Luthermatrix

The blog of a lutheran pastor, writer, and political animal.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Holy Communion Sermon



Holy Communion, the 2nd of the two sacraments of the Lutheran Church.
          Holy Communion, where we recall the saving acts of God through Word, Bread, and Wine.
          Holy Communion, which connects us with Christ and with Christians from every time and place.
          Holy Communion, where we are fed with the Body and Blood of Christ.
         
          It seems like such a simple thing, eating together every week, yet it is worth pondering for a moment or two, asking the questions:
What is Holy Communion?
What are its benefits?
How does it happen?
And how should we prepare?
          Let us pray

What is Holy Communion?
          It is the true body of Christ and blood of Christ attached to the bread and wine with God’s Word.
          It is an action commanded by Christ—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul all are aware that this is something Jesus tells us to do.
If Christ commands it of us, who are we to disobey?
          Communion is a gift God give to us Christians. Some people, for one reason or another, abstain from communion.
Why shun a gift from God?
          Perhaps you do not feel good enough to receive communion?
Not Holy Enough?
Well, John records that Judas ate from Jesus’ very hand… you’re at least as good as ol’ Judas right?
After all, just as Churches are hospitals for sinners, not museums for saints,
isn’t communion medicine for the sin sick soul?



What are its benefits?
          Communion is no small thing
within this meal we share together,
within this weak sign of bread and wine,
 razor thin crackers and thimbles just filled
—we are told of our salvation—told about that night, in which he was handed over.
—we receive the very bread of life, the flesh of Jesus Christ, within which there is eternal life!
—we physically ingest God’s forgiveness.


How does this happen?
Now, when Luther was explaining Holy Communion, he was doing so while faced with two different understandings of the Lord’s Supper which both rely on Logic instead of Faith.

          In the first case, Luther is standing against a Medieval Roman Catholic understandings of the Lord’s Supper, which rely on the science of the time, Aristotelian Logic, in order to explain what happens during communion.
          Jesus is in Holy Communion because logic dictates he is. Luther responds, “No, Jesus is there, because he promises to be there.”
          In the second case, Luther is standing against other protestant reformers like the French John Calvin and Swiss Huldrich Zwingli. They too, he felt, clung to logic instead of faith.
          When they debated with Luther about the Lord’s Supper they clung to a literal understanding of scripture—specifically that Jesus is at the Right Hand of the Father… which to them meant Jesus clearly couldn’t show up in bread and wine here on earth, because he was up in heaven.
          Luther countered that The Right Hand is a Hebrew way of saying strength or power, and so the Traditional understanding of that power involves the ubiquity of Christ
—at essence, ubiquity means Jesus isn’t bound to any one place.
          For example, if you read the end of several of the Gospels, Jesus walks through walls, shows up on the road to Emmaus, and so on. So clearly he’s not stuck on a cloud somewhere, clearly he can show up in bread and wine if he promises he is going to show up there… here.
          So convinced was Luther of the real presence that he met with Zwingli in Malburg and they went round after round for days and days about the real presence and Luther began to etch into the table they sat at “Est ist est.” That is “Is means Is.”
          As we read in the 1st letter to the Corinthians today “this IS my body” and “this IS my blood.”
         
          To be clear, we receive Christ’s body and blood through faith.
We trust his words to be true. We trust that when Jesus promises to be somewhere he’ll be there, because he doesn’t lie. When he RSVPs to this meal, he shows up.
His words, his promise, echo forth from 1st century Jerusalem to 21st century Jersey.
          The words “for you,” are not an abstract you.
Not a disinterested you.
But you, in that very moment! Jesus for you!
 For you today.
For you in all your peculiarities. For you at this very moment, just as you are!

How should we prepare?
          There are many spiritual calisthenics people practice surrounding Communion.
Some refrain from eating until they’ve partaken in communion.
Some break wafers on their tongues to remind themselves they are complicit in Jesus’ crucifixion.
Some refrain from chewing on the wafer out of respect for the body of Christ.
Some read the passion story on Sunday morning before going to Church.
Some go out and feed the hungry on Saturday night.
What matters in all of these things is that the spiritual practices you do surrounding Holy Communion help you to trust more fully Jesus’ promise to meet you in the Meal.

Siblings of the faith,
Jesus commands us to come to communion,
where he promises to meet and feed us,
forgive us and save us,
Jesus is trustworthy and his words are true!
A+A

Labels:

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sermon: Baptism

  Megan, Tyler, Hunter, Shaun and Justin, today you will affirm your Baptism.
          You will confirm that trust in the promises of God found in your Baptism,
that you want to continue to walk the walk of faith
—following after Jesus our Lord as a disciple.
          Before we get there, it’s worth remembering what this whole baptism thing is and is about.
          And so, we’ll continue on in our sermon series here, our review of the Small Catechism, continuing to consider the basics of our faith, consider
“What is Baptism,
Why is it important,
How does it work,
and So what?

Prayer

What is Baptism?
          Baptism is one of our two sacraments in the Lutheran tradition. A sacrament being a physical thing
commanded by Christ,
that conveys God’s promise.
          Think of that,
a thing Jesus tells us to do!
“Baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Wow! We ought to do it!
          Think of that, as well
—a physical thing.
A physical thing in a world filled with physical things that threaten us, demean us, demand from us
—in the face of all that, a physical thing that calls you God’s child! Cooling water that washes away all those physical things that distress!
          You’re heard me describe my no good rotten really bad week before (Bullet, Knife, crowbar)—that’s why we need the physicality of the sacraments!
          Yes, physical grace ordered and guaranteed by Christ.

Why is Baptism important?
          In it we die with Christ and rise with him.
We are born again.
We become adopted into God’s family.
          When parents come to me and ask me if I’ll “do” their kid
—Baptize them… they say it like it’s a casual thing
—I want to reply:
—You are asking me to ritually kill your kid, and bring them back to life
—take them through the blood and guts of birth again
—connect them with a new family!
Man, that’s intense!
That’s baptism!

How does Baptism work?
          Don’t be fooled for even a minute that the water is what does all of this. As Luther says in his Large Catechism “Water is just water, my dog could drink it.”
          Similarly, it’s not the holiness or sanctity of the person doing the baptism, thank God.
        
         In fact, one early church father, a Desert Monk, went so far as to say Baptism works even if it is done by a Pagan, who uses sand.
          Because
—because Baptism is God’s act, not mine.
God’s washing, not the water’s.

Luther’s theological imagination takes him back to the very first chapter of the book of Genesis, and notes that God creates out of nothing
there is simply the Breath of God and God speaks, which creates something from the depths of Chaos
—the Tohu vaBohu in the Hebrew!
         So too, in Baptism the Breath of God, the Spirit,
         and God speaking, the Word of God,
create something new,
creates a new creature out of the old.
Creates a Christian.

So what?
          Well, confirmands, what does this mean for you all? What are you affirming today?
         
          We are empowered by the Holy Spirit to follow after Jesus, wherever he may go.
          To be his disciple,
          We are Baptized, to quote Paul, “so we too might walk in newness of life.”

This is not an easy task,
not an easy identity.
          The baptized life, “walking wet,” is tough.
          A daily way of life.
          An ongoing struggle.
         
Living among God’s faithful people,
          partaking in the sacraments,
          proclaiming God’s good news in word and deed,
          serving all people,
          striving for justice and peace in all the world.
That’s the calling you are confirming, affirming, saying yes to!

          This Baptismal calling isn’t done in a day, it is the work of a lifetime.
          This Baptismal life isn’t done alone, the five of you are doing this together,
          You have adults who have generously walking with you through this whole two-year process of confirmation.
          You are full members of this community here, St. Stephen, who are here for you.
          You are accompanied by the Triune God, in whose name you were baptized. The Spirit, who makes you holy, the Son, who has redeemed you, and the Father, who created you.
          Megan, Tyler, Hunter, Shaun, and Justin, may God bless you on this your Confirmation day and throughout the joyous struggle of your baptismal life.
A+A

Labels:

Sunday, May 01, 2016

The Creed Sermon

         It’s interesting, you know you’ve preached a law based sermon when people squirm around in their seats as you preach and spouses give one another knowing looks from the pews, and then as you interact with congregants throughout the week and they wonder aloud at the fact that they are sinners.
         And this is as it should be. We’ve been chastened by the Ten Commandments.
We’ve recognized that our thoughts, words, and deeds are not innocent. That, in fact, all is not well with the world or with our soul.
         But, neither the Small Catechism nor I is going to leave you stranded there. We’ve seen that our actions are for not… and now we get to see what God’s actions are.
We get to hear what God does for us, and gives to us!
Upon that empty space the Commandments have cleared, we can place the works of the Triune God.

         At the most basic level, if for example, your child asked you “who is this God of ours”, or “what does our God do?” You would respond:
God the Father is my Creator. God the Son is my Redeemer. God the Holy Spirit is making me Holy.

Prayer

         When we talk about God the Father as Creator, it is so easy to give ourselves whiplash. To look back, into the past, to some idealized moment of creation…
in fact, that’s one of those fruitless fights Christians have waged ostensibly against science, for hundreds of years and for no particularly good reason.
In fact, in so doing we’re answering the wrong question and looking in the wrong place.
We’re answering the wrong question
—God’s creative nature is not bound up in the question of how. How God acted
not wedded to a pre-modern flat plate shaped earth with windows that let in water and pillars upon which this plate sits… that’s a pre-modern science, a common ancient answer to the question how, not particularly unique to the bible, but unique to the time when the bible was written!
         Instead, the proper questions for us to ask about God the creator are who and why?        Who has created us
and why, for what reason are we created?
When you compare the accounts of creation in Genesis to those of its contemporaries while asking the who and why questions the point of this bit of poetry becomes poignant!
Who? This Creator is one who creates with the powerful, yet gentle, word, not through volatile acts of violence.
Why? This Creator creates for companionship and for good, not to enslave for service or to enmesh us in an icky and innately evil - creation.
         We also look in the wrong place for God the Creator—we look over our shoulder or in our rear-view mirror for the miracle of creation.
Yet, here we are
—God’s creation is here and is ongoing! Our atmosphere doesn’t spontaneously light on fire, gravity continues to work, solids don’t suddenly turn into a gaseous state. Tomorrow will follow today, and yesterday won’t sneak up on us and show up next week!

         For that matter, just as God’s creation is declared good it is worth remembering that all good things in creation
—this soup of life in which we live and move and have our being
are from God.
All good things in creation are from God.
Luther, being Luther, goes to his most basic thing—shoes.
Every time our
feet
hit
a sole
instead of
the ground
should be a reminder to us that God has provided generously for us!

         Both the possibilities
 Of: being deprived of shoes, or the world winking out of existence
—and any reality between these two,
should remind us on a basic level that we’re limited. That we’re critters and God is Creator.
         Yet, I’d imagine no one here,
myself included,
really believes this, at least not consistently.
After all,
would not this reality terrify us to the point of humility?
Would not this reality astonish us so greatly that we would constantly be thankful!

         When we talk about God the Son as Redeemer it is important to recognize that one of the great gifts that the Early Church gave us was their choice to not define too dogmatically the Atonement.
Atonement, being an English word created purely to describe how God makes us At-One with Him through Jesus Christ.
There are different descriptions that often fit different experiences of Christians at different eras.
We’re slaves to Satan / God pays that debt with Jesus.
We’re occupied by Sin, Death, and the Devil / Jesus defeats them and liberates us.
We’ve insulted God, the King of the Universe / Jesus’ death is a perfect sacrifice that repairs that insult.
We don’t know what a good human life would look like / Jesus lives such a life that we may do the same.
The punishment for sin is death / Jesus substitutes himself for us.

         In Luther’s case, he reminds us that Jesus is our redeemer. We’ve lost our way and been condemned for it. More than that we’ve been captured as if in a battle, by sin, death, and the devil.
         Jesus crosses into enemy territory and buys us out of that captivity at the price of his precious life.
What he has done for us frees us from the deathly Kingdom and joins us to the Kingdom of God. We are now citizens of the Kingdom of God; adopted into the family of Jesus Christ.
Living in that family,
living in that Kingdom.
         While we were yet sinners, God chose to redeem us through Christ. We are saved by this gracious act.

         As for the Spirit, who makes us Holy,
She does it to us through faith.       We’ve already been redeemed/
the Spirit makes us believe it! God is already for us/
The Spirit let’s us trust it to be true!
The Spirit creates faith.
         The Spirit uses particular things to create belief and make us Holy.
         The Spirit uses the Word of God: scripture and preaching.
         The Spirit uses the Sacraments: Baptism and Holy Communion.
         The Spirit uses forgiveness: Declared in the service and experienced in our life together.
         The Spirit gathers all these Holy Making things together in communities of grace—by that I mean “The Church.”
But let’s be clear, the Spirit doesn’t use a building
—the Spirit uses a people!!!
A people cultivating graciousness with Word, Sacrament, and Forgiveness.
The Spirit working to make plain the grace of God.
Community struggling to make this real in each other’s lives. Living into this already offered redemption by Jesus Christ!
        
         Here me well though, I purposely use the word struggling!
         ‘Cause we ain’t saints yet!
We’ll never be rid of the tension of becoming holy, as long as our flesh hangs upon us
—never Holy this side of the Jordon.
         Individually, we’re Justified by Christ’s works, yet still Sinners.
         Collectively, in these Communities of Grace, we’re a mixed body, saints and sinners stumbling forward, held aloft, and together, by the Spirit alone!
         That’s why the work of the Spirit found in God’s community, the Church, is ongoing.
         Daily renewal of our minds, bodies, and hearts by the Spirit, is found among us.
         Daily receiving of that Grace already freely given.
         Daily remembering full redemption through:
Community,
Forgiveness,
Sacrament,
and Word.

         You will find on the back of the yellow prayer cards Luther’s morning prayer. As we wake each morning this week, let’s pray it, marking ourselves with a sign of our God
 Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit.

God the Father is my Creator. God the Son is my Redeemer. God the Holy Spirit is making me Holy.
A+A

Labels:

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sermon: The 10 Commandments

The 10 Commandments

         I think I’ve told you all before the apocryphal story about how Luther wrote his Small Catechism.
         It is said that he did so as a response to his young son Hans, who continued asked the question “What is this?” From Luther’s wrestling with passing on the Faith to his son, he created a resource,
simple, compact, and packed-full of the faith of the Lutheran Reformation.
Any idiot can write thousands of pages of systematic theology using technical words borrowed from Aristotelian Philosophy or Platonic thought, but to teach the faith in 6 pages or so in such a way even a child can begin to grasp what you mean—that’s a real theologian.
         Yes, this little document is filled full of the faith, and can serve us our whole life long.
         In fact, Luther was so sure of his Catechism, that he encouraged extended families to read through it devotionally, daily.
In addition, he insisted that four times a year churches ought to review it together for the entire day.
         Well, upon reviewing our last 60 years, there doesn’t appear to be a history of us doing such a thing.
         In fact, the sad truth is most Lutherans have not examined the Small Catechism since either their confirmation or that of their youngest child. It’s a shame, most everything you need to know about the faith is right there.
Yes, things quickly get more complex, our initial answers turn into bigger questions—but it’s all there!
         So, for the next 6 weeks in my preaching, in our Bible Studies, and in our private devotional practices, we’ll be focused on Luther’s Small Catechism, starting today with Luther’s Explanation of the 10 Commandments.

Prayer

         Luther interprets the 10 commandments in light of Jesus’ framing of the greatest commandment
Love God, Love Neighbor.
Each command begins with an exploration of how the command stops us from committing idolatry—the worship of a false god.
Then, it goes on and expands on how the command helps us to love our neighbor, by expanding the Thou Shall Not, and adding to it with a Thou Shall!

You shall have no other gods before me.
         It all stands or falls here. All the shall and shall nots,
all our actions,
are measured by the simple question “How are they a response to God’s freely given gift of life to us?” How ought the creature respond to the creator?

         “No other gods” may seem like a relic of an ancient time
—unless you take the time to reflect upon those things which you have made into idols.
Unless you ask the questions:
“What do I fear?
What do I respect above all things?
When the stuff hits the fan, when I’m pressed between a rock and a hard place, where do I turn?”
Your answers to these questions, if the answer is not God… the answer is your idols!
         So, always cling to the faith that has been given to you
God has freed you to live life unafraid, trusting in Him, who loves you deeply.

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain
         There is a grave danger in simply speaking the name of God
—whenever a finite creature speaks of the infinite
—there is the danger of Idolatry,
of naming something created as creator.
         We might cloak a lie in God’s name. Hide our own sin under a cloud of piety.
         Yes, a dangerous thing to speak God’s name, for it might be done wrongly, and used in a way that dishonor’s God, attributing to God things that are not of God.
         To honor God’s name, we ought to call upon God in all times of need, and pray to God, and praise God with our lips and in our lives.

Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy
         Sabbath is about rest, liberation, and holiness.
         Sabbath ought to be a time good… for nothing. A time free from the rest of the week, a time marked off for rest.
         Sabbath is also about liberation—part of living into God’s holy time is spending time in acts of kindness and justice.
         Sabbath, finally, is holy in and of itself. Sabbath drags us into the reality of God through worship together, where we can cherish the promises of God.
         Sabbath forces us to come face to face with those things that keep us from rest, service of neighbor, and worship—these things we abandon Sabbath for are all idols, exposed by God’s holy time.

Honor your father and your mother
         It’s a very practical command—especially coming from Luther the Father. It is also one that once again attacks those idols that we put our fear, love, and trust in.
         It is from our parents and all those who raise us, that we learn what is dangerous and what is safe. It is from them that we establish, or don’t establish, a sense of love and trust.
         We’re little sponges as kids, and those things we sop up are our lifeblood for the rest of our lives—our basic fears, loves, and ability to trust, are established in childhood.
         Even as we pray that everyone honor authority figures, especially parents, we pray all the more than authority figures honor their awesome duties to all who are entrusted to them.

You shall not kill
         What would you kill for? That quite clearly is an idol, something for which you would be willing to main the image of God.
         Instead of killing, we should spend our days giving life to our neighbor—this, per Luther, is a full time job—doing the opposite of killing, being life giving—is a lifelong task.

You shall not commit adultery
         There are many relationships we have in life—our relationship with our spouse hopefully will be one of the deepest.
         Marriage is a place where trust is formed, or broken. If we cannot trust our spouse, who can we trust?
         Such a break can deform so many of our relationships, even our relationship with God.
         This is why we ought to honor those who struggle to love one another and trust one another with their whole lives.
Why we ought to support trust and trustworthiness in relationships.
Why we ought to build-up our neighbor’s marriages.

You shall not steal
         Luther was a little scary on this point—he states that if every thief were hung no human would be left on earth.
         Theft is not just knocking over a bank, it’s gaining other people’s things by nefarious means.
Tipping the scale when weighing a product,
selling inferior products or price gouging.
Not giving 100% at work,
not paying people enough to live on.
Buying things that cause the suffering of others.
         Before you know it, we are all truly at the gallows and faced with the fact that theft is ultimately
trusting, fearing, or loving things,
instead of loving people and loving God.
         We ought to protect the integrity of all our neighbor has, and work to better their livelihood.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
         Any claim we make against another person we should be willing to defend in the court of law, with the danger of libel and perjury pointed against us.
         Talking bad about a person is like pushing toothpaste out of a tube, easy enough to do, almost impossible to undo.
         I pray we may train our tongue to talk well of our neighbor, and defend them from all defamation, that we might interpret all they do in the best possible light.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house or household
         We might be able to squint at the first eight commandments and pretend that we’ve never broken a single one, but these last two push the breaking of commandments into our very hearts and imaginations.
-Have you coveted any of those things you did not steal?
-Have you wished someone dead who you did not kill?
-Have you lusted after someone’s spouse, but never acted on that impulse?
-Have you thought of dishonoring your parents, but kept quiet about it?
-Has a breach of the law crossed your mind or filled your heart with perverse hope?
         If so, there you go you covetous person you!

         You will be sent home today with a copy of Luther’s Small Catechism, as well as devotional related to Luther’s explanation of the 10 commandments written by a Lutheran pastor in Georgia.
I pray that they will help you to discern,
in the particularities and peculiarities of your own life,
those things, which separate you from God and neighbor,
and help you to discover ways of repairing those breaches.

God has freed you to live life unafraid, trusting in him who loves you, Jesus Christ our Lord.
A+A

Labels:

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sermon: Conversion and Abundance



There were three sons going back home for the 60th anniversary of their church in New Jersey.
        The first, was driving from Pennsylvania, and got as far as Minnesota before he stopped, and made a U-Turn.
        The second, was driving in from Chicago, was heading through Ohio, but took a wrong turn here and there, jagging north then south, each time he veered off course his GPS would say “Re-calculating.”
        The third, was driving from Virginia, and once he got off the Garden State Parkway, he had to pull over and look at his map to make sure he knew the particular place in New Jersey he was going.
        One made a U-turn, one had a GPS that consistently Re-calculated to keep him on track, and the third pulled over to ensure he got to his particular goal.
        One flipped directions, one got there in fits and starts, and the third just needed to focus on his goal.
        I tell this story, not to make sure you all show up a week from today to celebrate our anniversary and hear the Bishop, but in order to talk about the Flips, fits and starts, and focusing of conversion.
Prayer

        Flips, Fits and Starts, and Focusing. All, valid experiences of Conversion.

        Look at Paul, Mr. Conversion Extraordinaire, look at how he flips
—does a 180 degree turn.
        He was a very strict Jew
—a Fundamentalist we might call him today
—He knew his scripture,
he knew Deuteronomy 21:23,
he knew that those who die upon a tree are accursed,
yet these “Followers of the Way
--These Earliest Christians
were claiming a man who died on a cross
—on a tree
—was the Messiah,
was God’s Blessed One!
        He knew his Bible and he knew that was blasphemy,
was an abomination,
was a threat to the good order of faith!
        And he approved of the murder of St. Stephen,
and was using any authority he could find, and some ill gotten authority too more likely than not
 to fight against these liars,
these Christians,
these people on the Wrong Way.
        Seething mad he goes along the Way to Damascus
—and there,
poof,
he’s turned around,
within a couple of weeks he goes from persecution to preaching,
from declaring the Way to be blasphemy,
to following along the Way himself,
following after Jesus
—being his disciple!

        And this is good to remember—especially when you face those most recalcitrant of people,
folk who, to your eyes, are beyond redemption
—sometimes, now I’m not saying always
—but sometimes, they’re folk who are going to flip,
who God will turn around,
who will make a U-turn in life and find themselves as good as they once were bad,
wolves into lambs,
sinners into saints.
        For that matter, sometimes you too will find yourself on the wolf end of the stick,
and its good to know that the Good Shepherd can flip you around, even then!

       
Then there is Peter
—what a guy,
never a more back and forth, fits and starts, man than he,
“Don’t wash my feet Jesus!
…wash all of me.”
“You are the Messiah, the Son of God…
…Hold up now guy, who do you think you are saying the Messiah has got to be crucified… I don’t think you know what you’re doing Lord!”
And more to the point, today, “I’ll never deny you…
… woops, I denied you three times.”
Three times there by a charcoal fire, three times denied his discipleship.

        Seriously, this guy!
Every step a side step,
every time he takes a drive the GPS goes crazy recalculating.
        And today, there by the charcoal fire, this breakfast of fish
three times,
three times he affirms he’s Jesus’ disciple,
three times he says “I love you!” To Jesus.
        If Peter didn’t exist, we’d have had to make him up, because he’s all of us.
His kind of conversion, so often our own,
a daily return to Baptism,
a daily struggle to be faithful,
a daily reminder that we are children of God, even when we don’t feel like it.
Yes, us Sinner/Saints,
us Peter people.
Maybe not the fireworks of Paul, but a struggle still!

        Then there is brave Ananias, his conversion, an act of focusing. Like Mary, he doesn’t ask a Why question, but a How question
—how can I follow you
—how can I minister to this Paul character,
How when he wants to kill us?
Yet, he follows and goes where God calls him to go.
        God points him to a concrete needy nasty, warts and all person, and he goes.

        This too should be our question:
How can I be a faithful disciple in this particular time and this particular place
not generalities, but the particular personal ground upon which I stand?
What tasks will you callous my hands with O’ Lord?
This is so important—we can easily get lost in the clouds, or point too often to acts in the past, but now,
here,
how is God calling us?
How is God calling you?!?
Yes, sometimes conversion is about seeing more clearly and acting more particularly.

        Flips, Fits and Starts, and Focusing. All valid experiences of Conversion.
        Each of them is a way God acts in our life.
Each is part of the life of faith, all our lives.
We can’t denigrate those who’ve come so far to get where they are,
or dismiss those who struggle with the pull and tug of their heart and seem to stay in one place,
or allow the down in the dirt challenges of particulars to disappear from our midst!
        All of them, real experiences of God acting in our life!
        And ALSO, all of them are signs of God’s abundance!
        God’s abundance fueling the journey along the way,
and God’s abundance the goal of the journey!

        Those cars, making U-turns, Jagging back and forth Re-calculating, and idling while the map comes out of the glove box
—they’re all fueled by the desire to get to that anniversary.
        Those cars, their flipping, fits and starts, and focusing,
--For all of them, their goal? Arriving at that anniversary.

        Think about it
—Peter, fed an abundance of fish
—more than you should be able to catch in one go—
just as wine flowed at the Wedding of Cana at the start of John’s Gospel,
here at the end food of the sea falls like manna from heaven for him, for us!
        Think about it—
Paul and Ananias, by the end of their spiritual cat and mouse game, are fed with the fullness of their unlikely brotherhood,
—Healing, Baptism, Food, Community, Proclamation
—these things can feed you forever!
        And they’re all heading to the abundance that is the very presence of God!
All heading toward the Throne of God, where we’ll sing praises together as sister and brother, where we will dwell with our Risen Lord!
        The ends and the means of our conversion,
be we like Ananias, Peter, or Paul,
Faithful Focusing, Fits and Starts, or Flipping
Pulled over, Re-calculating, or making a U-turn
The ends and means are both God’s providence for us,
God’s very real presence with us through Christ our Lord!
A+A

Labels: