gees on mine.
My favorite is live simply, so others may simply live: (BMW)
Tattoos: To the love of my life: Mary, Sarah, Betsy, Mom!
What is the most important part of your faith here at Union Church?
I. First, Are you to talk the talk?
Now the talk in our faith world is often called the Word of God, the Bible. We are supposed to preach and teach and share God’s Word, aren’t we?
There are many hymns about the Bible,, My favorite, the B-i-b-l-e yes that’s the book for me, I’ll stand alone on the word of God, the B, or
“Sing them over again to you, wonderful words of Life.”
(show Bible) We are to read these words so we can talk or sing about them.
Our Scripture lesson that we read is very special for me & wife Ivy, wedding:
I John 4: 14 says, “God sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. We saw Jesus and are now telling others about him.”
So, we are to tell others about Jesus. We are to spread the Word.
We are to talk the talk!
So do you talk the talk here?
How about a church sign?
FB Keene sign says: Welcomes all in God’s love.
Do you know what your sign says here? A place of peace & presence by the sea.
Trouble is, many churches have a wonderful sign or missions statement, but that’s all it is, a sign or statement, WORDS!
It is one thing to proclaim we welcome all in God’s love, but quite another to actually live it!
It is one thing to shout it from our lips that we are inclusive, but another to show it from our hearts.
One thing to say we are a place of peace, but another to live that peace.
Do you know what I mean?
I’m not saying that this church does not demonstrate love, but many followers of Jesus, & I include myself sometimes, are great at the talk, but not the,,,, walk.
I believe that God commands us to not only talk the talk, but walk the talk.Amen
I John 4: 15 God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the son of God,,,but also v. 20: Those who say I love God, but hate their brothers or sisters, are what? Liars!
Love and compassion are empty if they only come with words.
II. So, secondly, ,, We are to walk the talk, Amen?! Do we?
Listen to I John again to v. 20; Notice, if we say we love God (if we talk about God, if we talk the talk), and don’t love each other, (if we don’t demonstrate that love by our deeds, if we don’t walk the talk, than we are liars. Do you agree?
Ex: woman in one of Dad’s: NH who knew the whole New Testament by heart.
You’d give a reference and she’d quote the Scripture exactly in King James.
Can we do that? Let’s try it together.
Shortest verse in Bible: John 11:35 “Jesus wept.”
John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son,,
James 1:22 ?????? “Be you doers of the Word, not only hearers.”
Now,,,,I couldn’t keep up with this woman at that church.
Trouble was, even though we called this woman the “talking Bible,” like all of us she didn’t always live it. In fact, she was an arrogant, judgmental person.
She was a talking Bible, but not a walking Bible.
**********I John says that we are to show people God’s love.
2. Isn’t that what Jesus did?
Now Jesus was a great preacher. Remember his sermon on the mount?
(I have favorite spot on Mt. Monadnock, written sermons. My sermon on mt.
Blessed are the meek and the peacemakers, and love your enemies are wonderful sentiments, but Jesus really tried to live out his own words.
When he talked about being a servant to all, Jesus was.
When Jesus said that we are to be compassionate toward all others, even those who hate you, he was willing to be whipped and die on the cross, for not only his Mother and disciples, but those very folks who whipped him.
Ex: The most important thing about Jesus is what? His words?
(Bible with Christ’s words in what color…Red!)
My fantasy is that someday someone will print the deeds of Jesus in green or orange or, my favorite color,,,purple. (my tie)
Yes, the talk of Jesus is vital to all of us, but he backed the talk up with the walk! Jesus was not hypocrite: Jesus walked the talk.
3. So, thirdly, Jesus walks the talk, but,,,,how about us?
Sometimes I worry, as all clergy do, about being hypercritical.
I don’t always follow this book. I sin. (retired sin more), I make mistakes.
I root for the wrong sports teams. NY Knicks, Rangers, and today I’ll be rooting for the team the Sox are playing in a few hours. . I will be rooting for the,,,,,, Jets(sympathy sake), Aaron Rogers?
Seriously, I didn’t visit parishioners enough.
I do not always walk the talk, sometimes I don’t even talk the talk.
Do we, walk the talk?
Do we only talk about justice for all people, or actually try to bring justice for all? Do we just talk about God’s love for all people, even people we don’t like, or actually walk the path of God’s love for all?
In these days when hate & war seem to be predominate in our world,,,
when people spew viciousness all over the internet, (except twitter, I hear),,,,
When people are more interested in making money than making peace,
When sports players are so greedy they care less about people’s suffering (golfers),
When ex students come back to their school & shoot fellow students &teachers,
or at a graduation celebration, when a discouraged, angry racist person shoots a neighbor thru the door, or someone knocking on the door of a wrong house.
When people of faith are afraid to, as the Scriptures say, welcome the stranger,,, when people demonize folks, even family members who have a different political or religious stance,,,,,,,,,,
Who is standing up and shouting and more importantly living, that greatest commandment from Jesus,,,love God and love your neighbor, even those you don’t like? I mean who tries to love your enemy anymore??
Who does what I John 4 says?
“Who does that?” Followers of Jesus, that’s who!
Do we walk the talk, like Jesus did? I hope that people do not just say about us, oh yea, they are Christians. We know that they are Christians by their talk.
I pray that when you & I sing some of the great hymns we are not singing, 1.Just a closer talk with thee,
2.And he talks with me and he talks with me,…
3.It wasn’t Jesus talked this lonesome valley, Jesus walked it for you and I.
- O Master let me talk with thee,
Folks, We need to do more than talk about our faith, we need to walk it!
We need to do more than use our mouths, we need to use our hands & feet.
We need to do more than offer thoughts & prayers, we need action!
As the saying goes, Pray always, and sometimes use words.
Or let’s try the Ole West African proverb,,,, When you pray, move your feet.
Are we moving our feet, or just our mouths?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. moved his mouth, but also his hands & feet.
On January 30, 1956, speaking to help organize a bus boycott in Atlanta, shortly after Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat.
Received word about the bombing of his house.
Coretta and 7 month old daughter, Yolanda
House surrounded by many angry folks, many with weapons.
,Don’t get panicky. Don’t get your weapons. If you have weapons, take them home. He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword. Remember that is what Jesus said. We are not advocating violence. We want to love our enemies. I want you to love our enemies. Be good to them. This is what we must live by. We must meet hate with love. Wow!
Could you imagine what would have happened that night if those angry folk had not put down their weapons? More bloodshed and who knows what would have happened to the movement? Instead they went home, got up the next day and what? Talked about a bus boycott? No, they refused to get on the buses, and used their feet, and walked to work and school and home. They walked the talk.
God, through Jesus, walked the lonesome valley for us, and Jesus is walking right along with us every moment.
I pray that all of us will follow in the steps of Jesus, & many others, & show love.
I pray that people will say about you, not only you have a way with words, but you have a way with heart.
I pray that we will not only talk the talk, but walk the talk! Will you? Will we?