*We Welcome Dr. Russell Jeung to CCUMC - Russell is a 5th generation Chinese (Hakka) American who grew up in the Bay Area and has made Oakland his home for more than 20 years. He is also a leading sociologist of Asian Americans, race, and religion. Russell currently is professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University. Russell is the author of books on race and religion and most recently, the spiritual memoir we studied, At Home in Exile. You are all invited to a community talk with Russell following SOUP at 2:00 p.m. in the Annex.
*UMCOR Special Offering Sunday is Today - Your 2nd mile giving today goes to support the important work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief. To learn more about the important and impressive work of UMCOR, please visit: www.umcor.org Thank you for your generosity.
*Get Your Portrait On! Today and next Sunday are your final opportunities to get your portrait taken for our church pictorial directory. Please make sure to head upstairs to the chapel or the hall right outside the ping pong room. And don't forget your info cards! Thank you.
*SOUP Lite continues - Great thanks to our soup makers Jennie and Donna, and bread bringer, Peggy.
*Will you pitch in? Our annual children's Easter party (held Sunday, Apr. 9th, 12:00 - 2:30 p.m.) requires your presence and support. Please sign up to pitch in today.
and those who do see may become blind.” —John 9.39
The ninth chapter of John tells a story hilarious with irony about Jesus healing a blind man while all those about him can't see the truth. They are not ready to see the man healed, because it contradicts what they believe. For them truly believing is seeing. They don't believe; so they are blind to the miracle in their midst.
How like us. We have things figured out. We have people pigeonholed. We have our ideas about God. We have our opinions. And of course—lucky for us—we're right. Prejudices, judgments, beliefs: delusions, all. They keep us from really seeing.
Sometimes I know the woods so well I don't have to look. I don't see them. Sometimes we see people the way we've been conditioned to see them, and in our eyes they can't change. It is not God who is absent. It is we who are blind.
Jesus told us parables to confuse us, so we would start over. “If your eyes causes you to sin, pluck it out.” When what you've seen keeps you from seeing anew, blind yourself.
Blind to our judgments, unknowing, perhaps we will really see for the first time.
*Are you signed up for portraits? Today, next Sunday, and Apr. 2nd are your options! Please make sure to sign up today. Also, don't forget to return your info cards. Great thanks!
*Today is the last day to sign up for Easter lilies! Fill the sanctuary with the beauty and fragrance of lilies for $10 per plant. You are welcome to take them home following the 11:00 a.m. worship celebration.
*SOUP Lite continues today. Great thanks to our soup makers this week, Laura and Brenda, and bread provider Peggy.
*Next Sunday, Mar. 26th, we welcome Russell Jeung to CCUMC! Please extend the invite to your circles for his 2:00 p.m. talk. Flyers available in the foyer or via email.
*UMCOR Special Offering Sunday, Mar. 26th - You are invited to give generously to support the work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, our connection arm for disaster response and relief around the world. To learn more about the important and impressive work of UMCOR, please visit: www.umcor.org
*Save the Date - Children's Easter Party, Apr. 9th, noon - 2:30 p.m.
“Jesus is Lord” is the most widespread early Christian affirmation. It is central for Paul and for the rest of the New Testament. Like “Kingdom of God,” it has a political meaning as well as a religious meaning.
The key to seeing its political meaning is realizing that ‘lord’ was one of the titles of the Roman emperor: Caesar was called “lord.” To say “Jesus is Lord” is to say “Caesar is not lord.” To affirm the lordship of Christ is to deny the lordship of Caesar.
Indeed, several of the “titles” of Jesus in the New Testament were also titles of Caesar. ON coins and inscriptions, Caesar was referred to not only as “lord,” but also as “son of God,” “savior,” “king of kings,” and “lord of lords.” Caesar was also spoken of as the one who had brought peace on earth. Early Christian used all of this language to refer to Jesus. Even the Christmas tory, so politically domesticated in our observance, contains the challenge to Caesar. In Luke, the angel says to the shepherds, “To you is born this day…a Savior, who is the Christ, the Lord,” who will bring peace on earth. The titles of Caesar properly belong to Jesus.
Thus the familiar affirmation “Jesus is Lord”, now almost a Christian cliché, originally challenged the lordship of the empire. It still does. To use examples from more recent times, it is like Christians in Nazi Germany saying, “Jesus is mein Führer” – and thus Hitler is not. Or in the United States, it would mean saying, “Jesus is my commander in chief” – and thus the president is not. The lordship of Christ versus the lordship of empire is the same contrast, the same opposition, that we see in the Kingdom of God versus the kingdoms of this world.
Excerpted from The Heart of Christianity, Marcus Borg, p. 135-136