Pohutukawa Coast Presbyterian Church
Clevedon Presbyterian Church
Kawakawa Bay
Clevedon Kidz

Walk Across the Room

June 20, 2021
Mark Chapman

Titus 3:1-11  Remind your people ……. not to speak evil of anyone, but to be peaceful and friendly, and always to show a gentle attitude toward everyone.  (3)  For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, and wrong. We were slaves to passions and pleasures of all kinds. We spent our lives in malice and envy; others hated us and we hated them. (4)  But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour was revealed, (5)  he saved us. It was not because of any good deeds that we ourselves had done, but because of his own mercy that he saved us, through the Holy Spirit, who gives us new birth and new life by washing us.  (6) God poured out the Holy Spirit abundantly on us through Jesus Christ our Saviour, (7)  so that by his grace we might be put right with God and come into possession of the eternal life we hope for.  (8)  This is a true saying. I want you to give special emphasis to these matters, so that those who believe in God may be concerned with giving their time to doing good deeds, which are good and useful for everyone.  (9)  But avoid stupid arguments, long lists of ancestors, quarrels, and fights about the Law. They are useless and worthless

Matthew 9:9-13 Jesus left that place, and as he walked along, he saw a tax collector, named Matthew, sitting in his office. He said to him, "Follow me." Matthew got up and followed him.  (10)  While Jesus was having a meal in Matthew's house, many tax collectors and other outcasts came and joined Jesus and his disciples at the table.  (11)  Some Pharisees saw this and asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with such people?" (12)  Jesus heard them and answered, "People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick.  (13)  Go and find out what is meant by the scripture that says: 'It is kindness that I want, not animal sacrifices.' I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts."


Walk Across the Room

June 20 2021


May the Words of my mouth and thoughts of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight,

O Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen


There is a longing in

a wounded world for belonging

for friendship

for over coming division.

In short we want to be loved

we want to know that someone cares

and when we know that, our health

mental emotional, spiritual doesn’t just change

it improves.


And let’s face it

there is so much fear

so much


so much division

so much so that we need communities of Grace like this.


Communities where when we become a part of, they

will reach out and include

and welcome

and embrace.


And yes as we have learned what we eat is so important

and so is what eats us.


And the thing I’ve met so often in the church

is the need to be right!

I have the truth

and when you have it

then you’re on my side,

and we are the true Christians.


And as crazy as it is, we can easily slip into that kind of


And we can get our ecclesiastical – or church knickers into a real twist.

I call it, majoring in the minors.


And while we major in the minors,

people drowning in despair and meaninglessness are

getting lost and some are giving up.


There are debates over how baptism should take place and by whom and at what age;

over women’s leadership in the church.

There was even a debate in the medieval church about,

if a mouse ate communion bread crumbs, would it then be a member of the church.

Seriously important stuff.


And it seems we’ve always been like that.

That‘s why Pail writes and says avoid stupid arguments, and fights about how to

interpret the Bible. They are useless and worthless.

That’s a novel idea!


Then he writes: be concerned with giving your time to doing good deeds, which are

good and useful for everyone.

Debates cause division; good deeds, bring about hope and reconciliation– huge

benefits in many ways.


Here’s a good deed that involves relationships.


As I said at the beginning we crave belonging

we want to know we are cared for

by someone.


And it’s not simply a mechanical kind of caring

it’s not just supplying a need.

You hear someone is hungry and you dropped them off a food parcel.

That’s kind and helpful, but it is not enough.

They are cold so you pay their power bill

that’s kind and helpful

but it’s not enough.

Neither fills the internal longing for home

for welcome

for acceptance

for love.


An experiment allegedly carried out by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick IIin the 13th century saw newborn babies taken from their mothers and raised without human interaction in an attempt to determine if there was a natural language that they might demonstrate once their voices matured.

It is claimed he was seeking to discover what language they would speak naturally. The experiment was recorded: "foster-mothers and nurses were to suckle and bathe and wash the children, but in no ways to cuddle or speak with them; But, says the recorder  of the experiment, he laboured in vain, for the children could not live without clapping of the hands, and gestures, and gladness of countenance, and words and cuddles.


It wasn’t enough to keep the babies warm and clean and fed –

they all died – for want of touch and intimacy.


I tell you this story

because it is apropos even to this day.

As humans, you and I, we have been created for

loving words and intimacy and touch.

We need to be embraced in safe and caring ways.


So what’s the good deed I want to speak of?


Picture Matthew in today’s reading sitting at his tax office

working for the Romans

hated by everyone as a collaborator.

Getting a cut from the taxes – becoming rich.


He has it all except maybe the love of people who care.

When people come to his office

he sees their disdain

and hate and probably returns in like.


The apostle Paul wrote: Before we knew Jesus, others hated us and we hated them.


So there is Matthew and he see this Rabbi approaching him

all other Rabbis would have avoided him

Jesus doesn’t.


He is walking with his disciples

his group

his safety zone where everyone is comfortable

and he leaves them

and walks across to Matthew’s tax office, the zone of the unknown.


Here’s the thing

when we leave our comfort zone

when we for the moment say to the group we are with,

excuse me for a minute,

and we walk across the room

to this other person

it can be scary, right?


What will I say

what will they do

especially if it’s a group.


It’s the unknown.

Will they like me

want to welcome me

want to talk to me

accept my invitation?


What if they say thanks, but no thanks!

And so Jesus, and this is the pure confidence and love

we see in the nature of Jesus,

doesn’t have these qualms that you and I might have.


Maybe what he sees is a lonely man?

Maybe what he sees is a man lost in so much anger

and frustration

and fear

and Jesus heart goes out to him.


And says to Matthew – Follow me. And Matthew does.

He is saying

I want you to be my disciple and walk in my dust

and learn from me just how loved and special you are.

And about this God who loves you despite what these people say.


The actual Greek says:

“Come, have a coffee with me and the boys – we’d like you to join us.”

Right there in the Greek!

And Matthew saying, “Ahh I have a better idea

Come to my place

I do the best coffee in town!


Whatever, from that brief invitation, suddenly the word gets around

and Matthew’s house is full!

The Bible says:  While Jesus was having a meal in Matthew's house, many tax collectors and other outcasts came and joined Jesus and his disciples at the table.  Someone starts texting, and all of a sudden

everyone turns up!

That was one reaction – the other reaction was:

Some Pharisees saw this and asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with

such people?"  


Like they don’t even go to church!


I do this, Jesus is replying,

Maybe because they are lost

and maybe because

they need to know

that the pain in their lives is spiritual.

A pain from being away from their true home in God.


I eat with such people because they need to know they are loved.

So I walked across the room and said, Hi, my name is Jesus, join me!


You and I will find ourselves in such places and such times

and in some God moment

our gaze will be lifted away from the group we are with,

our cell phone, whatever

and that person will be there

and there will be an invitation to walk across the room

walk out of your comfort zone

to the zone of the unknown

and say – “Hi my name’s ….I saw you and wanted to say hi.”

Would you like to join me for a coffee.


Sure I know if your English

you can’t speak to another person before your introduced

but hey .. what’s the worst that can happen.


You know when a person comes to a church for the first time

they may have never been to a church before

or even if they have,

some statistic geeks have worked out how long they will wait for someone to say hello

before they exit. It’s a very short period of time

because nothing can hurt more than not being discovered

and welcomed when you so want to be.


This week there will be people who will hope that you will see them and walk across the room.


You will be a blessing and God will bless you.


Now unto God the Father, God the Son and God, the holy Spirit, be all the honour and

glory, world without end. Amen

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