What Can We Learn from the Sneetches? (Camp Meeting, 7/1/18)

Posted by on Jul 2, 2018 in Pitman Camp Meeting, Sermons, Worship & Prayer | 0 comments

PUMC was the host church for the Pitman Camp Meeting on 7/1/18.  Our “Voices In Praise” choir provided the “special music” and our pastor (Rev. Jim Bolton) gave the message.  Pastor Jim’s message was based on Galatians 3  and James 2.  He reached into his Dr. Seuss library to illustrate God’s truth that we are all in one family, regardless of how we tend to see other’s as “us” and “them.”  God has offered salvation to all of His children.

The music and message were powerful, but so was the heat!  But with the auditorium doors open, electric fans churning, and hand fans waving, the heat was bearable.  And, free bottles of cold water are provided every week.  Part of the summer experience!

 

Music…

Evenings at the Pitman Camp Meeting always open with the loud gong of the tabernacle bell, followed by a hymn sing.  The hymnal, copyright in 1939,  is loaded with classics from the Camp Meeting era: positive and upbeat songs which inspire us to praise our God and to long for a closer relationship with Him. 

The “Host Church” (the year rotates through several local Methodist Churches), then provides some “special music.”  This music is different every week.  Sometimes it’s a full Praise Band; multiple guitars, drums, keyboards.  Sometimes it’s the simplicity of a ukulele (or 2 or 3).  Sometimes it’s a sololist.

But this week, the music was provided by our Voices in Praise Choir.  Most of the choir made the trip from our sanctuary’s chancel to the Grove Auditorium’s “stage.”  Before the sermon they sang two “choir pieces”:  “Majesty” and “Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone).”  

 

After the sermon they sang “Soar Like an Eagle”, and then wrapped things up after the benediction the “The Lord Bless You and Keep You.” 

 

There’s that Shirt Again!!!

OK.  Pastor Jim is now beginning his 5th year at PUMC, and he has consistently shown us that he likes to enjoy worship.  He likes to have fun; sometimes even to have fun with us.  Since joining PUMC, he has spoken at the Camp Meeting every summer (except for 2017 when he got called away to a last minute emergency).  It’s no coincidence that he has worn the same shirt to the Camp Meeting…..

 

Repordedly, when he was leaving the parsonage on this evening, his wife challenged him with the piercing question, “Are you going to wear THAT shirt again!?!”  Apparently, the answer was “yes….” 

 

 

But there is still room for some worship and serious preaching at a Camp Meeting Service!

Message…

Pastor Jim used a Dr. Seuss classic to illustrate a difficult subject.  The Dr. Suess book, “The Sneetches and other Stories,” teaches about diversity and compromise. Here’s a You Tube rendition of the book:

You can get rid of that annoying advertisment bar that covers up the subtitles. There’s a small “X” to close it in the upper right hand corner of the box… look closely.

More recent twists on the same theme came in 1991 when Rodney King said, “Can’t we all just get along?”  Or as Sister Sledge sang in 1979, “We Are Family!

But you don’t have to go to pop culture to see God’s vision of Family.  Pastor Jim lifted up two passages for his sermon- Galatians 3:28 and James 2:1-4.

Galatians 3:28 and James 2:1-4

Galatians 3:26-29

26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on the character of Christ, like putting on new clothes.

28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.

James 2:1-4

1 My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?

2 For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes.

3 If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well,

4 doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?

Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

 

Below is an audio recording of the message.  Click the “Play” button and follow along….

 

Here are some of the points Pastor Jim made during the message…

 

Jesus’ prayer in John 17 tells us that we are ONE. 

There’s no separation between the Father and the Son.  And since we’re created in God’s image, God expects that there will be no separation between His children either.  How can we draw people to Christ when we (the Church) can’t even get along with each other?

James says that we shouldn’t show favoritism. 

And yet, we’ve created so many fault lines of “Us” and “Them” that we’ve lost focus on the only thing that really matters:  Jesus Christ.  If we could just hang on to that most important thing, all of the other man made issues would go away.  All people are one, equal In Christ. 

Galatians 3 says that we’re all Family.

All of us are related to Abraham; not just the Jews.  God has always reached out to the Gentiles.  He even sent one of His prophets (Jonah) to Ninevah.  Ninevah was the capital of the Assyrian empire.  It worshiped idols and it was one of the most evil cities on earth.  And yet, God reached out to even them.  Revelation 5:9 tells us that Jesus died to save people of “every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”

 

We Have a Lot of Important Things in Common…

Yes- God has given us diversity in areas such as race, gifts, talents, etc.  But we tack on man-made divisions which tend to pit us against one another.  Despite these divisions, we can hang on to the things that God has given to all of us.  We have much in common:

  1. Creation– We are all part of God’s creation.
  2. God’s Call– God calls all of us (Noah wasn’t Jewish. Abram was from Babylon…)
  3. Sin–  From road rage to murder, sin is always evident around us.
  4. Jesus– It’s never too late.  God loves us through Jesus in spite of our sin.

The Sneeetches realized that they already had all they needed.  All they needed was each other.  Whether or not they had a star on their belly made no difference.  Like them, may we realize that “We Are Family.”

 

 

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For more info about the Pitman Camp Meeting:       Camp Meeting  

For additional sermons:                                                  Sermons

 

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