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Will You Stay With Us?

Sweetwater Recorder

By Ronald G. Currell

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church,

Jesus answered, "I will stay with you a while."

Jesus had returned to Judea and went down to Jerusalem for the Passover with His Disciples. He found many in the Temple who were carrying on business that made the worship of God inaccessible to many, so He was enraged and He cast them all out. The religious leaders challenged Him, "What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?" Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." This Messiah was no champion of the established order of things. He would raise up a new order.

Then, when Jesus heard that Herod had imprisoned John, He determined to return to Galilee. At that time, Jesus’ Disciples numbered four: the brothers Andrew and Simon Peter and Philip and Nathanael. They all left Judea for Galilee and Jesus hastened to continue His Great Ministry. But between Judea and Galilee lay a region called Samaria. As Jesus was walking across the length of this Samaria, He saw a people that His kinsmen called outcasts, the Samaritans. Jesus’ people called them dogs.

After a while, Jesus and His Disciples came to the ancient well that Jacob dug, and Jesus sent His followers into town for food. Soon, a woman came to Jacob’s well and drew water for her household. Then, against generations of tradition, He spoke to her, "Give Me a drink." With this simple statement, Jesus broke the dividing wall that hundreds of years had built. The dividing wall that separates peoples, genders, and classes was broken down. During their conversation, she spoke of the Messiah, as she understood him. And Jesus answered, "I who speak to you am he." This simple declaration began to broaden ages of teaching. She listened, as Jesus was saying, "… salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." So, The Messiah is for more than Jews only. The Messiah is for all. The Messiah is for her. She returned to town and quickly spread the word. And the town’s people came out hear Jesus, to hear this Messiah. And many believed. "Will you stay with us?" they asked. Jesus answered, "I will stay with you a while." And He did. And many more believed. Then, Jesus continued on to Galilee.

Going to the Samaritans, the unacceptable ones by the standards of Jesus’ people, was not a sidetrack. It was not a departure from Jesus’ Great Mission, as some suppose. Going to these "unworthies" with the Gospel and breaking down prejudicial walls was His Great Mission. This is the Great Mission He gives us.

Just as the people of Sweetwater need different Christian experiences, the various Christian Churches offer different expressions of the same faith. St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church offers a quiet, respectful hour dedicated to God every Sunday Morning at 11:00 AM, preceded by a thought-provoking Bible Class at 9:45, where we discuss intriguing passages from the Scriptures. Drop by some time. See us on the Internet and experience our online chapel at www.ststephens.net.

Please make plans to attend your Church-of-choice this coming Sunday.

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