Rejection – July 8, 2018

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Sermon Preached by Dinushka De Silva
St. Paul’s on the Green, Norwalk, CT
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
July 8, 2018

Ezekiel 2:1-5; Mark 6:1-13


Good Morning to all of you! Let us thank the Lord for this beautiful new day. Lord, help us live today, hand in hand with you. Amen.

In today’s Gospel of Mark story, Jesus came to his hometown. He preaches to his community with his family present. Everyone is astounded to hear of his wisdom and they are lucky to witness his miracles, but they don’t believe him?!

They have heard his Word, seen his Healing and they don’t believe him. In fact they take offence to him!

And Jesus says in response, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.”

What Jesus is really saying is “Here I am with my family, my people, my community and you do not see me, you do not accept me for who I am. You only see me as the son of a carpenter.”

I can not even imagine the sadness Jesus must have had in his heart, knowing he is beeing rejected. What is the social status of a carpentar’s son in that time period and in that culture? What expectations might there be for the son of a carpentar? Surely not a messiah!

I think many of us assume Jesus just took it. He just took the insults and rejection. He took the cross for us afterall.

He was whippped, slapped, arrested without a proper trial or representation and then finally nailed on the cross and left to die.

And no one really took time to ask him how he felt. How did it feel my Lord, my rabbi, my saviour when they rejected you, when they treated you like nothing, when they stripped everything away from you?

Each day as a hospital chaplain, I ask a very important question to each of my patients. How are you feeling today?

You will be amazed at some of the answers. Sometimes when they feel like following the social norm they will say, “Oh, I’m good.”

“Oh good!” I say enthusiastically! “What is good about today?” This at times dumbfounds them.

The reply can be surprising, “Well acutally nothing today is good. I found out I have stage 4 cancer and I feel desperate and alone.”

The conversation then unfolds into revealing that the patient is pretending to be strong for her family. She is trying to smile everyday, cracking jokes, knitting with her church knitting club, etc.

And then when they are all gone she breaks down and cries. And on the day I visit, she can finally share some of her tears with her chaplain.

Who did Jesus share his tears with? What family took time to hear his sadness, his pain, his worries?

When I look out into the crowd of my own community, my church commounity, my culturual community, my own family…do they see me as just a parishoner, a chaplain, as just the daughter of a banker, as an immigrant from a war torn country, as a future priest…do they see me as a child of God and as a Christian?

Many identities will be thrown upon each of us.

Assumptions will be made of you.

You will face rejection.

And no one might ask you how you feel about it.

If you are deemed as an “illegal” in this country you might be arrested and separated from your loved ones, and not seen as anything else but an “illegal”.

If you have earthly riches, but give them freely to those in need, you may be deemed as “foolish or gulibale”.

If you are fighting to find a better paid job and struggling to feed your family, using food stamps, you might be only seen as “state dependent”.

If you are battling cancer, and are unsure of your odds, you may be identified as “uncurable”.

But know that your Christ, your Messiah was once rejected too, was once seen as only the son of a carpentar, a social pariah, a fake, a fraud, and was given all kinds of identities.

But we know He is God’s Love incarnate. And in His arms, there is grace, there is compassion, there is salvation.

And we know that He loves us. We are God’s children.

It is our job to look out into our world and find Christ’s familiar face…to see him in every face we encounter and to make no assumptions, no judgements.

I ask you each today, to boldy go out into this world and love one another.

Let us pray. Lord God, we take a moment to invite you into our hearts. And to fill them with your love, your compassion, your wisdom. Help us see the world through your eyes and to make our world a better reflection of your eternal and unconditional love. Amen.

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