August 16, 2020

Generous Reconciliation
Bradenton-Sarasota Congregation Online Service
August 16, 2020

Call to Worship: Psalm 133:1

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

Song to prepare your spirit for worship: “Come Holy Spirit” by Bryan Duncan:

Prayer for Peace:

Gentle God, when we are driven past the limits of our love,
When our hurt would have a weapon and the hawk destroy the dove,
At the cost of seeming weak, help us turn the other cheek.

Gentle Spirit, when our reason clouds in anger, twists in fear,
When we strike instead of stroking, when we bruise and sting and smear,
Cool our burning, take our pain, bring us to ourselves again.

In the mirror of earth’s madness let us see our ravaged face,
In the turmoil of all people let compassion find a place,
Touch our hearts to make amends, see our enemies as friends.

Let our strength be in forgiving as forgiven we must be,
One to one in costly loving, finding trust and growing free,
Gentle God, be our release, gentle Spirit, teach us peace. Amen
(from Community of Christ Sings #222)

Message: Elder Jim Brougher

Have you ever been hurt by someone and then wanted to hurt them back? Get even or seek revenge? Maybe even retaliate through dangerous payback thoughts? These are human traits resulting from a hurt ego and/or simple jealousy. Like, “When is it my turn Lord?????”

Today’s scripture from Genesis 33 recalls the story of Esau and Jacob and the blessing from their father Isaac. Per Hebrew Law, a father’s blessing after death should be given to Esau. So he and his Mother Rebekah trick a dying Isaac into giving his blessing to Jacob, the 2nd son. Esau was horrified to learn that his blessing had been given to his brother Jacob. This blessing was not only stolen, but in biblical times it’s loss was a misplaced source of great wealth, your inheritance from Dad.

This week’s scripture is a biblical discussion that outlines the power of Generous Reconciliation. In this case two brothers are now at odds over a scam and deception that cost Esau a great deal of power and wealth. The lesson in today’s Scripture teaches that when two parties are at odds over a major issue, GOD is a major source for reconciliation! You see that a Generous Reconcilement can work. In fact, alienated people can come to peace with each other. Because God himself has reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ.

In this story Jacob made the effort to reconcile and make peace over this family issue of a stolen blessing. While afraid of Esau’s military power he still pushed for a resolution of the problem. God made generous reconciliation possible. It is very true today that church families as well as individuals need resolve of internal differences. Absence of reconciliation robs the church of Unity. The same holds true for our families today. Generous Reconciliation is necessary to maintain family unity.

Reconciliation can begin with God. In Genesis 31:1-16, Jacob, after the stolen blessing, went on his way, then he ran into God’s Angels. The ensuing conversation motivated Jacob to admit his wrongdoing and accept God’s Generous Reconciliation. Peace with Esau was achieved. Thank you Jesus! I believe today that God is alive and well in the lives of folks just like us. When we seek to enter his presence, he reveals to us those relationships, good or bad, that need our attention. A broken relationship can often be mended. It begs the question, are you big enough to extend the effort required to ask for a Generous Reconciliation?

Jesus always asked the tough questions. He also taught that love and understanding is important. Understanding is often gained by active discussions. At one time I was employed by a Fortune 500 company. My position as a plant manager required that every four years the union contract needed to be renewed. I was told by my secretary that my ears would be my best tool for negotiation. My mouth would be my biggest drawback to successful union reconciliation. She retired one year later at the age of 72.

At her retirement party I thanked her for the ear & mouth advice. Without it, I would not have survived contract talks involving the union and thousands of employees. You see, listening allowed me to discern what issues kept the union and management apart. When finally the new contract was signed, correctness of speech had prevailed, The new contract addressed the current issues and Generous Reconciliation had again worked. Albeit eight weeks of listening, we now had a contract that Management and the Union could live with. Through meetings and all the discussions, Generous Reconciliation allowed us to craft a new contract. Speaking of reconciliation, are there differences or hurt feelings that are keeping you apart from God????????

Today is something bothering you? Is the problem with God, Family or Friend? What should I do? This situation needs to be resolved. I need help. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could Google God or have the answer on a DVD recording. Isaiah the prophet declared “Your ears will hear a word behind you. This is the way to walk in it, whenever you turn right or left.” (Isaiah 30:21). Generous Reconciliation often begins with an open heart and a genuine listening for the Holy Spirit’s voice and guidance.

To the above point, I offer this prayer:

Father I present myself to you thru Jesus Christ’s name. I declare that the Holy Spirit is alive and well in my Life today. Draw me near to your Heart so I can hear what the Spirit is saying. I ask that the Holy Spirit be my guide as I pursue Generous Reconciliation of this problem between (________________) and myself. Holy Spirit lead me, guide me, Teach me how to listen more effectively in Jesus Christ Name, Amen Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!

Disciples’ generous response:

The principles of our Disciples’ Generous Response still apply today: receive God’s gifts, respond faithfully, align heart and money, share generously, save wisely, and spend responsibly.

As you share your mission tithes or if you give regularly through eTithing, use this time to express gratitude for God’s many gifts in your life and to reflect on how we respond faithfully to those blessings. When we understand God’s love and grace are given freely to us, we respond out of gratitude and are liberated to share freely in return.

Closing: Enjoy this Song of Reconciliation by Ashton, Becker and Dente

This service was prepared by Sherry Lindgren and Jim Brougher.