Spreading love, joy, peace, faith & unity

A Crippling Spirit

Sunday’s Sermon Notes
Based on Luke 13:10-17
Rev. Carol Shellenberger, guest minister

“We don’t do that here!” the Elder scolded.
“But I’ve got religion!” the vocal praiser replied.
Well, you didn’t get it here,” the Elder frowned.
“No, I guess not,” the rebuked man sighed.

Are we the Elder type who covers praise
With a snuffer of scorn and frowns?
Or have we “got religion” here
That celebrates the King of Crowns?

Jesus crowns the vocal spirit.
God rewards the spirit-loving and the free.
Traditions and laws have their place,
But they’re not to squelch God’s love in me!

Jesus told the disgruntled crowd –
The folks who objected to His healing touch –
That the Sabbath is holy, and so’s the act of healing.
Obey the laws, but regard the Lord’s example as much!

The condition of our heart and spirit counts more
Than the pious adherence to laws and tradition.
What matters most is the way we act in love
To follow Christ’s example, to improve another’s condition.

Lord, call forth in me the power of Your Spirit.
Help me lift up my neighbor and love with compassion.
May I find balance in love, law, and tradition –
Freeing myself and others to “Do that here” in Christ-like fashion.

After the sermon, my friend, Jim Groshong, and I presented some special music. We sang “How Great Thou Art” to the accompaniment of his guitar and my accordion. Ordinarily in our church, the response to special music is silent smiles and occasionally a group “Amen” (when invited by the pastor to vocalize). The congregation has been reminded on more than one occasion that clapping is not an appropriate response. “We don’t do that here!” because it is a worldly form of recognition to the performer(s) rather than a worshipful response that recognizes the gift as an expression for the glory of God.

Well, today’s sermon was delivered by a guest pastor. The congregation must have been listening to her message as carefully as I did! They took it to heart. When Jim and I finished singing, our Presbyterian congregation (sometimes known as the “Chosen Frozen”) burst into spontaneous applause. No one chastised them. No one said, “We don’t do that here!” Hallelujah – the Holy Spirit sang through us, touched the tear ducts of some, and moved others to applaud – to the Glory of the Lord. Wonders never cease!



Comments on: "A Crippling Spirit" (7)

  1. Marcia Zankowski said:

    wonderful jan and i hope the congregation will again spontaneously clap when our jean is preaching even though we may be chastised. We are praising God not the performers. loved your special music and we are so blessed to have talented folks in our midst wh do not mind sharing. keep itup!!

    • I am so glad the congregation was moved and responded to the Spirit. Praise God! Free expression should be part of worship in my opinion. Thank you for the feedback, Marcia.

    • Thank you for this comment, Marcia. It doesn’t appear that our pastor will take a chance on it happening again, does it? She considers applause “an affront… an insult to God.” What a shame! Oh well… there are worse offenses, I think!

  2. Amen. You gave me chill bumps! Take care! – Amy 😀

    • I wish you could have been there to worship with us. The chill bumps were a part of my response, too, especially when i forgot the words momentarily to the second verse and it was my turn to sing alone. Horrors! But, the Spirit spoke to me just in time…. saved by God and a talented ever-strumming guitar partner. Whew! What a blessing to sing His Praises! Glory be to God!! 😉

  3. I’m so glad you and Jim were so well received, ma! Wonders my never cease indeed! Love your poem, too!

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