Sermon Snap Shot December 9, 2018

Sermon Snap Shot December 9, 2018

We witnessed another grand funeral this past week for the late George H.W. Bush. I always liked the elder Bush, and his wife Barbara too. Since the 1980’s I felt like, deep down, they were really kind, decent people.
 
But Bush wasn’t always a saint. I found his Willie Horton ad reprehensible, especially as someone who has worked on race relations since I was a teenager. My gay friends will probably never forgive both Reagan and Bush for how slow they were to react to the HIV/AIDS crisis. And I’m pretty sure Bush’s hands weren’t clean with the Iran-Contra mess, especially given his background with the CIA.
 
Watching the Bush funeral reminded me of a workshop years ago led by a preaching professor, Dr. Tom Long, that happened to take place shortly after Ronald Reagan’s funeral in 2004. During the Q and A time at the end there was much discussion about how the clergy at Reagan’s funeral seemed to gloss over many of his “sins,” so to speak. I’ll never forget what Dr. Long said to that room full of preachers when this concern was brought up. “You know, EVERYONE deserves a good funeral.” 
 
These words have greatly shaped my ministry over the years as I have sought to follow Joseph’s example toward Mary – erring on the side of radical grace versus harsh judgment. 
 
One of my favorite lines from this past week’s services came from one of my favorite historians, Jon Meacham, who gave one of eulogies on Wednesday at the state funeral in Washington. He described the elder President Bush in this way: “An imperfect man, he left us a more perfect union.”
 
And it struck me, what a beautiful epitaph for anyone. When my time comes, I would love to be remembered in this way…it’s a legacy that we all should strive for. An imperfect man…an imperfect woman…s/he left us a more perfect community…
a more perfect church…
a more perfect family…
a more perfect world.
 
Joseph was not a perfect man, but he did embody the hope of the Gospel…
as he yearned for faithfulness,
as he heard and responded to God’s call,
and as he sought to read the Scriptures through the lens of radical grace rather than harsh judgment.
 
And in so doing, he left us all a more perfect world for sure.
 
From Sunday December 9 message based on Matthew 1:18-25, “The Hope of Joseph”
 
Pastor Lane Glaze
Waters Edge United Methodist Church

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