Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sermon Ponderings - OT19B

This is just me sitting in my virtual coffee house throwing out random thoughts as I do research/prayer/thinking about this Sunday's sermon:

Working Title: Ready Position!

  • I like this slightly less spooky version of being prepared. Those passages where 2 are working in the field and one just disappears sounds like an M. Night Shyamalan plot to me. Next week's apocalypse and a passage in November pack a serious punch too. Those all have their merits to them and knowing me I won't shy away from them, but I do like this one where the reward for paying attention is a big feast with the master!
  • Any feast mention in the Bible reminds me of my Dad. The man would pull up at the end of a buffet table, using his walker that had a seat on it, so that when everyone else had finally filled their plates and were getting their drink they had to set their plates down to the man gulping down potato salad.
  • Do not be afraid, little flock, for it si your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. YAY!
  • Sell your possessions, and give alms.... Awww, MAN!
  • Two things from the Hebrews passage connect with my Luke thoughts here: First, the simple yet beautiful explanation of faith: Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction o things not seen.
  • And then: all of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. The passage lists Abraham and Sarah who certainly saw the promise of heirs fulfilled, but they did not see the promised land. Our faith is not be in this world, but in the God who created this world. Good theory but you cannot tell me the one time we hear about it is the only time Sarah laughed. Abraham and Sarah lived a hard, convoluted earthly kingdom life - and they were blessed!
  • How often do we allow our earthly kingdom worries to have the last word?
  • What is seen is not all that is.
  • Again the emphasis here is on being ready, but in order to receive the blessing.
  • Being ready means being open to God and the blessings that are to come.
  • Being open also means being vulnerable.... hmmmm, not sure I want to go there.
  • How do you feel as you watch the news? I have to turn it off. It's too gruesome. Our political climate is toxic. The body count in Afghanistan and Iraq is ever-rising and if they do come home they are not being treated well. And the horror headlines that the local news chooses to share are just heartbreaking. It seems if they can find something that happened to a child, they rush to say the words on the air. It's easy to feel that we live on the brink of disaster.
  • But instead we live on the brink of blessing.
  • Not sure I'll use the news ramble, it's an easy hook though. There is someone in our congregation who told us that when she doesn't like what or who she is seeing on the news she puts it on mute and prays for them.
  • Back to this 'be ready' vibe. No one can be perpetually on alert. It's impossible and in fact, if you try you will end up being the exact opposite.
  • I know in the early stages of sermon writing I am all about finding ANYTHING else to do other than my sermon, BUT once working on it I do reach points where I have to walk away. It is then, usually in the car or shower that the thoughts and the ideas will gel. If I had stayed hunkered over papers and laptop it never would have come.
  • So is this more about keeping ourselves open to God's surprises/blessings rather than being about being hyper-vigilant?
  • You can't be open and ready to receive God's blessings if your fists are clenched... if your eyes are shut... if your mind is closed.... if your heart is hardened....
  • Is life about taking? Or is it about giving and receiving?
  • Do I list some of the attitude.adjustments that folks might make. I usually like to leave things more open-ended than that. If I did though I might include: writing the first check to God, rather than what is leftover; create space for what is important - God, family, self; Prioritize what's important to God over what's important to the world.... Egh. Too preachy.

What the Sermon Aims to Say: We are on the brink of receiving a great blessing, but we must be ready to receive it.

What the Sermon Aims to Do: Encourage folks to open up - hands/arms/eyes/heart - to the blessings of God.

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