Sermons
Worship Service begins at 10:30 AM
Third & Adams Street, PO Box 9774, Moscow, Idaho USA | (208) 882-3715

Deep Roots - September 23, 2018

Colossians 2:2-3, 6-15 When I went to college I wanted to find a church or a ministry….something to stay connected to the faith I had grown up in. In the dorms, I met some great women who invited me and encouraged me to be a part of their ministry. We played capture the flag, hide and seek in the sculpture garden, and then they invited me to do Bible study. I remember the three of us sitting at the start of Bruin walk and opening the Bible to John 1. They explained what the Gospels were (which I already knew because I had grown up reading them in church and in Sunday school), and then started working their way through John chapter 1…which, can be a little dense. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. It’s not exactly self-explanatory….

For some, we read that passage and the conversation goes a little like this:
“The word? What word?”
Not a word, THE word.
“Which one?”
The Word in Greek is Logos…and it means word, but it also kind of means of essence and being. It’s less about language and more about existence.
Well, that clears it right up.

They asked me about the word….and did I know who the word was…yes, Jesus. They explained some about Jesus and how we are saved through him. And I was following. And then they said that they could help teach me and I could know Jesus and then I could teach my family about who he was. I could help save them.
And in that instance, in my mind, the conversation came to a screeching halt. They hadn’t asked anything about my family, maybe I had told them I was Methodist, but really…they didn’t know my family. They didn’t know anything about us. Like the fact that my brother was an ordained pastor, my sister was in seminary, my parents were both active laity who preached and taught and helped around the church in any way they could. I was pretty sure they were saved. They didn’t need me for that.

Then Winter, the one in my class, shared about being baptized at the Rose Bowl, with thousands of others and how powerful it was. And she said I could be baptized too. But I didn’t need to be baptized…I was baptized, like Jack, as a baby. But they told me my baptism wasn’t right. I would need to be re-baptized in their church. And I would need to learn their ways so I could teach my family and be a light to them.
Being raised in the church, I knew what they were saying wasn’t quite right. It didn’t fit that I would need to be rebaptized or that my family was all doomed to hell because they hadn’t been in this one particular church. And yet, they were reading from the Bible…the same kind of Bible I had in my room. So that felt legitimate. And they were doing the fun things the college students wanted. They were kind and generous. Yet something didn’t fit. I struggled for a few weeks…not sure what to do or how to respond. I found a friend in a Catholic student who was also struggling…it didn’t quite feel right to him either, but we couldn’t quite put our finger on it. Eventually, I simply said, “I’m glad you have a place that works for you, but it’s not the church for me.” They were kind for a few more weeks…trying to get me to go back and then when I was firm that I wasn’t going back, they stopped talking to me. That was the clearest sign that things weren’t right. I had been raised to be kind no matter what, so ignoring people simply because they didn’t go to my church was definitely not ok.
It took some time to put my finger on it all, but eventually, I saw that faith for them was conditional….it was based on doing the right things with the right church….not just about believing in Jesus and asking him to forgive my sins and help me live a better life. But the right teaching and the right baptism.
Now, Christians have built for ourselves, a reputation for arguing about who has it more right…the Catholics or the Baptists, the Presbyterians or the Pentecostals, the Methodists or the Quakers. We could argue theology or nuance of scripture, but it boils down to our faith in Jesus Christ.
Now, that was the scenic route to get to our passage today! But it’s important to understand our scripture in context, and for the Colossians, they had people around them teaching them that certain things had to be done for them to truly be Christian…and those certain things included having mystical visions and ecstatic experiences. We might not even know what that means in real terms, but the fact is that those are not things Jesus requires us to do. Certainly not necessary for believing in Jesus. In essence, the author is saying, if people are trying to put conditions and limits on your faith…deciding who’s an insider and who’s an outsider….you have an issue.
And to compliment that, the author doesn’t just say “don’t listen to them and their crazy rules”….he also gives them instruction about what they should do….stay rooted in the faith they have. Live their faith. That would likely include sharing in the stories of Jesus…loving the way he loved. Helping the stranger and those in need. Being patient with one another. Sharing in joy with each other when someone else rejoices. Day to day living of the faith. Not mountaintop experiences (not that those are bad, just that they’re not required in order to be faithful). Do the basics.
Sometimes we need to be reminded too…that it’s not all about the fancy shiny parts of faith…the miraculous healings, the mystical experiences, or the mountaintop experiences. Faith is about how we live each day. Have we done all the good we can in all the ways we can to all the people we can? Have we avoided doing harm? Have we stayed in love with God? Simple steps every day carry us down the long road of life…staying connected with God and knowing that we are loved, redeemed, blessed, and saved by Jesus Christ. Amen.

Current Church News

  • FUMC Auction & Dinner - Friday, October 19th

    The first Missions Auction and Dinner was so fun, we are going to do it again! Mark you calendars for Friday, October 19th at the Latah County Fair grounds. Like last year we will be serving dinner and having a silent and live auction. The Missions Auction helps support local nonprofits, including: Family Promise, Sojourner’s Alliance, My Little Pantry, Alternatives to Violence and more. All money raised at this event goes to mission projects with no overhead or fees taken out. Please help support our neighbors and friends in need. Tickets on sale soon!

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Sunday morning parking at the church is available in the high school parking lot on Third Street across from the church and in the city lots west of the church. These lots are available only on Sunday mornings. A small lot for handicapped parking is available just off of Adams Street on the north side of the church, with an accessible entrance directly into the sanctuary. A lift operates between the Fellowship Hall (3rd Street level) and the Sanctuary . William Sound System Receivers and Headsets are available to assist with hearing problems.

Church Mission

The First United Methodist Church of Moscow, Idaho takes as our mission to be the body of Jesus Christ, ministering to a community which draws strength from its diversity. Our mission centers on the worship of God, expressed through varied forms of prayer, preaching, music, and ritual.  See more...