Imagine arriving at church this Sunday morning and learning that there will be a substitute teacher for your class.
Of all the mornings to have a "replacement" teacher, I grumble after I gave up a chance to go pheasant hunting with the guys, since my wife was complaining how long it had been since I had been to church. I promise myself that I will make the best of the situation, and try to learn and even participate. That would be the right thing to do.
We were seated in our usual seating arrangements, meaning I was in "my" seat LOL, waiting on the "sub."
Rev. Dan Andrus
As he entered the room there was a collective gasp. "This is the "sub," the "replacement"? No way! Yes, way! He is none other than the "rabbi" himself: Jesus, the Christ!
No need for introductions; He immediately begins to speak.
"Today's lesson will be contained in this question," he said. His voice reflected such love and concern. A tone of empathy that could only come from agape love itself.
Reflections, a mini-sermon written by Minot and area clergy, will appear each Saturday in The Minot Daily News. Clergy interested in writing a mini-sermon should contact Religion Editor Loretta Johnson at 857-1952 or Debbie Sandvold at 857-1950. The toll-free number is 1-800-735-3229.
He quietly asked this question: "Why are you here today?" After a moment of silence, while everyone was trying to come up with a suitably "holy" response, and when no one spoke or offered even an inadequate answer; Jesus responded to his own question:
"I remember the groups of people who gathered and followed me for three and a half years," Jesus said. "There were those who thought that I had come to establish an earthly kingdom. They hung around and attended because it served their personal agenda. It made them look good to those around them.
"Still others came because they felt an overwhelming sense of obligation. They often would say: 'I have to be there; who else will do what needs to be done.' One of those was my dear friend Martha. She had no idea I loved her just as she was, whether or not she could prepare a delectable meal for me.
"Many came to seek the signs and wonders and brag about the recent healing they received the days and weeks before," Jesus continued. "And I also remember a few who were loyal and truly loved me. Those folks were a delight to be around.
"So today as you begin to think through your answer; I would ask you to hear my heart.
"I love you more than any language can express or explain. My love doesn't depend on your position or behavior. I am hurt and disappointed when you sin; I don't condone those behaviors But I never cease to love you. I came for the sole purpose of dying for you and paying the price for all who have sinned. I am hurt and disappointed when you ignore me, when you leave me out of your life, when you think it doesn't matter that you're not spending time with me.
"So I will ask you again: "Why are you here?" Do you love me? Do you want to be with me and those who love me? Come, let us worship together. As we do so, you'll find new joy in serving me by serving others. You'll find new joy in telling others about me. You'll find new joy in being part of the solution to what ails all of humanity."
The Rev. Dan Andrus is pastor of North Hill Baptist Church, 524-21st Ave. NW, Minot
THE REV. DAN ANDRUS
North Hill Baptist Church,
524-21st Ave. NW, Minot