Monday, April 29, 2013

Simon Says, Part 1

The following three posts are from a sermon in early March:

Philippians 3:17-4:1: Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. 18For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. 19Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21He will transform the body of our humiliation so that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself.

4:1Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

I don’t want to start my time with you today by embarrassing you, but how many of you remember the game of Simon Says?  Can you raise your hands?

And would know you know what I meant if I said you were “out” because I didn’t say “Simon says, raise your hands?”

Do you remember playing that game as a child?  I remember playing it on the playground during recess or on rainy days, in the audicafenasium – you know that room?  The one that is the cafeteria at lunch, the gymnasium during physical education and the auditorium for the Christmas play?  We would all stand in lines while the leader would have us do silly movements – like jump on one foot, or raise both arms.  If the leader preceded the command with “Simon Says”, you followed the instructions.  If not, then you were to ignore the instructions.  If you followed the leader without the Simon Says command, then you were “out.”  And I remember the leader would try to trick us, with phrases like, “OK, you can put your arm down now.”  And we would fall for the trick.  Why was it so hard to win the game?  It seemed simple enough, but it didn’t take long for there to only be two or three really excellent players left, while the rest of us sat on the sidelines.  We had gotten tired of listening, or distracted by something else, or maybe we had fallen for the sneaky leader’s tricks, but we were out, in no time flat.

As I read the epistle lesson from this week’s lectionary, the game Simon Says came to mind.  Paul is telling the Christians of Phillipi who they should follow.  He says, “Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us.” 

As I read it, I wondered how a church of today would react if the pastor stood in the pulpit and said, “Follow me.  Do what I do.”  What would we think?  We would go to lunch after worship and talk among our friends about the pastor’s arrogance?  Who is he to hold himself up as someone we should follow?  Who does he think he is?  Is that the reaction we have to Paul’s statement to the Philippians?



Post a Comment

<< Home