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Elephants on the Loose

Elephants on the Loose

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Published by Joseph Winston
There are elephants in the room. The Church is not exempt from ignoring the obvious problems that face us. We do not reflect the neighborhoods we live in, we act just like the rest of the world, and we refuse to talk with anyone. Christ's life of love shown in the washing of the feet is exactly that. He comes to serve people just like you.
There are elephants in the room. The Church is not exempt from ignoring the obvious problems that face us. We do not reflect the neighborhoods we live in, we act just like the rest of the world, and we refuse to talk with anyone. Christ's life of love shown in the washing of the feet is exactly that. He comes to serve people just like you.

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Published by: Joseph Winston on Apr 01, 2010
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04/01/2010

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Elephants on the Loose
The Rev. Joseph WinstonApril 1, 2010
Grace and peace are gifts for you from God, the Father of our Lord JesusChrist.
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There is an elephant in the room. This phrase that entered the English languageabout fifty years ago does not mean that a pachyderm, a large mammal with thick skin, somehow escaped from the circus train on its way to or from Houston and isnow wandering among us. There is an elephant in the room. When someone saysthat sentence, they mean we have a problem. It is an issue so big that everyoneclearly sees it but no one is willing to talk about it. The reality staring us right inthe face is too difficult to bring up. It is much easier for us to completely ignorethe facts than to plainly talk about them.Polite society is full of elephants. Just think about all the topics we refuse todiscuss. Race is one of them. In 1963, Rev. Martin Luther King said,We must face the fact that in America, the church is still the most
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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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segregated major institution in America. At 11:00 on Sunday morningwhen we stand and sing and Christ has no east or west, we stand at themost segregated hour in this nation. This is tragic. Nobody of honestycan overlook this.
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This still is the awful truth today. More often than not, the Church in this countryis one color. It does not look like the neighborhoods right outside her doors. Thediversity of names is missing during worship. But we do not talk about it for fearthat we will offend someone.The Church is this country is growing older than the rest of the people in theUSA. This is another elephant that lives right here with us. Students attendingcollege stay away from the Church in droves. Their schedules are packed. Theyattend classes taught during all the hours of the day. Success requires hours of studying. Throw in a few extracurricular activities and there is not any time leftfor much else. This same pattern repeats itself once they finish school. Gettingstarted in the business world requires hours of dedication. Families need attentiontoo and this takes lots of time. If you look, there is something to do just about anyday of the week. After work, go out with your friends for a few drinks. Childrenneed help with their homework just about every night. Someone needs to run thechildren around to music, football practice, and soccer games. Add this all upand you have a full calendar. Missing from this list are all the activities that oncehappened in the Church. Prayer time is gone. Life changing experiences helping
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others are lost. The study of the Word is absent. They have left the Church forgood. There is a reason for this and we just cannot bring ourselves to say it. Theyhave looked at the Church and found that it brings absolutely nothing to their lives.That elephant is right here.The whole topic of sharing what you believe is another elephant that we hope just walks right out of the room all on its own. We will talk with our friends aboutthe weather this weekend, how well the high school football team is expected todo in the playoffs this year, or a thousand of other topics that in the grand schemeof things mean nothing at all. Yet, we will not speak to the same people aboutJesus. We will not tell them about the answered prayers that cannot be explainedin any other way except that God heard our requests and acted decisively on ourbehalf. We refuse to start a conversation about the God who loves you so muchthat He sent His only Son to save you from your ultimate fate. We always canfind another subject other than inviting them to come and see what this Jesus isall about.
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This elephant knows the Lutheran church very well. All around us, thepopulation in the state of Texas is booming but fewer and fewer people make it toworship.TheChurch keeps and feeds awholeherd ofelephants. Thereis oneheretodaywith us. For some reason, when the people of God hear tonight’s Gospel lessonabout Jesus washing the disciples’ feet and His concern that they know what He isdoing so they can continue His life of service to others, some Christians actually
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The woman at the well, with all of her doubts and her unsavory past, does something with theWord that has been given to her. She goes out and tells others about Jesus by saying, “He cannotbe the Messiah, can he (John 4:29)?”
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