Sermon on August 11, Proper 14

Isaiah 1:1, 10-20
Psalm 50:1-8, 23-24
Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16
Luke 12:32-40

I’m tired of prophets so bluntly telling the truth; always going on about injustice empty worship, hardhearted ways, the love of greed, money and power, love of self, sometimes to the point of idolatry. I’m tired, of Galatians, Colossians and Hebrews consistent thump of Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! I’m tired of Gospel wrenches messing up a carefully balanced, nuanced life with fear not, be ready, the messiah, Jesus is coming, is here. Today is the perfect day to preach from the Psalms; except that Psalm 50 is a court room scene, a cosmic court room, where God is the prosecutor, the judge, and most of the jury; where all the heavens are witnesses for the prosecution, or jurors, in a predetermined prosecution. I’ve had enough of high court drama, with Private Manning’s guilty verdict, and sentencing proceedings; and Major Hassan’s listless defense, both in military courts. I’m tired of the endless drama of the Edward Snowden affair, of congressional non-legislating, and the presidential two step, all in the court of public opinion. I’m tired of all the moralizing. After all this is the postmodern age. Each of us is free to discern and meld together whatever bit of spiritual truth that allows us to be comfortable with whatever “i”-faith emerges. We can even talk about it, w-e-l-l as long as we stick to little “t” truth; any big “T” truth of your “i”-faith might be offensive to another’s i”-faith. It’s just like a church camp program leader once said, mimicking the campers attitude: It’s all about me!

And it is all about “me:” singular, distant, isolated, alone. In a more and more connected world, where there are more cell phones than land lines, and cell phones have a more and more dazzling array of functions, and are less and less about person to person conversation. In a growing world of avatars and virtual environments are there any real intimate person to person relationships left? And if we are unable to be honestly present to each other, we cannot be in an honest personal relationship with God. And that, above all, is the single profound truth in all today’s scripture readings. Indeed in all of scripture: God wants to be in honest personal relationship with every living person (past, present and future), with the entire cosmos. The divine desire is so strong, deserved harsh justice is dealt out in mercy. The divine desire is so over whelming, God’s self does the necessary work to bridge the gap between the broken cosmos, and her creator God. The divine desire is so complete, there is nothing you can do to gain it; there is nothing you can do to lose it, it is now simply woven into the very fabric of existence. No secret knowledge, no complex rituals, no perfunctory parameters are necessary; God’s love, God’s, mercy, God’s grace, is just there. Have faith.
And faith is such a hard thing to hold on to. Competing big “T” truths assail each other. The “i” world runs smack into the truth that God made “us” in God’s image; us – male and female, diverse, yet one; us – plural many, yet one. And every now and again, we are blessed to see the results of faith; others may call it organization, but those with eyes see, and those with ears hear, differently.

This week, Operation Healthy Delta is such an exemplar. The Delta Regional Commission, the Department of Defense, the City of Blytheville, Mississippi County, Blytheville Public Schools, our hospital, businesses, churches, and lots of individuals: soldiers and ordinary folks have come together to provide medical, dental, eye, and wellness care to anyone who walks in the door, within the capabilities of the 10 hour day. Organized? you bet. An exemplar of God’s love at work transforming lives? no doubt.

And I know this in the endless example of countless little things:
·       The compassion of the soldiers and volunteers
        getting it done.
·       The deep appreciation and patience of those seeking help.
·       The generosity of 15 area churches and organizations who are providing lunch           every day.
·       The hospitality of our community in throwing an end of clinic dinner to                         introduce our southern California guests to true southern cooking.
·       The unsolicited appearance of water, fresh fruit, and baked goods.
·       and so many others things.
This past week, today, and Monday and Tuesday two disparate groups of people have meet each other in an interdependence of divine mutuality in which everyone has been blessed, in which everyone has been a blessing. Therein is radical gospel equality, therein is mercy, therein is justice, therein our lamps are burning bright, therein is our readiness. And with all my heart, in faith, I know Jesus has walked amongst us., Proper 14, August 11, 2013
By the Rev. Ben E. Helmer, 12 Pentecost, Proper 14 (C) – 2013, Beyond material worth

Center for Excellence in Preaching, August 11, 2013 (Ordinary Time)
      Luke 12:32-40, Scott Hoezee
      Isaiah 1:1, 10-20, Scott Hoezee
      Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16, Stan Mast
      Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23, Doug Bratt
Working Preacher, Proper 14, August 11, 2013
      Isaiah 1:1, 10-20, David G. Garber Jr.
      Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16, Erik Heen
      Luke 12:32-40, Karoline Lewis

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