And the Cock Crowed…

Holy Wednesday’s Service was a great success. Looking forward to Good Friday Service on at 7:00 pm this Friday at First United Methodist Church of San Saba, and Sunrise service at the Gilger place at 6:30 Sunday Morning. Text for today’s sermon is Luke 22:54-62.

And the Cock Crowed…

Bethany Presbyterian Church was a nice suburban church with a newly built sanctuary and a handbell choir. They’d built their new building towards the outskirts of town, so they’d be well situated to grow as the city grew. The only problem was the neighbors. On the parking lot side of the church was an adult video store, which made giving directions to the church a little embarrassing (It’s on the right just past the highway. You won’t see it til you’re right up on it. You know what, just head towards the Megaplex sign, it’s right there.) But everyone said that that was the smaller of their neighbor problems.

The real problem was their neighbor on the other side of the church. It was a little old country farm, raising sheep and chickens and goats. But they’d built their barn right up on the fence line, just a stone’s throw from the stained glass windows on the east side of the church. And these barnyard animals would call out right at the most inconvenient times. For example, just last week, it was raining, and so the sheep were penned up in the barn. And those sheep bleated all through Reverend Hightower’s sermon on the Good Shepherd.

And then there was the rooster. There was this one rooster, a Yellow-legged Hatch cock that liked to perch up on the fence and crow at the most inappropriate times.

At a session meeting a few weeks ago, for example. A homeless person had been found sleeping in the sanctuary, and they were discussing what to do. People had a lot of questions. How did he get in? Should we limit the number of people who have keys? Or maybe install a security system? What can we do to make sure we feel safe here? The question no one asked? How can we serve him?

 

And right at that moment the cock crowed…

 

This past summer, a young family had moved to town and started visiting the church in June. By August, the church treasurer had asked them if they’d consider filling out a pledge card. The church education chair had asked them if they’d be interested in teaching Sunday School for the high school kids. The pastor asked them if they would be willing to come in on their day off to clear all the old furniture out of the library. And the young woman had asked her husband, “You said that when you go to church, all your burdens are lifted. How come everyone here wants to put burdens on me?

 

And the cock crowed…

 

Another time, a woman showed up for services one Sunday. She was about twenty minutes late. Her clothes were ragged, there was alcohol on her breath, she clearly hadn’t showered in weeks. When she stepped up to the greeter, the greeter looked her up and down and said, “You look lost. Are you sure you aren’t supposed to be somewhere else?”

 

And right there in church, in the middle of the moment of silence, the cock crowed…

 

You would think with this cock crowing all the time, the people of the congregation would do something about it. They’d remember what this place is for, that the sanctuary is just that, a sanctuary from the world that beats us down, and that when we are lost and broken and in need of someone to hold us, the church is exactly where we should be. That people who come into our church aren’t here to serve our needs, we’re here to serve theirs.

Well, eventually the church did do something about it. And finally, the chief pastor and the leaders of the church got together once and for all to deal with the rooster problem. And you know what they did? They hired someone to kill the rooster.

Part of the story this week, is about someone who came into the world, and cried out against its injustice, and held up a mirror to our own sinfulness, and offered us a new path, of humility and servitude. And we killed him. And we come together every year to tell ourselves this story, to remind ourselves that this is our tendency. When someone challenges our comfortable lives, we’d rather ignore them than change. When we get called out for our wrongs, we tend to shoot the messenger instead of reflect and repent of our sinfulness.

But we also tell this story because the ending of the story isn’t the one we wrote for it or the one we deserve. In the end of the story, the voice we thought we had silenced rings out from an empty tomb. The cock crowed as the sun rose on Easter morning, and Christ was raised from the dead. God’s grace is deeper than our pettiness, and God’s love is stronger than our desire to hide. So as you go out this week I invite you to live out God’s ending to this story, so that when the cock crows it is the dawn of resurrection for you, and not for the night of betrayal that came before.

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About Drew

I'm the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in San Saba, TX. I love camping, rhetorical criticism, and church food. I'm passionate about God's love, and the messy, beautiful ways it shows itself in our communities every day.
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