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Notes from Steve:
May 15, 2022
“Gettin’ Rid of Grubs”
(Psalm 148, John 13:31-35)
I’m a bit of a lawn fanatic-I like to keep our lawn green and trimmed. Imagine my displeasure when I discovered recently that our yard has been invaded by grubs! These grubs eat away at the roots of the grass, which destroys areas of the lawn. The grubs are ruining the flow of nutrients from the root to the blade of the grass, so I need to find a way to stop this from happening. More on that in a bit…
Today is Heritage Sunday, a day we celebrate our Methodist history by embracing those who began our denomination. It all begins with John Wesley, who in May of 1738 felt is heart “strangely warmed” as he attended a Bible study. Inspired by his experience, Wesley preached about a love of God that is not earned, but accepted as a gift of grace. Wesley brought the gospel to the slums of England, to people too often ignored by the church. Wesley eventually commissioned people like Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury to go to the American colonies to organize churches; Asbury eventually travelled an astounding 260,000 miles as a circuit riding preacher.
We can connect Wesley and this matter of grubs to our gospel reading from John this today. This passage takes us back to the last supper, the night before Jesus was crucified. On that Thursday night (Maundy-Thursday) Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, modeling for them a servant kind of love, then instructed the disciples to love others as he had loved them (as servants.) This sort of love is contrary to the selfish, ego-driven, power-hungry, self-seeking kind of love that so often leads to oppression and injustice. Think of a blade of grass as a person, or as our society. We desire that person/society experience love in a way that brings health and inspiration. But selfishness becomes a grub on that blade of grass, cutting-off needed life-giving nutrients that come from the roots of the grass. Jesus lets us know in today’s commandment how we can rid the grub from the grass (person/society); love each other as servants to each other.
Our psalm reading includes the word “praise” 12 times; praise is defined as an expression of warm approval or admiration. Yet praise is more than a word; genuinely praising someone leads to action. If I praise one of my grandchildren, I will do more than just speak a word of praise. Instead I will engage that child with a hug and will likely do something to express my praise. In the same way, my attitude and words of praise for God should lead me to do something: to love others as Jesus has instructed. To do so leads to transformation, which gets rid of the “grubs” damaging our relationships, society and world.
We are also recognizing high school and college graduates today: some of you may continue with more schooling, will begin new jobs, or will begin other new adventures. We are proud of you! As you go forward, you have the ability to be agents of transformation in a world full of ugly grubs. Bring love into the world by embracing and sharing the love Jesus speaks of today in our passage from John. That love will rid us of the damaging grubs that seek to destroy that which is living.