Mark's Memos

What's It Worth?

January 27, 2019

Who can put a value on the Word of God? Well, Maruzen Company Ltd. of Tokyo did.  In 1987 they paid $5.2 million for a Bible. But it wasn't just an ordinary Bible.

It was a Gutenberg Bible printed in 1455, in Mainz, Germany.  And it was sold at auction on October 22, 1987.  The amount paid, $5.1 million, was more than twice the record price ever paid for a printed book.  But that particular Bible is one of only 48 remaining Bibles of the 185 Bibles believed to have been printed, at least partly printed, by Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press.  The previous record price for a printed book sold at auction was $2.2 million.  It was another Gutenberg Bible and it was sold in 1978.

So, how much do we really value the words from this most holy of books, the Bible?  FYI the value of the same Guttenberg sold in 1987 is now estimated at 25-35 million dollars. But imagine how incredible it must have been to first read God’s words and hold them in their hands over 500 years ago. Is there a pricetag we could put on that experience? Let’s talk about the real value of God’s word in our times.

 

How would we respond if we could not read the Bible, or have it read to us, for 50 years?  How would we respond when we first heard those words for that most holy book again?  This Sunday we will explore these questions and others in the sermon. 

Please join with me as we explore what it means to have a heart for the Word of God together in worship this Sunday!

 

Grace & Peace,

Mark

Hearts For Thriving

January 20, 2019

When Mahatma Gandhi was living in South Africa, he once tried to attend a worship service at an Anglican cathedral.  It was at a time in his life when Ghandi was very much open to the Christian faith and giving serious consideration to the role that Jesus should play in his life.  Shortly after he took his seat in the sanctuary, one of the ushers at the cathedral came over to Gandhi and whispered in his ear that colored people were not allowed to worship in that particular church.  Not only did this keep the great Indian leader from becoming a Christian, it also had far-flung social ramifications.  Commenting on the event years later, Gandhi said, "That poor usher.  He thought he was ushering a colored man out of a church when, in reality, he was ushering India out of the British Empire."

How often do we really consider how our actions might effect others?  We would be well served to remember that all humanity is connected like a spider’s web.  Our actions and reactions do effect others.  So, it is important for us to consider how we use the gifts that God has given to us for others or against others.  I hope you will join me on this Sunday as we look at how we are called since our hearts are for thriving to make a difference for Christ in our world.

 

Grace & Peace,

Mark

Hearts Marked

by Baptism

January 13, 2019

"My mother used to tell me the story of what happened at my baptism.  The little church, with its priest, was the only one for the whole district, which consisted of several villages.  The birth rate for the area was quite high, but even so the baptismal service was held only once a month.  Consequently, that day was a busy one for the priest, and the church was filled to bursting with parents, babies, relatives, and friends. The baptism was conducted in the most primitive fashion: There was a tub full of holy liquid, water seasoned with something or other, in which each baby was completely immersed.  The squalling infant was then baptised and given a name, which was entered in the parish register.  And of course, as was the custom in villages all over Russia, the parents offered the priest a glass of home-brewed beer, moonshine, or vodka--whatever they could afford.

Since my turn did not come until the afternoon, the priest, having drunk many toasts, could barely stand.  When my mother, Klavdia Vasilievna, and my father, Nikolai Ignatievich, handed me to him, the priest dropped me into the tub and, being drawn into an argument with a member of the congregation, forgot to take me out.  At first, my parents, who were standing at some distance from the baptismal font, didn't know what had happened.  When they finally realized what was going on, my mother screamed, leapt forward, and fished me out from somewhere at the bottom of the tub.

They then shook the water out of me.  The priest was not particularly worried.  He said, Well, if he can survive such an ordeal, it means he's a good, tough lad--and I name him Boris."

 

This is the story Boris Yeltsin, the first President of Russia, tells in the book "Against the Grain." 

 

This Sunday we celebrate the Baptism of Our Lord in worship, and we begin a new sermon series titled Hearts 4.  It seems only appropriate that we begin by wrestling with what happens to our hearts in baptism, since from our baptism we engage in life differently and begin our journey of discipleship.  Through this series we will be discovering what our hearts are 4 as the heart of Christ engages us for this adventure called discipleship. 

 

See you in church Sunday!

 

Grace & Peace,

Mark

Rev. Mark Jardine is the Senior Pastor at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church. Born and raised in Bartlesville, he is a graduate of Oklahoma City University and hold his Master in Divinity from the Candler School of Theology of Emory University.
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