Strawberry Social 2024 5/20/2024

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SATURDAY at 6:00 p.m. ~~~ "30@6" - A Casual 30-minute Service in our Social Hall

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the Presbyterian Church of Coraopolis

To everyone who has faith or needs it, who lives in hope or would gladly do so, whose character is glorified by the love of God or marred by the love of self; to those who pray and those who do not, who mourn and are weary or who rejoice and are strong; to everyone, in the name of Him who was lifted up to draw all people unto Himself, this Church offers a door of entry and a place of worship, saying ‘Welcome Home’!

The Sacrament of Holy Communion

SATURDAY, June 8, 2024

SUNDAY, June 9, 2024

The latest Sermon

"Bust-Out Love" 4/21/2024

by Pastor Dean Byrom

The N.A.A.C.P. and the Anti-Defamation League are trying to pre-empt hate. The N.A.A.C.P. and the Anti-Defamation League own the domain names for offensive websites. Owning these Web sites is just one way that some are trying to fight hate across our country - a task, says one civil rights leader, that’s like “chasing cockroaches.”

 Perhaps you’ve chased cockroaches yourself! I vividly remember living for three school years in an old tumble-down fraternity house during the 1960’s. Whenever you’d flip on the light at night in the kitchen the cockroaches would scatter - clicky, ticky, clicky tick. Slipper-footed you’d scramble, try to crush them, - kill one! You would invite them into roach traps, but they would refuse. 

Cockroaches are clever and crafty. They’ve survived for millions of years, and it’s said, not even a thermo-nuclear explosion can wipe them out. 

And we have about as good a chance of eradicating hate as we do destroying cockroaches. 

Jesus urges us to try, however. Love will prevail ultimately - over hate. But hate is a here-and-now fact, Jesus indicates that the only way to put the hurt on hate is with love. 

Online, one can find thousands of Web sites constantly spewing hatred and it spills over into our cities, communities and neighborhoods. Groups like the N.A.A.C.P., the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center and others are standing between our children and the community cockroaches, between the sheep and the wolves, between us and the hate - mongers. They stand against folks like the K.K.K., the Aryan Nation and Christian Identity. 

 The church, this church, should take a back seat to no one in resisting evil. The vision of the shepherd provides a model, and the way Jesus explained it, there are two types of shepherds: those who own the sheep and those who don’t. 

The ones who don’t - the hired hands - aren’t committed. They can’t be trusted in times of danger. They aren’t invested in sheep. Hireling shepherds, at the first sign of trouble, the first glimpse of wolves, likely throw down their crooks, hitch up their robes and run lickety-split in the opposite direction, leaving the sheep utterly without protection. 

Is that the kind of shepherd you want to have standing watch over you? Is that the kind of shepherd that you want to be? Is that the kind of shepherd who Jesus is? 

What kind of church would Coraopolis Presbyterian be if you were to turn your backs on those who are weak, threatened or in danger? 

The good shepherd is committed, is invested in the sheep, has a deep sense of ownership of the little ones, and stands between the wolf and the flock with her crook raised, feet solidly planted, eyes sharp, ears listening - all body, soul and mind - at the ready. He’s ready to fight if necessary, even to die if need be, out of love for the sheep - not out of hate for the wolf.  

Today we, too, as we model the Good Shepherd - must, as part of our Christian call, be willing to stand in between the hate mongers and the powerless. We must love and sacrifice, protect the weak, the isolated, the stranger and the alien. 

Shepherding isn’t a passive job for the faithful. It takes guts and savvy, alertness and action. Maybe there aren’t any known hate mongers here in Coraopolis or in the neighborhood where you live who are defacing churches or synagogues, spouting “hate speech”. But hate is always plentiful.  

What about the local bully? Who stands up to him or her? What about the cruel teaser? The name - caller? The gossip? The human predator? The racist? liar? The verbal abuser? The violent husband or wife? The gay-basher? Who will stand up to “stand between?” 

There was no one standing between for Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the middleweight boxer in 1966, when he was wrongfully convicted of a triple murder and sentenced to three life terms. 

No doubt about it, Carter was a troubled youth bouncing in and out of jail. But in 1961, he started boxing and became known for his rapid - fire pugilistic style. 

Carter was convicted of the Paterson, New Jersey, bar slayings because of false testimony fueled by hatred, bigotry and racism.  

A few years after he was thrown into prison he wrote a book, “The 16th Round”, an autobiography which created a lot of media buzz and grabbed the attention of Bob Dylan who wrote his 1975 song “Hurricane”, a development which made Carter famous worldwide. But it wasn’t until 1988 when he was 50 that Carter won his release. 

Dylan’s song is lengthy and includes details of the case. He doesn’t mince words: 

“All of Rubin’s cards were marked in advance.

The trial was a pig-circus, he never had a chance.

The judge made Rubin’s witnesses drunkards from the slums.

To the white folks who watched he was a revolutionary bum,

And to the black folks he was just a crazy n……

No one doubted that he pulled the trigger.

And though they could not produce the gun,

The D.A. said he was the one

Who did the deed

And the all-white jury agreed.” 

In the film “Hurricane” (directed by Norman Jewison), Carter is played by Denzel Washington. Near the end of the movie, Washington says to a visitor in the prison. “Hate put me in here, but love is going to bust me out.” 

“That’s the story of the Hurricane,

But it won’t be over till they clear his name

And give him back the time he’s done.

Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a-been

The champion of the world.” 

Love is a bust-out weapon. Use it, and you’ll be a champion. A winner. A Christian. The sort of stand - up shepherd that Jesus was - laying down His life for the sheep.