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The Passionate Jesus

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The Rev. Dr. Ozzie E. Smith, Jr. The Rev. Dr. Ozzie E. Smith, Jr.

The Rev. Dr. Ozzie E. Smith, Jr., is pastor of Covenant United Church of Christ, South Holland, IL. He is also a trustee of the Alliance for Christian Media.

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Covenant United Church of Christ, South Holland, IL


Dr. Ozzie Smith on this week's sermon, "Dealing with Mystery"

April 16, 2009

The Rev. Dr. Ozzie Smith provides a response to this week's Day1 sermon by the Rev. Dr. Laura Mendenhall, "Dealing with Mystery."

The Rev. Dr. Laura Mendenhall serves up a familiar text in a creative way. Thomas' grandson Trey, born with the family trait of demanding doubt, is priceless. The message stirs up the hymn, "He Touched Me," as the aged Thomas underscores that he no longer needed to touch Jesus. Jesus' coming back for Thomas in the midst of community, it seems, touched Thomas instead. That Jesus touched Thomas comes clear in this message about mystery.

The things we hold onto seem to have a limited shelf-life for our undivided attention. That Jesus' presence touches one seeking Jesus is the miracle and power of the gospel. A friend of mine shared about her search for Jesus and how frustrating that was. She finally experienced a breakthrough when her pastor preached that Jesus comes where and when "invited." Perhaps Thomas' demanding doubt proved to be the "invitation" that made touch unnecessary--Jesus' coming back among the believing others, touched him. It is no secret what God can do! Mystery is the intangible that can touch us in what Howard Thurman called the nerve centers of our consent.

This message stirred memories of Saturday evening porch conversations with my grandfather Albert who also passed on to me the touch of Jesus. Thanks Dr. Mendenhall for reminding us that doubt can be the door that beckons mystery. Thanks Day1 for the lift!

--Ozzie Smith


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