GPS: A Bible Study for Asbury's Worship
by Rev. Lee Johnson
september 19, 2021
38.993193 (Latitude). -94.647609 (Longitude). Does that mean anything to you? Those numbers are the exact GPS (Global Position System) coordinates used to locate Asbury United Methodist Church. GPS is an accurate worldwide navigational and survey facility based on the reception of signals from an array of satellites orbiting the earth at any given time. Want to know your exact location right now? Go to GPS coordinates, latitude and longitude with interactive Maps (gps-coordinates.net) and enter your address! It’s amazing. Today, GPS can track our every move. At the end of each month, my “phone” regularly reminds me where I have been that particular month, including how many miles I’ve walked. Recently, I drove to Colorado. Years past I would have packed my Rand McNally Map. Now, all you need for directions is the destination’s address and your phone. It’s amazingly accurate, right down to the last turn. Why GPS even changes the time, both on my phone and in my car, when crossing over into the Mountain Time Zone. This Sunday, a new sermon series begins at Asbury, and GPS will be part of it. Oh, we won’t be helping you position a geographical location. But we will help you better position your way each day. We’ll be using a trusted resource, used for thousands of years, to help people find their way around. How have you used GPS? Have you found it helpful? So, that trusted resource we’ll be using to help find our way? It’s the Bible. How might the Bible be like a modern-day GPS?
Today’s destination is 1 Corinthians 13, or better known now as “the Love Chapter.” Unlike how we use this chapter today, Paul did not write it more than 2,000 years ago to help people find their way to the marriage altar, where we often hear it read. Instead, Paul wrote it to the “Early Christian Church” in Corinth. Their “destination” was to find their way as first and second-generation Christians and help Paul build a new church. Unfortunately, they started arguing about the way. Some thought they were more aptly suited to help lead the way, possessing those unique and important gifts and talents needed for building a church, like knowledge, faith, and hope. Many apparently boasted about their talents, especially those who could interpret the language of “tongues.” Paul says put your boasting aside, calling it childlike. Yes, gifts like faith and hope are important. But they are nothing without love. That’s the way. That’s the key map-marker: love, Christian love rooted in a Christ-like forgiving and accepting love. Without it, we lose our way, no matter how good the map. With it, we find our way even it means going a different way. You might try putting 1 Corinthians 13 on your GPS this coming week. In this day of political maneuvering and boosting, especially in our own United Methodist Church as it approaches a General Conference next year, how might 1 Corinthians 13 help us better find our way?
One more thing about GPS. I find it interesting. Not only can it be used to help us find our way, but it can be used to help others find us. Today, someone can locate me, and you, primarily when our cell phone is on and with us. Remember, our cell phone depends upon orbiting satellites to operate. That’s how “it” knows how many miles I’ve walked each month. Okay, so while we can lose our way, God never loses track of us, even if our cell phones are in the off position. One of the ways God uses to not only find us, but claim us, is through those timeless scriptures. We read one of them today and we should be thankful. Have you ever lost track of God? What do you think about God never losing track of you?
1 Corinthians 13
Asbury's Weekend Worship: https://www.visitasbury.org/worship/
Beginning Sunday, September 19 at 11:00 am for Live-Stream, or 5:00 pm for Recorded Worship
“The greatest of these is Love.”