The Fifth Sunday in Assembly Time
There is a difference between a believer and a disciple. A believer says there is a God who created the earth, He says since I believe in him that God will take care of me. All I need to do is to BELIEVE. I don’t know why people believe that. For in the Bible, Jesus says, even the demons believe in god. What he asks is that you obey him and follow in his footsteps.
There is work we have been given to do this year. During assembly time, we reflect on what we have been given this year, for what we have been given are the seeds we are asked to plant, to care for and to harvest in the year to come. That is the meaning of this season of assembly time.
I knew a man, a farmer, and he left his son for a month to plow his field so that he could plant when he came back and then he went away to buy seeds and fertilizer. He had in his mind that out of this year’s crop he would set aside money to send his son to college but he did not tell him that.
When he came back, he saw a tall white fence all around his farm – but when he looked at the field it had not been plowed. Why didn’t you plow the field he asked his son? I decided to build a fence instead. That way, people would think we were prosperous, because we had a nice fence. And perhaps some people would hire me to build fences for their houses.
The farmer was disappointed with the son. And the son felt rejected and hurt because his father did not appreciate the work he had done. The whole family was very sad. And things became worse because, when the father finally plowed the field, it was too late to plant the seed and they had no harvest that year.
I met a young woman who just joined the FuerZa yesterday. She is very young, in high school, but she is already five months pregnant.
Now, we teach that young people should wait to have children until they each know what they are doing in their lives and until they know each other better – because having children changes everything. Never the less, I admired her spirit, her commitment to raising this child and to still making something of her life. Her strong Spirit moved my heart and I truly believe that God is working and will work through her.
When God gives you children, he gives you work, work you will have to do. You will have to feed and care for that child, you will have to teach the child and help them to have faith – and you will have to defend them until they can defend themselves because it is a dangerous world out here
This is a lot of work but it is work that also brings great joy. It is not like working for a factory or a business that exploits you. It is God’s work and that is why you do it with love and find joy and satisfaction in it – although it is hard.
Sometimes we don’t want to do the work God gives us to do. Instead we want to do something that will gain us recognition in the world, something unique, something our own. We want to be successful, we want to have money. We want to have fame. We want to be special. And so, like the farmer’s son, we build a new fence instead of plowing the field.
We decide to be judged by the world, or by some people we are impressed with, instead of choosing to be judged by God. This ends badly in most cases.
Even when you achieve success in the world’s eyes, in someone else’s eyes, you will find that they don’t reward you with love. Maybe they are even jealous of you and want to tear you down. That is the way of this culture we live in.
We see young men every day trying to be successful, trying to be recognized in the world’s terms and they will shoot you down for nothing, just to show they are somebody – and then they will end up dead or in prison.
And we see young people jumping from one scheme to another to make money or be famous – without preparing themselves – and then they become bitter and confused.
And we see people jumping into relationships just to have a relationship, without a purpose and find them sad an unhappy because there is no real love there – and instead there is disrespect and abuse because the relationship is just to gain recognition in the world.
And this demon – the demon that makes you dependent on recognition and approval from the world – this demon also affects people later in their lives. They leave one job before they have a better one because they want success so bad they don’t think. They end up with no job and no place to live. Or they turn away from the responsibilities of their family, to drinking, or drugs or infidelity, to get recognition from their group – and all they get is a broken family.
God calls us to be patient, do what God asks you and you will find out who you are, who you can be, something unique, something fulfilling. God lays out a plan for you but you have to listen, you have to look, you have to consider the signs that God gives you. And of all the things God sets before you to do, the greatest is to be a disciple, to be someone who serves Him and His people. Just as he gives a mother a child to care for, to teach and to defend, God gives his disciples a whole people to care for, to teach and to defend. For in scripture it says, the greatest will be the servant of all.
How do we know what God is asking us to do? How did you get here – to this church? Something brought you here; something put you in touch with the struggle and the faith that is here. For here God has led us and given us signs and miracles – and each year, God has given us the fruits of a harvest, and from the Harvest, seeds that we are asked to plant in the year to come, to care for and to harvest again.
Here we come together as Families, as part of a people with a certain condition. We have learned that God has planted a people here from the south, just as he planted Joseph and the Israelites in Egypt and later brought them to Palestine, for a purpose. You or your parents or your Grandparents may have come, you thought, just so your family could survive and do well. But God brought so many families here, so many millions, and made them to grow here in such great numbers, that we see he had a purpose for these millions.
The injustice that you suffer from the greed and racism of this country is also the injustice, the condition, that you were planted here to change. For this nation has become arrogant and greedy and caused such great suffering and such great suffering throughout Latin America. This nation has chosen not to work for God but to establish a system of so called liberty where everyone works for their own glory, wealth and recognition.
That is what the young people are responding to in cities across this country: “Occupying Wall Street, or Oakland, or Chicago.” They are protesting the great inequalities between the 1% who grow richer and the 99% whose lives are falling apart.
The truth is that this nation could no longer live off the labor and wealth of other countries like China and Iran, Brazil and Venezuela – because the people of those countries took back control of their economies. And so things are falling apart. But the rich just kept coming up with more schemes to get even richer off the backs of the 99% and so the country is in trouble, deep trouble
And they have started a movement to blame “he Latino” for their problems. You hear about the Tea Party – but behind the Tea Party are some of the richest people in the world, people like the Coke brothers who are billionaires off the labor of coal miners. And they are mobilizing hate against you that we see with the deportations and separation of families, like we see with the denial of health care to our community, so that we die 20 years before we should, like we see when the future of young people is stolen away, when half of them are dropping out of school for the death of the streets.
But in the face of this injustice, the injustice you felt which brought you here to this church, God gave us a way to struggle, a way to defend our people, a way to raise up and unify our people, and here he calls for you to become disciples for his people. For the people he has planted here will be the force that changes this nation and bears witness to His Justice and His Way by its obedience to Him.
How do we know what God asks us to do? God gave us the task last year to struggle with Obama for a moratorium. And he gave us the victory we won in August. That is a sign that calls us to use what we have gained to defend our people from deportations and to show others how to do the same.
God gave us young people and young leader this year and he put it in their hearts to struggle – not just for themselves – but for all of their families, for all of their people, not just for their dreams, but against the nightmares their families faced. And that became one of the strongest most effective organizations of young people in the country last year. That is a sign, a sign that God is giving us work to do, to build this year an organization for young people that gives them a way to be disciples, to grow and to develop, to know God. And I believe that he will do something wonderful with that organization.
God gave us all the pieces and parts we needed for a health ministry and he gave us the vision to screen 10,000 people next year, to save lives and to show the nation that there are human beings who are being thrown away by the injustice of the greedy insurance companies.
And we have been called to expand outside the walls of this church. Look around you. Some are here from this neighborhood – but there are families from many places here. That is a sign from God. He asks us to form committees of five to ten families to defend the people and strengthen their faith in dozens of different communities. That is why he brought you here from different places.
You are here because God has called you here and God has given you work to do. He has said, “I am your creator, your judge and your redeemer. I brought you across the desert. I made you to have children. I saved you from jails and prisons and bullets on the street. I am your God and I have a purpose for you.
“As I give some of you children, so I give all of you my people. I call you to be my disciples. I ask you to plow the fields for planting of my people – don’t build a fence to show your neighbors. Do my work. Jesus says, “My yoke is light. My burden is easy.” When you do His work, you will leave the indecision and emptiness, the ungrateful responses and the disrespect of trying to be recognized by the world.
Be a disciple! Accept Jesus!
He is alive here and calling you!
He will do amazing things for you.
He will heal you!
He will join you together
And give you amazing love.
He will give you life in abundance.
Do His Work!
Serve His people!
Even in the darkness of oppression and racism He is the light of Truth calling you to follow – and wherever two or three of you gather together in His name, he will be with you always!
But for the wicked – there is no rest….