Good News and Better News… November 7th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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good-news-trinity-mansfield-sign-pic-1Autumn reminds me of getting older. It occasionally offers memories of the warmth of earlier days, but things start falling off your limbs.

As I woke up and drove to Trinity United Methodist Church in Mansfield, Ohio, it was a beautiful, sunshine-blessed fall morning–invigorating to the body and soul. I think other people felt that as well, because Pastor Bob and the congregation shared a gentle and kind greeting.good-news-trinity-mansfield-clouds-pic-2

I was also blessed to have my nephew and sister-in-law show up for the gig, and we had a few minutes in my green room to catch up and rediscover why we like each other (even though we’re related).

Then it was time for the service. I’m always intrigued by the fact that we pursue the traditions of religion without considering whether they are adequate for the needs of humans. What is the purpose of God putting together a ceremony which does nothing to enrich the lives of the participants?

What do we need from church?

First and foremost–good cheer.

Fortunately for us, Jesus said “he came that our joy might be full.” For after all, we cannot survive another experience that leaves us contemplating without rejoicing.

The second thing church should give us is fellowship.

Once again, God looked ahead and saw our need. Jesus proclaimed, “By this you shall know my followers–that they have love for one another.”

After good cheer and fellowship, we all desperately need forgiveness.

Jesus warned us that “except we repent, we shall perish. But if we do repent, “God is faithful and just to forgive us.” This pardon makes us a little bit more willing to consider being gracious to others.

So you can see, what we need out of church is also what God expects out of church.

Passing off the traditions of men and calling them the commandments of God is what really pissed off Jesus.

So the good news is that if we offer hope and cheer, fellowship and forgiveness, we will not only be doing God’s will, but we will be presenting an atmosphere which is conducive to the growth of human beings.

The better news is that it is a lot more pleasant to do this than arguing over hymns, trying to stay awake during sermons, and bickering over the color of the carpet in the vestibule.

good-news-trinity-mansfield-jon-pic-3

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