WALTZ UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Jesus loves you
and we want to get to know you.
Welcome, and thank you for visiting Waltz United Methodist Church online, or in gathered worship. We hope that our website highlights the worship, fellowship, and service opportunities available.
We worship in a traditional style, in traditional hymns, and preaching from the Bible.
Please feel free to read more about our church on this site, or come in for a visit. We would love to greet you and share with you our love for Jesus Christ and for you, our neighbor.
Our mission is to be fully devoted to Jesus by opening our arms to those in search of the truth. All are welcome.
We show God’s love and concern for our fellow man at every opportunity. Through works of charity and opening our doors to listen and love, we feel that we are walking in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
Our traditional Worship Service resumes Jan 1 at 9:30 AM.
If you haven't visited us yet, know that you will be a stranger for only about 2 minutes - after that you're family. All are welcome!
Our services are livestreamed. Your can also worship with us on our Facebook page (Walttz United Methodist Church.)
We celebrate Communion on the first Sunday of each month.
Contact us: 7465 Egypt Rd
Phone: (330) 722-1015
Pastor Les is continuing his regular office time, on Wednesdays 9-12 AM, You may call his cell phone to make an appointment if you have a special need
Altar Cross at our outdoor Worship Service
(Thanks for the photo, Eric)
April 9 Easter 7:00 AM SonRise Service
9:30 AM Easter Worship Service
April 22 Saturday 10:00 AM Church Conference vote to decide on matter of disaffiliation
We welcome Ed Gugliucci to our membership as a transfer from Brecksville UMC with a gift of a Prayer Shawl made by our Prayer Shawl Ministry knitters,
Special Prayer Needs:
Prayers for Barbara Rak's brother, Robert Spieth, whose home was badly damaged in Naples, Fl from Hurricane Ian. Robert suffered a cut while evacuating from chest high flood waters that led to a bacterial blood infection. He is being treated with antibiotics hoping to save his leg.
Pastor's Corner: I will be publishing the weekly Sermon Notes here that correspond to the Sunday Sermon available on our Facebook page (Waltzumc Church)
Sermon: A Feast of Wisdom
Intro: We continue our Lenten study of the Gospel of Luke, with our daily readings this week covering chapters 10 through 14. Since in these chapters, many of Jesus’ teachings are given over dinners, or related to banquets, I’ve called today’s lesson, A Feast of Wisdom.
I. I. Deuteronomy 6:1-12
A. Last week, we focused on Jesus’ mountaintop meeting with Moses and Elijah, and discussing Moses’ and Elijah’s appearance as the Two Witnesses in the Book of Revelation, extending a final call of mercy to unbelievers, just before Jesus’ return to earth. We saw that in his lifetime, Moses, symbolic of the Law, had only been able to take Israel to the brink of the Promised Land, symbolic of Heaven. But Joshua, or Jeshua in Hebrew, meaning the Deliverer, would take them from there into the Promised Land, just as Jesus, a name also derived from Jeshua, the Messiah or Deliverer, would be the One able to lead us into the Promised Land of Eternal Life in Heaven. The Law disciplines us, prepares us for Jesus’ arrival, but the Law cannot take us into heaven, only Jesus can. Jesus doesn’t set aside the Law, He fulfills it as He leads us into our eternal home in Heaven.
B. In today’s OT lesson, Moses is preparing Israel to enter the land promised by covenant to Israel through Abraham, his son Isaac, his son Jacob and down through the line of descendants that would one day include King David, and the King of Kings, Jesus. Moses doesn’t cite specific laws, but rather addresses the basis of the Law, To Love the Lord thy God with all your heart, soul, and strength. Abraham’s several million descendants about to enter the land promised to them centuries before proves God’s Great Faithfulness that we sang about in our opening hymn. The Law’s individual commands tell people how to love God, and to love God by loving others. That’s the Law as brief and as concise as it gets. Jesus’s earthly ministry expanded these basics, teaching and modeling such concepts by His about such love.
II. Luke 10:25-37 The Parable of the Good Samaritan
A. If you were to choose any of Jesus’ teachings that best summarize God’s love for you, which would you choose? Many would choose John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.” God’s love for us. But we might then choose Jesus’ Parable of the Good Samaritan from our Gospel Lesson to exemplify showing God’s love to others. In His parable, a Jewish traveler has been beaten and robbed on the road to Jericho. Left in that condition, under the hot sun, he’d soon die. The thief on the cross next to Jesus probably wasn’t just convicted as a thief, but having left his victim to die, may have led to his capital punishment.
B. But what about the priest who saw the man lying there, dying, and passed by on the other side? He may have been too busy to stop, or he just didn’t care. Or the Levite, from the tribe tasked with matters of the Temple, such as religious law, who also passed him by. He knew the law that touching a corpse, if he assumed the man was dead, or simply
touching blood from his wounds, would make him ceremonially unclean, requiring him to go through a ritual of purification. He may have passed by to avoid becoming unclean, while ignoring the Law’s deeper requirements of mercy, justice, and love. Both had seriously violated God’s Law by their failure to love the injured man. Jesus later harshly criticizes a Pharisee for being so careful to observe ceremonial laws but failing to observe the spirit of the law, which He compared to washing the outside of a cup while the inside remained dirty. The priest and the Levite were so concerned with outer appearances that they failed to comply with what really mattered in God’s Law… a love of God in their hearts, expressed by loving others.
C. But along comes a Samaritan, the half Jews who the “pure” Jews hated and judged. To be fair, Samaritans also hated the judgmental ‘pure’ Jews. This mutual hatred had gone on for centuries, so the Samaritan would have had no motive for helping this Jewish enemy. Instead, he mercifully stops to tend his wounds, give him water, and takes him to an inn, probably saving his life.
D. Yes, this was a story, a teaching parable, not a just an example of a merciful act. It’s a story meant to be applied to many other situations. Teaching about who our neighbors are; not just those we know, or those acceptable to us, and therefore acceptable to God. The expert in the law in Jesus’ audience correctly identified a neighbor as ‘the one who showed mercy’. So the parable isn’t just about stopping to help someone in need, which can be a dangerous practice in today’s world. It’s about showing mercy to others. Mercy according to God’s law of love, whether that neighbor wears the customary dress of another religion, dressed as in drag, or appears homeless. The question is how, not if, we can help.
E. Jesus’ lived and modeled the Law of Love. He healed many, each time showing His mercy and compassion, as well as His Father’s love. Not just to Jews, but for the Samaritan leper, or the disgraced Samaritan woman at the well, or the servant of the Roman centurion. He healed the daughter of the woman from Syria, who humbly said she would even accept scraps from God’s table of blessings. And Jesus loved that woman, granting healing of her daughter because of her faith. How much faith in Jesus could this foreign woman, who had never met Jesus, have had? She may have heard of Jesus’ healing powers and came to find him, but is that faith?
F. When Jesus encountered the father whose son was tormented by an evil spirit that would throw him into fires, the man confessed, “I believe, help thou my unbelief”, yet Jesus healed the man’s son. How much faith are we seeing? We might find an answer in Luke 13, in the well known parable of the Mustard Seed. The mustard seed is a very small seed, about 6/100 of an inch. But the tree it produces can grow 20-30 feet high with branches and leaves spanning 20 feet in diameter. The magnificence of the tree is not in its height but in the branches spanning to house many animals. The point Jesus makes is that no matter the amount of one’s faith, it’s what we do with that faith that matters most. If that tiny seed is planted and allowed to grow, its importance is not in how much more it reaches to heaven than others, but that it becomes a tree whose branches reach out to benefit God’s other creations. The foreign woman and the boy’s father may have had limited faith, but they used their faith to come to Jesus with their need…their love for others. And Jesus was able to use that faith to accomplish miracles.
G. By contrast, Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool, who had already been blessed with bountiful harvests. He felt blessed by God, evidenced by his expanding wealth. But it seems more likely he assumed God’s favor on his work, actually his servants’ work, to plant and harvest crops, but it doesn’t appear that he has any particular love for God by his lack of thankfulness. And he shows no love for others, not even for his workers, by his unwillingness to share with them. As he dines, celebrating his wealth, he decides to build bigger barns to hold all his future harvest. But God calls him a fool, for that very night the man would stand before God in judgement, and be held accountable for his failure to love God and to love others.
H. In addition to these teachings, Jesus also provided a great number of teachings centered around dinners and even banquets. Several weeks ago, we saw the tax collector Matthew, having accepted Jesus’ call to discipleship, hosting a banquet in Jesus’ honor. Matthew’s only friends were also tax collectors and therefore outcasts of normal society. But Jesus was there, dining with them, showing unconditional love for others. When Jesus called Zaccheus down from the tree to have dinner with him, Zaccheus was so honored that Jesus would have dinner with him, an outcast, a sinner, that his life was transformed, showing his love for Jesus by pledging half of his possessions to the poor, and repaying four times over to those he’d cheated.
I. Mealtimes in Jewish culture were times of sharing, a time of showing hospitality to others. The Shabbat, the Sabbath meal often shared with family, friends, and invited guests, was a shared time of honoring God’s gift of rest, a time of being grateful for God’s blessings. It wasn’t a time you could mess up by wrong protocols, because it was just a time of sharing and loving one another and being together.
J. And that’s the way we’ve been seeing Jesus sharing any meal he has with others on the Sabbath or during the week… at the homes of Matthew or Zaccheus, or with Mary and Martha, or even with the hostile Pharisees. Chapter 14 actually begins at a Shabbat meal at a prominent Pharisee’s home, along with several other religious leaders who knew the words of the laws, but not their proper meanings. One particular person, known to be suffering from a disease characterized by an accumulation of bodily fluids, is there, specifically invited to see if Jesus would dare to heal him on the Sabbath. They violate the Sabbath Shabbat by their intent to trap Jesus rather than share with Him, but they believe Jesus is the wrongdoer by healing on the Sabbath. Jesus exposes their lack of understanding by showing they would work to rescue an animal fallen into a ditch on the Sabbath, but deny this man healing, which took no work on Jesus’ part. They placed more value on an animal than a suffering fellow man. And they obviously had no love for God’s Son.
K. Compare this with Jesus having a dinner at the home of Mary and Martha, two evidently close friends of Jesus. Martha is a Type A personality, ensuring everything is just right. Mary sits at Jesus’ feet, absorbing all of Jesus’ teachings. When Martha complains that Mary isn’t helping, Jesus tells her those details aren’t as important as hearing what He has to say, like Mary. Both love Jesus, but show it in different ways, although Mary’s way shows her love more directly. L. Jesus turns things around by telling of a man who threw a great banquet for his honored guests. The host goes to great lengths to prepare the meal that will honor his guests. When the banquet is ready for his guests to come, they return his favor with lame excuses. One had bought some land that he needed to inspect. Another had bought five teams of oxen that he needed to test. Another had just got married, and well, you know how it is. The host is furious that his special friends would treat him so disrespectfully, and tells his servants to bring those who would appreciate such a fine banquet and invite them in.
M. God’s intended banquet had initially been planned for Israel. God had made them His special nation through which He would fulfill his prophecies of a Savior. Jesus had come to fulfill God’s sacred covenant with Abraham way back in Genesis 12, “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” God had been grooming Israel to be His message of salvation to the world. He had made them a great nation, blessing those who had blessed them as allies in their history, and cursed those who had cursed them, like Egypt, or the Canaanites they battled in the promised land.
M. But as a nation, Israel had turned its back on Jesus. They would insist Rome crucify Him. But His death and Resurrection was His invitation for all humankind to come to His banquet feast, an invitation that the disciples, and later evangelists like Paul were called to take to the world. Writers, like Luke, would record and spread the gospel news to people like you and me, who in turn are invited to His banquet, as well as to be His witnesses. People who know and love our God with all our heart, all our souls, all our strength.
Conclusion: God calls us to His banquet of Love, a feast for all. With placemats inscribed with His wisdom from His Word for us to spiritually digest. May those who hunger and thirst for His righteous be filled at His banquet feast of wisdom. Amen