Nu’uanu Baptist Church / June 2, 2021
When I was in college I took a philosophy course. In it we were required to read a book by a man named Martin Buber (1878–1965). The name of his book was called “I and Thou” (1923). I still have that book. Basically the book is about human relationships, contrasting two kinds of relationships, the relationship between I and “it” and I and “Thou”.
We often treat people as “its." They are treated as objects. For example: I am interested in you because you give me something or, I am nice to you because I have to be. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. We are all guilty of this. I would even say that is one of my worst sins.
I and “Thou” means we treat people as important in themselves, not for what we get from them. Martin Buber was Jewish and he talked about the importance of God in treating people as “Thou."
Jesus made it very clear that we are to treat people as “Thou”. We are to love them. All people are created in the image of God. All people are to be treated with dignity, not because they deserve it, we surely don’t, but because Jesus died for them.
Even as I write this, I am dealing with United Airlines about our upcoming trip. They are so hard to contact by phone. They tell me to not call until 72 hours before the flight, but I need help now. I am frustrated at the company, but I am dealing with people not responsible for my problem with them. When I finally am able to talk with someone I have to make sure I don’t treat them as an “it” and pour out my frustration on them. Do you see why this is one of my worst sins?
We, as Christians, are clearly told what we are to do. We are to love each other as Christ loved us. Are we to also love those who are not Christians? Look at Matthew 22:37-39 “He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important command. 39 The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Remember the neighbor from the parable of the Good Samaritan?
Actually, I wasn’t thinking about my worst sins when I chose to talk about “I and Thou." I was thinking about the Memorial Day fellowship yesterday. I saw a whole lot of “I and Thou." There were people that we met for the first time on Monday. I saw many people take the time to talk to these new folks and make them feel welcome, showing them love. Even when my granddaughter was shooting people with the water gun, people treated her with love. I didn’t see any “I and it."
Tertullian (160–225), a Roman theologian and Church Father wrote this:
‘Look,’ they say, ‘how they [Christians] love one another’ (for they themselves hate one another); ‘and how they are ready to die for each other’ (for they themselves are readier to kill each other). Apologeticus ch. 39, sect. 7
That’s the power of Jesus’ love.
Thank You to Pastor Johnny (for his leadership) and those that helped with the food, games, set up and clean up at our Memorial Day Picnic. The water bounce house was a great success for hours! And it was great to do our picnic on our church lawn and playground—something new coming out of the pandemic.
Pastors Away 2021 SBC Annual Meeting will be held in Nashville, so Pastor Johnny and Melanie will be away from June 11-17; Pastor Bob and Gail will add on vacation and be away June 7-25. They will also be busy attending the WMU Annual Meeting, Send Conference with NAMB and IMB, including pastors tracks and womenʻs tracks, and a Lifeway Breakfast. Pastor Chris will preach June 13, and Rev. Sean Lathrop, of HPBC, will preach on June 20.
Graduates this year are Malia Benn, Mnason Chan, Jayson Guo, Tani Kagesa, Alden Lai, Ashley Benn, Dylan Rico, and Justin Heppner. If you know of any others who are graduating or have graduated in the last year, please contact Pastor Chris immediately. A recognition service is being planned in July.
Flowers this Sunday will be presented by Carmen Tom. Thank you, Carmen.