Every February people all over the United States gather to watch the Academy Awards . . . a night celebrating the year in film, and a night to honor the most outstanding achievements of the past year.

Two of the most coveted Oscars handed out on that night are the prizes for best actor and best actress.  Over the past 5 years, these awards have gone to:

  • 2018 – Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
  • 2017 – Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour), Frances McDormand (3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)
  • 2016 –   Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Emma Stone (La La Land)
  • 2015 – Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Brie Larson (Room)
  • 2014 – Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

These roles represent a lot of variety in genre and personality . . . but each of these roles share something in common.  All 10 of these Oscars were awarded to people who were not playing themselves.  Gary Oldman won the award for playing Winston Churchill not himself.  Emma Stone won for playing Mia Dolan, not Emma Stone.  Now, you may be saying, “Of course!!!!  It is an award for ACTING, not BEING!”  In fact the bigger the gap between the actor’s native persona and the character they play, the greater the acting job (see Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking as exhibit “A”.)

Now I say that, because in this Sunday’s Scripture passage (Matthew 23:1-12), Jesus confronts the Pharisees and Scribes of His day and says they are merely ACTING like God’s children.  Jesus sees a big gap between what these religious leaders were saying and doing, and who they really were on the inside.  Far from giving them an award, Jesus was calling these hypocrites out for judgment.  They may have received the support of the academy of their peers, but God saw past the show . . . and was not impressed.

Can you and I relate to this story?  Do we talk a better “game” than we live?  Do we put on a show at Bible study and church that is better than we really are?  And if so . . . so what?  And if we want to change . . . how do we change?  And what HOPE does Jesus provide in the midst of this all (HINT:  A LOT OF HOPE!!!)

These are just some of the things we will be looking at as we tackle part 3 of our “Authentic” sermon series this Sunday at Wildwood.  Hope to see you in our 9:45 or 11:00 service.  Join us for worship, the Lord’s Supper, community, and a deep dive into God’s Word.  See you Sunday!

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