First Presbyterian Church of Urbana, a Member Church of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. and More Light Presbyterians

Sunday July 15, 2018

Bible Study – 8:15 a.m.
Worship – 9:30 a.m.
Childcare is available for infants through preschool age, downstairs in Rooms 4 and 5 for morning and evening services
Fellowship Time – after worship
Solar Power Hour in Fellowship Hall – 11:00 p.m.

From the Pastor/Head of Staff

Photo: Jean the Baptist Preaching Before Herod,” by Pieter de Grebber, at the Palais des Beaux-Art, in Lille, France.

More than a few single lines in scripture provoke marvel. Like the one in the passage from Mark’s Gospel we will hear on Sunday. Mark says of Herod listening to the preaching of the scruffy John the Baptist, “When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him.” I bet he was perplexed, for that’s how it is for so many who like lots of things, but who are committed, heart deep, to not much in particular. Clarence Jordan, New Testament scholar, farmer, and founder of Koinonia Farm in Americus, Georgia, once got into an argument with his brother, Robert, who was a lawyer. Clarence had asked for legal help in his struggle against racist neighbors, and Robert had demurred. Robert had correctly sensed that representing his controversial brother could very well put his legal career at risk. Clarence reminded him of their Sunday School training, and the commitment they both had made when they became members of the Church. Robert replied testily, “I follow Jesus, Clarence, up to a point.” Clarence asked, “Would that point be the cross?” Robert answered, “Yes. I follow Jesus up to the cross, but not on the cross.” Clarence replied, “Well, I believe that you are an admirer of Jesus, and not a disciple.” That’s the cold, clear challenge we will hear about on Sunday. Jesus seeks no admirers. Which means there will come a time when our many likes or loves will stand at cross purposes with our professed love of Jesus, and we will have to choose. Herod liked to listen to John the Baptist. But he also liked power. Robert Jordan loved his brother, Clarence. He also loved the prospect of political and legal advancement. If you think any rational being would, of course, make the right choice, the faithful choice, when the choice stands clear, look around you. The choice to follow in the way of Jesus has never stood more clear, and yet those who choose to remain faithful to His way find ourselves in the minority. Join us on Sunday for challenge, yes, but also encouragement and consolation.