For twenty-five years I have evaded preaching on this passage from Matthew. The Revised Common Lectionary suggests it only once in three years and it lists three other passages. But this year, this month, it seems very appropriate, especially the second sentence.
When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.Matthew 9:36
Compassion is a deep seated emotion, a churning of one’s gut with, ideally physically alongside, another person.
Are you filled with compassion seeing people gather on the streets risking personal safety striving to express their compassion and were harassed and helpless? Whether standing in those crowds or from the safety of one’s home distinguishing the compassionate protesters and officers from a few rogue actors —bad cops, vandals, agitators— is difficult at best. Yet their motivation to disrupt a culture that views some as less worthy than others merely on the basis of skin color must be acknowledged.
When Jesus saw the crowds coming to him for healing he recognized that there were more people than he could attend to personally. So he summoned his disciples to pray for help.
Be careful when you pray for help.
Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness.Matthew 10:1
Today we have technical solutions for many physical diseases and sickness. Yet the remaining societal disease continues to harass people; a disease that the Church has full authority to heal.
There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.Galatians 3:28
The path ahead is no less dangerous today than 2,000 years ago. In these days mere bystanders have been dragged away and assaulted alongside the worst offenders. Compassion when fully expressed yield more than a gut reaction; it yields walking along side, even into the shadows.
See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles.Matthew 10:16-18
I will have more to say about Matthew 9:36-10:23 here by 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 14th.
Robert Shaw, Pastor
A Tip for Parents
One day, while Abraham was resting under a large oak tree, three men walked near his home. Immediately he offered them water and a little bread, which quickly became a feast. When the three leave we know that they were messengers from God.
Our collecting of three-cents for each meal that we eat is how we provide sustenance for strangers who visit us.
How might you encourage hospitality for strangers in your home?
By 8 AM Sunday, June 14th, a video of this worship service will be embedded here. After that time, you will also be able to view worship on a smart-TV through YouTube by searching for Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.
As disciples of Jesus Christ we give so that we may dedicate the whole of our lives by sharing a portion of what we earn with others.
Although COVID-19 has forced us to curtail all in person groups, meetings, classes, …, even office hours. Yet we continue other ministries. For example: Wednesday Bible Study, Sunday school for children and the Fellowship Hour all meet via video-teleconference.
In these unusual times we deeply appreciate your giving through your bank or by clicking our button. We continue to check our mailbox regularly so you may mail your check to us.