On Sunday morning, August 17, 2014, our preacher was Jo-Ann Brant, teacher of New Testament scriptures at Goshen College and a member of our church. The text was John 15:1-17 and her theme was Our Mutual Friend. She described the marks and values of friendship; then she focused on the fact that each of the members of our large congregation has a mutual friend in Jesus. After her sermon we sang “What a Friend we Have in Jesus.” I wager that most members of the congregation knew this song, many from memory. It seemed to bring a mild sense of joy to the congregation. I heard a few “amens”. Not only is Jo-Ann a college teacher. She arranges the décor for the church podium, and used her gift in face painting for three hours during a recent church fiesta for the community.
I am pondering words attributed to Jesus:
Jesus said, Do not stop him, for no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.
It seems that Jesus did not mind competition by anyone who was doing good in his name. And then there are these words attributed to Jesus:
What do these snippets from the teachings of Jesus mean for us today. To me they show the size of the large heart of Jesus. The largeness of his heart requires sheep to make space for those other sheep introduced to their fold by their kind shepherd.