Sermon Reflection for Sunday, December 16, 2018 | Respectfully Submitted by Brenda Worley
This is the third Sunday of Advent and our Christmas list is growing. Mother Mary began her sermon with a quick review of the prayers and readings for the day and emphasized how they are all related. All these point to the gifts that God has for us. These are things God wants for us. He is the giver if we are only willing to receive. Week 1 the gift was redemption, week 2 it was repentance, and this week the gift is Godly judgement.
Judgement has a bad connotation, “Judge not, lest you be judged.” However, godly judgement is different. It is intended to heal, purge, and restore. It is to help us see the error of our ways, desire for change, and provide the strength to do so.
Mother Mary shared an incredible example of godly judgement. The scene unfolded at Jimmy’s Bar in Wrightsville Beach, NC. We don’t often think of bars as places of kindness and grace. Jimmy Gilleece, the owner, is not your average bar keep. After being approached by a hysterical patron who reported losing her wallet there, he made it his mission to find it. This was a welcome reaction for the woman as the wallet contained her wedding ring.
Jimmy watched hours of video from various cameras on the property until he found the thief. The young man who took the wallet was tracked down and confronted. The young man, Rivers Prather, was a 17-year-old teen, estranged from his family and homeless. Rivers confessed to taking the cash and throwing the wallet in an ocean canal.
Jimmy decided that since he had already invested so much time in this endeavor, he had to find the wallet. He hired divers to find it and they were successful. The ring was still in the wallet and the woman was very grateful for its return.
At this point, the police could have been called and a case made against Rivers, but godly judgement was employed by Jimmy. Jimmy recognized that Rivers was not a thief, but just someone who needed help. He took Rivers into his home and has helped him get on his feet. Rivers is now holding down two jobs and has a bright future.
God’s mercy is greater than our sinfulness. We are called to believe this and take ownership of our sins. Instead of denying and blaming others we are called to focus on what God is willing to help us learn from our sins. Together with God we will make something that we could never have imagined in the past. Godly judgment leads to astonishment and gratitude!
Add Godly judgement to your Christmas wish list along with redemption and repentance. Let’s live into the life of peace that God wants for us.