Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sermon: Hunger and Thirst

Hunger and Thirst

          Hey! Hey you. You thirst for clean good water, drink freely!
          Hey! Hey you. You hunger, eat your fill, have a sumptuous meal, free of charge.
          Hey! Hey you. You are worn and tired, find rest, abide at the bosom of God.
          Hey! Hey you. You are isolated from those you love and those you hate—God will gather you together.

           Let us pray
          I look out and see,
a society that has cleaved itself into little enclaves. Sunday is often the most racially segregated hour in America, even whole towns and neighborhoods have separated out, and not just racially,
but these days you are more likely to live next to someone who:
looks like you,
and thinks like you,
and votes like you,
and spends money like you, than every before.
          It’s easy to believe the other guy is evil or an idiot, when you’ve never even met him.
          Why do we divide ourselves when our hearts yearn for unity?

          I peer out and see,
a bunch of stressed out people. You are strapped for time and killing time—at the same time.
Multi-tasking until you’ve cheapened every task and made them all unimportant. Shouldering activity after activity, until you are squished and it all means nothing.
You rush from your screen at work to a phone/TV/Computer screen at home.
          How have we managed to even make rest into a chore?

          I look out there and what do I see?
 People so hungry in the 3rd world that a flavoring for dirt is a big-ticket item—because then it can at least be swallowed and the belly filled. 
And before the rest of you get cocky, you better ask why there is essentially sawdust mixed into the meat of your fast food meals.
For that matter, I see kids on street corners looking out for cops for the local drug dealer, for a chicken box—risking arrest for two legs and a Styrofoam container of mashed potatoes, because their parents can’t afford to put food on the table.
I see too, people who demonize these hungry and ill-fed people, because it is an easier task than feeding them!
          Why do we choose the hungry belly over the full?

          I look out there and see,
oceans that will soon have more plastic waste than fish in them.
I see a town in Michigan where it took nearly 2 years for anyone to notice that 90,000 of its residents were being poisoned with Lead in their water.
          Why do we poison one of the main building blocks of life—water?

          Listen, sisters and brothers, lean close so that you can hear.
          There is a steam of living water that can make you clean, a clear brook that can quench your every thirst.
Being found baptized in the blood of the Lamb, drinking from the Well that is Jesus Christ.
If you drink of other streams,
if you are washed in other baths,
you will need to return to them,
but this water is forever and free.

          Listen, sisters and brothers, lean a little closer to make sure you can hear me.
          There is bread enough for all
—come to the table and eat of the bread of life and drink of the cup of salvation. Consume the meal that fills and satisfies and makes you what you are.

          Listen, family, turn up your hearing aid if you need to, what I say is important.
          St. Augustine writes: “We do not rest until we rest in him.”
There is a calm, a strong, spot of safety
—a holy timelessness that we can stand upon and be free.
In the face of all urgings and anxiety, we can lay our head upon the rock of Christ and simply be!

          Listen, all of you, wiggle your ears so that you can hear me.
          Whenever a line is drawn, whenever we separate ourselves from one another—Jesus will be on the other side of that line, he is with the excluded.
He goes to barriers and breaks them, he hears Samaritans are stigmatized and stands up for them. His welcoming arms are outstretched on the cross for everyone, even for you and for me!

          Seek the LORD while he may be found.
Call upon him while he is near.
Forsake deeds that are deadening and return from all of your unrighteous paths.
Return to the LORD, for God is merciful and full of abundant pardon
—God’s ways are bizarre to us, but thank God for them!
          Repent or perish, repent, and in so doing be fruitful, be fed, accept abundant life in God.

          Seek your neighbor that you might love him!
Find in him Christ hidden and revealed for you. Welcome one another into fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

          Seek that strong place in which to rest.
Find Sabbath, find the embracing peace that is both inside and outside of time. Be shaped by sacred time.

          Seek the bread that satisfies.
Find and eat of this free meal, and share it
—give as you’ve been given, respond to this kindness with kindness,
see that you are full and that you overflow, and pass it on.

          Seek the water of life, find it and drink of it and be made clean
—in the dryness of this weary world show them all the oasis that is here in Christ Jesus.

God’s ways are bizarre to us, but thank God for them!