SERMON TITLE: “Ask”
SERMON TEXT: James 3:13 – 4:3 and Mark 9:30-37
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: September 19, 2021, at First UMC
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been thinking about the tens of thousands of Afghani refugees who are coming to the United States. An article on Thursday indicated that about 49,000 such Afghanis are now living on military bases within our U.S. borders. Another 18,000 or so are on U.S. bases in other countries like Germany, where they will await eventual approval to come here.* Many of the Afghanis know some English because they assisted with U.S. military operations. But still, can you imagine what a huge culture shock it’s going to be for those men, women, and children who are coming here? Can you imagine how many questions they have about processing their documents, whether or not they will be accepted, where they will be resettled, and what their new life will be like?
For their sakes, I hope the Afghanis are given some instruction in an emotionally-safe environment in which they can feel free to ask whatever questions they have. As we all know from our own experience, a person doesn’t have to be moving half way around the world to a completely different culture to have concerns about when, where, how, or even if it’s appropriate to ask a question. At some times in our lives, I bet every one of us has been in a situation where we wanted to ask a question but hoped someone else would ask it for us. Or maybe we felt so confused or ignorant that we didn’t know where to begin. We didn’t even know what we needed to ask.
The scriptures that we read last Sunday dealt with the issue of taming the tongue, of being careful what we say. Today’s scripture readings from Mark and James deal with another communication concern, the issue of asking questions. The disciples were afraid to ask what was on their minds, and I don’t think Jesus wanted them to feel that way. So let’s take a closer look at these two scriptures and see why and how we can feel free to ask.