Friday, July 6, 2012

Spreading the Good News

Spreading the Good News
Proper 9B
July 8, 2012
Mark 6:6b-13
Prop: A World Map or Globe

Good morning, everyone!

I want to show you a couple of things on the map (globe) this morning.  This is a map of the whole world.  We are right here, in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  (Point to your location, and put a sticky note with the name of your town and country on it.)  Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus lived here.  ({Put a sticky note on Galilee.) 

Now, Jesus lived in a time before television or the Internet; before radio or telephones or even telegraphs.  Yet the message of God's love and forgiveness through Jesus, the Christ--what Christians call the Gospel message--spread from the small area of Galilee all the way to Delaware, where we live.  Today people all over the world have heard about Jesus and God's love. 

The Gospel message did not travel across the globe overnight, and spreading the Good News of the Gospel so far and wide required the hard work of many, many people.  We call these people missionaries.

The first missionaries were sent out by Jesus himself.  He told his followers to pack light and to travel from town to town, telling anyone who would listen that God loved them and wanted them to live as children of God.  Then, after Jesus' death and resurrection, the disciples travelled even further from home, sharing God's love and telling people the Good News about Jesus.

The Church grew as more and more people heard and believed the Gospel message.  Missionaries shared the love of God in many ways.  Sometimes they preached the Good News in worship services.  Sometimes they practiced God's love by giving the people they served help with hospitals and clinics, schools and farms.

For example, (fill in with an example from your own church's ministry), in Delaware, the Presbyterian churches have a sister relationship with the Presbyterian churches in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in Africa.  It is right here on the map.  We have helped our sister churches in the Congo to build schools, to feed prisoners and to create piggeries for raising pigs, just to name a few projects.  And the churches in the Congo have sent missionaries to Delaware, to share their love of God and their enthusiasm for the Gospel with us.

There are still many people in the world who have never heard of Jesus, or who don't know that God sent Jesus for them.  And a person doesn't need to travel far and wide to be a missionary.  We don't need to do big things like building hospitals in Africa or churches in Korea, or digging wells in South America to be missionaries, either.  You can be missionaries right here in our own home town.  Every time you show another person kindness, or invite a friend to Sunday school, or show someone you care, you are sharing God's love and spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It takes all kinds of love--fancy and simple--to spread the Good News.

Let's Pray.  Kind and Loving God, we thank-you for those who worked in good faith to spread the Good News of the Gospel so that we might know of your love and forgiveness in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Help us to live lives that reflect that love, and to find ways to share the Good News with others.  In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

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