When I was a child, I was given a bookmark with a picture of a kitten barely hanging on to a tree branch with the words “Be patient, God’s not finished with me yet” on it. The kitten was cute, but the sentiment stuck with me as a child, and the scripture that corresponds from the first chapter of Philippians, chapter 6: “I am confident of this, that the One who began a good work in you will bring it to completion.” That was comforting to a girl trying to become a faithful person but was curious and keenly aware of every misstep and mistake. We are works in progress.
When PRCC was coming up with our vision statement of who we are as a congregation and what we are about – The first step is celebrating unity in Christ, diversity in faith in our worship by LEARNING. The first piece of who we are is that we are learners together. Together as a congregation, we are committed to learning. In committees and on teams, you all learn how to run this church, how to get the finances to cover all the bills and needs for ministry, how to reach out to visitors and guests in ways that are not intimidating but welcoming, how to expand our mission efforts to provide school supplies, meals, and even clean water to those in need. We are learning through Bible Studies and through our worship together.
The worship series we just completed on the diversity of faiths helped us learn so much about world religions and we realized how much more we have to learn. And that’s okay because we’re in the right place! Our Faith development team has blessed the concept that each fall, starting with Rally Day we’ll launch a Learn N’ Go series in which we will provide opportunities for all ages in our congregation to learn and then go and see. We can link sermon series up with museum exhibits, trips to places near and far, and see for ourselves. PRCC is a church committed to continuing to learn.
Our Gospel lesson in Mark today picks up in the middle. So I want to bring you up to speed. Jesus has already entered Jerusalem with the parade. He has already been causing some disputes and disagreements about who is in charge. In the Gospel of Mark, the scribes have made appearances from the very beginning criticizing Jesus, first for healing on the Sabbath, then for who he chose to eat dinner with, accused him of being Beelzebub, since he could exorcise demons, questioned his hand-washing, and questioned his authority to teach. Immediately prior to the verses I just read, he was asked about whether or not he thought people should pay taxes, and then about resurrection.