Faithlife Sermons

Some Changes are In Order

Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  15:19
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Some changes seem to be in order. {The normal line is to please be seated, {But it seems that even here, {Some change is in order, {So allow me a moment to catch my breath} //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Though we may be inappropriately warping the themes Of today’s narratives, To fit a narrative, your preacher wishes to deliver. Let’s take that chance, for now. //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Our Old Testament Lesson starts with a change of king God has made it very clear to Samuel, That He has grown weary of Saul, The first king of Israel, Because Saul is not executing God’s will //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// The very first thing we hear today is a question from God “How long will you grieve over Saul? “I have rejected him from being King over Israel. “Fill your horn with oil and set out.” Continuing with Not God’s words, but mine, It seems God is saying, ‘I am about to make a change, ‘And I expect you to get on board with it.’ //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Our second very short reading Could also be seen within a spectrum of change. “Once you were in darkness,” Says Paul to the Ephesians, “But now in the Lord,” continues Paul, ‘A change has arrived,’ my words “You are the light,” continues Paul, ‘Embrace that change and get on board,’ me, “And live as children of light,” continues Paul. /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// The similarities with the first reading are quite striking If you walk into today’s lessons With a paradigm of change. Indeed, in both cases, God has acted, He has overturned the current situation ‘The earthly King Saul’ ‘The period of darkness’ And has instituted something new ‘A new earthly King: David’ ‘A period of light’ And God now expects his servants to get on board ‘Stop grieving the old King’ ‘Start “living as children of light.”’ /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Our Gospel Lesson can also be seen In a paradigm of change, If we desire to look at it in this manner. /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// The very first change is a change in attitude Regarding cause-al relationships about sin. //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Upon seeing a man blind from birth. Christ’s disciples ask, “Who sinned, the man or his parents” “That he was born blind?” Jesus, of course answers that “Neither the man nor his parents sinned, “He was born blind so that God’s works “Might be revealed in him.” It would be ridiculous to assume here that “The blind man never sinned, “Nor that the blind man’s parents never sinned,” What is being changed here, or maybe highlighted Is the age old adage from the Book of Job, That the situation that one is in Is not ALWAYS in direct relationship To the level of one’s sins or righteousness, In short that in Christ and in the Old Testament The prosperity Gospel is completely dead! We do not get good things because we are good We do not get bad things because we are evil What happens in our life happens For the glory of God. And attempting to use cause-al morality To examine a man’s blindness from birth Or to examine a pandemic now facing the earth Is pure and utter POPPYCOCK! //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Sin has entered the world, So, there is an element of causality to all calamities, Due to the original sin of Adam and Eve, The earth does grow thorns against us, But attempting to fix some individual calamity On the specific event of one or more people Is dangerous at best. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// We cannot of course here say that all things that happen Cannot be fixed to some causal event, If one picks up a pencil and gouges one’s eye out, The reason that person is then blind, Is because they stupidly gouged out their eye If we fail to obey the lawful orders of our Governor And of our President, And fail to adequately quarantine ourselves We are likely to get sick or To get others around us sick. //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// You might note a bit of a change of tone From your own pastor here. Hopefully everyone hears this change of tone, Because the change is quite real. //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Thank you to a few brave parishioners Who have pointed out a couple things about my actions, In the last week or two. 1. That some of my constant messaging might be seen as desperate, NOT calming, and as a need for you to minister to me. 2. That coming up with schemes to circumvent the message to stay at home, might be counter-productive. //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Hopefully there might be a moment to change My own attitude about this crisis which is before us all “To stop grieving Saul” or the life we once had, “To stop attempting to live by the old way,” By finding loopholes to open the church more often There IS still need for prayer, Yet we must accept the new opportunity To live as a light within our new reality ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// A reality where we might very well be locked down For a quite some time; A reality where some things will probably change, Even dramatically; A reality where, even in the shock of not being able To employ our usual tactic of cause and effect To order our world in our so-called Knowledge of Good and Evil, The strange things that we see and hear,   Are still firmly within the providence of Almighty God The things that are happening today Which will happen tomorrow, And will happen next week, Are still occurring so that God’s works May be revealed in us. //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// We are the church, not this building, We are the Children of Light Who through Christ & through our obedience Are called: “Rise from the dead” “So, Christ will shine on us!” ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// We must continue to pray and pray hard. There are now a number of tools on our website to help. There are also tools on the diocesan website to help. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// This sermon, and the posting of our Eucharist Service Is another humble attempt to help. Yet to be a real help, We (probably mostly I) need to take a less anxious approach. This is an area of difficulty for your preacher, Some, fingers pointing toward myself, Equate action with success Some have been very well rewarded in my life By ignoring caution & running toward danger Some have been rewarded by gulping another cup of coffee And running into various Disaster Control Centers To get a quick handle on a situation, Come up with a viable solution, Articulate that vision, and doggedly pursue it. ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// In short, this parish has brought into the flock A flawed human being Who just like everyone else here, Does not always get things right, Who needs, through the love of all of you And the love of the Holy Spirit, To occasionally be chastised. To be reminded that the old way of doing things, Of rendering allegiance to King Saul Might be flawed thinking, And to get behind the new reality. ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// The new reality seems to be this, There is a pandemic happening now. It is not a ‘so-called pandemic’ It is a real national and world crisis. /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// As a result of this real national and world crisis, We are being called for a little while to hunker down In our homes and our houses. There are few who like this situation, But the sooner we get over our grieving of the old way And anoint the new, The quicker we will be obeying God’s will. ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Some to best react, need to put down the coffee mug Continue in prayer, Continue to minister to the community around us, Yet do these things in a less urgent manner ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Your pastor desires to continue to let you know That he is still here for you, He will visit you if you ask him. He will tend (perhaps less fervently), (He is still the person God made him to be…) ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// But he will attempt to tend a little less fervently our website Trying as he can to bring you tools To assist us in your prayers Prayers are vitally important! //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Your Priest will, for as long as he is able, Try to bring you a Eucharist service each week, But next week, the service will look a little different. In keeping with is being seen on television, And in keeping with our new reality, Our next Sunday Eucharist will likely occur From my home, or even better in my yard! (Please do get outside, we really need it!)     I am also going to stop asking others to join me in Eucharist This no longer seems helpful If you want Eucharist, or if you need help or counsel I trust that you will be willing to call Because you know that I want to be there for you! If you don’t call or email, I will assume (for now) you are OK, /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Please take a look at our website every now and again We will attempt to post additional worship helps to this site But on a less frequent basis To keep from wearing us ragged Let’s spend a little bit more time with wives, husbands, Sons, daughters, parents or whomever is in your home Since it seems that God is giving us A bunch of extra time to enjoy our families ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Let’s find ways to participate not virtually, but Spiritually, In the Body and Blood of Christ. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// A bunch of our worship will move to my home for now Vestments, and Priest Hosts, and the Parish Worship Register As well as a few other Priestly Items Will moved to my home So I can worship on your behalf from my there As you are worshiping now! Let’s rejoice in whatever opportunities we might have To spend additional time with family, Perhaps playing some Monopoly, Apples to Apples, Or other family games And just getting just a little more time together. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// It interesting that on this first Sunday in some time That the Church of the Cross has had to close its doors   For likely an extended period, God has seen fit to reassure us In the words of the 23rd Psalm. This is a solemn reminder That even in what seems uncontrollable to us God is in fact sovereign and God is in fact in control ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Though we may be guided Through the valley of the shadow of death We shall fear no evil; for God is sovereign God is in control; God is with us. His rod and his staff, they shall comfort us. Our Lord Jesus, the Great Shepherd Will spread a table before us Even in the presence of those who trouble us. Our cups truly do runneth over. And goodness and mercy shall follow us All the days of our lives For we will dwell in the house of our Lord Regardless of trials and tribulations—forever. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Let us embrace the changes which God appears to be making; Let us get on board with His will; Let us understand that even in the presence of trouble; Our cups overfloweth. Let us rejoice that for all our lives We shall dwell in the house of our Lord FOREVER! ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// In the name of the Father, And of the Son, And of the Holy Spirit. Amen
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