Rights to the Jesus Franchise

Temenos Stationary

Rights to  the Jesus Franchise

Lectionary Readings for Sunday, March 2, 2019:

Sirach 27:4-7, I Corinthians 15: 54-58 and

Luke 6:42: “How can you say to your brother or sister, ‘Brother, Sister, let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ when  you don’t see the log in your own eye? You deceive yourselves! First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s or sister’s eye.”

I have a friend who was a United Methodist minister. She is a lesbian, and when she came out, she was removed, and it was a painful, and brutal process, with her friends turning their backs on her. It reminds me of two teenage friends of mine who turn their backs on people literally when they are angry and walk away. What I do with them is I simply do not see them together. I get angry at their childishness.  It is the most immature act, and one we see in all of life.  In fact this is what is happening in  our political realm we turn our backs on each other, with nothing but criticism. If a person does not fit into our franchise we reject them, we talk about them, we turn our backs on them.

My friend was brutally hurt, but ultimately she realized she was not a part of that “franchise” of Jesus, and moved on and found her place in ministry in another denomination. One that is a “franchise” of Jesus that is open and affirming.  She remembers the pain, the pain, that ultimately transformed her life to one of compassion and commitment, and she has love for her former denomination and her prayers are  they will take the splinter out of their eye about queer people.

None of us have rights to the Jesus “Franchise”. Jesus told his disciples that whomever loved his or her neighbor was a part of his franchise. The franchise of Jesus is anyone who loves his or her neighbor–be they Atheist, Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, etc.

I have another friend who is told often that he is “different,” “unconventional”, “eccentric” when in reality in the words of David Vryho my friend  is following Jesus in a way he believes Jesus calls us to live:

“Jesus finds his kinship with those who do God’s will of loving his neighbor, even more compelling than his kinship to his own relatives. As a result he is considered “mad”, eccentric–and he certainly is! He is eccentric because his life revolves not around his natural family or even humankind in general, but around God and God’s purposes in the world. We often struggle to accomplish our own will, to realize our personal goals, but at the center of Jesus’ life is the desire to please and glorify God above all things. So, who’s off center? Jesus or us?”

We need to move out of our franchises into a world of meeting each other in the center, and love and respect our differences. John Records tells us that “If you open yourself to grace working through you, then grace works on you and in you as well. Grace is what has kept me going.”

And Fr.Nouwen sums it up best:

You Belong to God

“You are not what you do, although you do a lot. You are not what you have collected in terms of friendships and connections, although you might have many. You are not the popularity that you have received. You are not the success of your work. You are not what people say about you, whether they speak well or whether they speak poorly about you. All these things that keep you quite busy, quite occupied, and often quite preoccupied are not telling the truth about who you are. I am here to remind you in the name of God that you are the Beloved Daughters and Sons of God, and that God says to you, “I have called you from all eternity and you are engraved from all eternity in the palms of my hands. You are mine. You belong to me, and I love you with an everlasting love.”

Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164




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