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20-Sep-09

20-Sep-09

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Published by Joseph Winston

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Published by: Joseph Winston on Sep 20, 2009
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Pick Me
The Rev. Joseph WinstonSeptember 20, 2009
Sermon
Grace and peace are gifts for you from God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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About this time of the year, students slowly settle back into the routine knownas school. They now know by heart how many minutes of precious sleep they canslip in before waking up for their first class. After spending days wandering downthe hall with their books in one hand and their schedule in the other, most studentsactually find the next class without getting lost. In the hall and in the classroom,old friendships resume without missing a beat. Other allegiances shift dramati-cally and new relationships quickly form. Once again, the daily grind includeshours of homework. Classes prepare for the first tests of the year. Some studentsgrimace while other grin when they receive their papers back from the teacher.One hears a similar story outside of the classroom. It is football season in
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Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians1:2, 2 Thessalonians 1:2, Philemon 1:3.
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Texas. If you expect to win under the lights on Friday night, you then must prac-tice long hours on the playing field. These drills started long before the first dayof school and they will continue until final whistle of the season. At the most,this hard won experience teaches you how your teammates will react during thepressure of the game. This knowledge on how they act on Friday night wins onlyone-half of thebattle. You also need to learn both the strengths and the weaknessesof the opponents. Only then will you have a chance of winning the game.If you listen carefully during all of this, you can hear the constant refrain of “pick me” echoing through the halls of the schools, repeating in the classrooms of all sizes, and being said over and over on the playing fields around the state. Pick me – I am your best friend. Pick me – I can solve that problem. Pick me – I amthe one you need to fill the hole in your lineup.Even though the reasons why someone might pick us differ greatly from onesituation to the next, it all boils down to one indisputable reason. It is a great honorwhen someone selects us. We still know that today. It makes us feel good to knowthat we belong with our friends. Our image improves in the eyes of others whenwe solve the task set before us. We become more popular when we make the teambetter.This ever so brief description on the honor our society places on belonging iseasy for us to understand. We still live in a world that places significant weight onthe opinions of others.But in the not too distant past, we valued honor given through selection evenmore. Take for example the people who work as bankers, police officers, and fire2
 
fighters. In our parent’s time, only the most honorable people in the towns couldhold these positions. Even today, this idea continues with us. We still believe thatindividuals in these occupations can be trusted and our faith in them is dashedwhen we find out otherwise. Picking someone also tells us something about theirsocial status. Here in the south, this memory is very alive. Only the right girls goto the debutante ball. No one else need apply. Belonging also gave us an accurateidea about worth. Obviously, even now everyone would agree that country clubmembers have more money than ditch diggers. We still recognize the Daughters of theRepublicofTexasashavingmorepoliticalcloutthanmanyotherorganizationsin this state.As we go back further in history, this interaction between selection and honortransforms from simply indicating some combination of trust, social status, andworthintoaGodgivenright.IntheMiddleAges,onlykingscouldappointknights.But even a king could not appoint any man as knight. Only God could do that byallowing the man to first serve as a squire and before that a page. A break in anypart of this chain completely disqualified a man from becoming a knight. Even to-day, the English word “nobility” accurately captures this idea. It comes to us froma Latin word (
nobilitas
which in turn is based on
nobilis
) that means highborn. Inother words, God Himself selected that person to be a king or a queen or a lord orlady.Today’s Gospel Lesson reflects this understanding that God picks our positionin life. The disciples are traveling with Jesus towards Jerusalem. Everyone knowswhat will happen there. Jesus has already told them two times that He will die3

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