Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sermon – July 27, 2008

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Funerals – in the midst of grief – God is present
The hearts of the Covenant (that special relationship we have with God)


Let me tell you about myself
I am an ordained minister
19 years now
I’ve studied Theology, Scripture, Congregational Development
I’ve dedicated my life to God and the Church
You should thing very highly on me. (Tongue in Cheek)

But when it comes to prayer:
I’m terrible at it
I’ve studied it, even taught it, but:
I’m terrible at it
And today, I’m even going to preach about it:
But First:
This sermon is not about guilt
If you feel guilty at the end of this sermon then you didn’t hear it right
Or I didn’t say it right
This is a sermon about hope
Hope that is based in the real circumstances of life
For that is where God chooses to meet us
Not on mountain tops
Not when everything is going well
And we are happy and healthy
God chooses to meet us in the hubbub of life
When we’re busy, tired
When the bills are due
When the kids are sick and the homework needs to be done
and the dishes are pilling up

Do you have trouble with prayer?
Not enough time
Not enough will
Not enough know-how
Not enough faith
Well Jesus has a parable for you:
The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed – read weed –
that someone took and sowed in his field – read, you don’t sow weeds –
it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.- read that it is out of control

You don’t need much time (to pray)
You don’t need much will
You don’t need much know-how
You don’t need much faith

Faith is going to grow (in you)
Just pray and not worry about getting it right
Even if your prayer is like a weed
Romans - Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.
God helps us in our feeble, weed-like prayer
It’s up to God to get it right
We just have to try
Just try

So, Jesus told them another parable:
The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.
What you do need to do – is try.
God provides the yeast
God provides the flour
God provides the water
God provides the leaven
God makes it grow
We provide the kneading
We knead to pray – read that both ways -

So, why bother?
Two reasons:
‘Cause you want to.

Second reason just happens to be answered in a parable:
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
There will be joy
Prayer bring us the joy of knowing God
The One who created us
The One who loves us
The One who risks it all for us

Okay, so we want to pray, we want a relationship with God
But, do we really? I mean really?
A parable:
The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
It’s worth it
Spending time with God is worth every effort
In fact, it’s worth a lifetime of searching

Okay, okay, so it’s worth it, but what difference does it make?
So what?
A Parable:
The kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad.
What we do matters to God
There are consequences to our action
There are consequences to our inaction
But this parable is not a warning
It is a message of hope
It is God who judges
The One who created us
The One who loves us
The One who risks it all for us
…God is the One who judges.

The is a lesson to be learned from the fish
Highly intelligent creatures
Very smart
After all, they live in schools (Sorry)

When it comes to prayer
We all get it wrong
But that’s okay, it’s God’s job to get it right
We just need to admit that we need prayer
And then to just do it
It worth it

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