WE ARE ALIVE
LUKE 11: 1-13
July 26, 2020
For some odd reason the song THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE seems to be my wake up song lately. In the times we are living in I have often wondered as most of you have about the dark clouds that surround our realities … I frankly have found myself allowing mere words posted as challenges or spoken either softly or harshly but in contradiction to what I value or hold as true … mere words friends have disturbed me deeply. Mere words have raised my blood pressure or perhaps even worse mere words at times have released a valve to a sadness that is real in those of us who are human when our very human condition is contradicted or threatened by either elements within our immediate circle of life or by the larger world around us. All too often it is in the words of life that we are taken to a place where we don’t feel alive … to places of brokenness and pain.
And yet, we are living in an era when the flow of verbiage is cluttered with insults focused on individuals establishing that they are right even when the evidence of their positions is sketchy at best. These are times when it’s easy to post … easy to text … easy to sound like a child in junior high school hoping that in the language of insult subtle or bold or in the language that demeans others even when using simplistic silly nasty names we can win some type of victory in the moment over our fellow human beings … and truthfully sometimes we do great harm.
And, yet we are alive … we are breathing .. we are each our own unique member of the God creation known as humanity. In the beginning of God’s Word we hear “And, God created humanity in God’s own image, in the divine image God created them, male and female.” Not with God’s powers although at times it seems like the vast majority of humans believe that their view is the sole view of what is right as if they have made themselves God versions of the character ‘mini-me’ from the Austin Powers movies.
It was in Edward Bulwer’s 1839 play ‘Cardinal Richelieu’ that the phrase “the pen is mightier than the sword” was first spoken by the Cardinal in response to his page pointing out how many weapons were available to defend himself against a plot to kill Richelieu. By the 1840’s the phrase had gone global … the pen is mightier than the sword.
But Holy Scriptures had already addressed the power of our words from Proverbs we hear “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” James reminds us that “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters this should not be.” Paul writes to the church of Ephesus, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Grace to those who hear or read our words … again from Proverbs, “Whoever guards their mouth preserves their life.”
Friends we are alive … we are called to be the people who bring the promise of God; the hope of eternity; and love of the Holy into the world but what are we known for? What are you known for? Who do others see and hear in you? How do we live? What kind of individuals do our words show us to be? That is a challenge today …
I can easily pray the prayer of the psalmist daily, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord. My rock and my redeemer!”
And, I come back to the song … and to the fact that today I stand before you alive knowing each of you are alive .. we are alive but facing a challenge as to our priorities in this life. We are alive at a time when it is so easy to share the spiteful message … it is so easy to dismiss the stranger or even a friend or family member whose opinion confounds us. But in putting words into action that are heard in their ears or viewed for the world to see on our social media … we have the potential to do great harm. Who do we represent? Who do we revere? Who do we worship?
THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE … I’M GOING TO LET IT SHINE. LIFT HIGH THE CROSS … the LOVE OF CHRIST PROCLAIM TILL ALL THE WORLD ADORE HIS SACRED NAME.
This morning’s Scripture lessons both strike home with me as I consider how the faithful are called to live our lives. A Psalm that reminds us of God’s love and a lesson of Jesus that every time we read it teaches us.
I have committed to all of you to remind you weekly in my messages as my Christian brothers and sisters of the value of experiencing Jesus Christ. We cannot know Jesus by osmosis. We can not discover Jesus directives through our choice of network news sources nor through the ranting of social media or public persona’s. As Christians, we can only discover Jesus by turning to His words. If we are to make our faith come alive … if we choose to be ALIVE for God … and friends today we are breathing in the air and as humans our existence holds true in the moment but if you proclaim you are part of the Body of Christ then you need to know what that entails. Read the Gospel daily even if it is a mere sentence or two … discover the call of our loving Savior.
In today’s Gospel lesson, from the historian Luke, we hear that it was one of Jesus disciples who ask Jesus to teach them how to pray. Together we will pray that prayer in a few moments just as we do in almost every service of this church. Does it make you feel alive in your faith? Jesus uses the concluding elements of the prayer as a second teaching lesson. “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who has wronged us. And, don’t lead us into temptation.” Friends, we have heard those words and stated those words hundreds of times … as we forgive those who have wronged us that is how we are asking God to forgive us..
But Jesus continues and teaches us how we are supposed to give to those who ask because God gives to us daily not in riches but in love and support. The door of heaven is opened to those who knock … God’s call home is there for those who seek to come home to God. To those who live as God expects us to live … those who live as Jesus taught …
SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM of GOD and HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS … and all these things shall be added unto you.
But the caveat in all of this is our sincere and honest seeking of the kingdom of God. And, that we are seeking God’s righteousness not validation of our lifestyle nor that our viewpoints are the only correct ones in the daily battles amongst humans. It’s hard to discover God’s love that overcomes fear if we aren’t joining in God’s chorus of seeking justice as the prophet Micah shared what the Lord expects from humanity, “The Lord has told you human one, what is good and what the Lord requires from you … to do justice, embrace faithful love of all and walk humbly with your God.”
HIDE IT UNDER A BUSHEL? No! I’M GOING TO LET IT SHINE! HIDE IT UNDER A BUSHEL? NO! …. I’m going to let it shine.
I told you that the simple song This Little Light of Mine is rolling around on my inner sound system this week. Perhaps because we have a baptism next Sunday evening when we sing that song. Perhaps because in those simple VBS and SUNDAY SCHOOL words the message of a call to our faith resounds with clarity. It challenges our human condition in these dark and difficult days. It says to me … LIVE YOUR FAITH DAVE don’t let the world bring you down. YOU ARE ALIVE … so live with joy and fervor standing up for justice, embracing faithful love for all … walk humbly with the God who created all of humanity.
WE ARE ALIVE but can we join David in his psalm that we shared this morning? It’s ironic but in speaking with an associate this week even in these times of isolation where time has blended in a way that leaves us wondering what day of the week it is much less when numbered day of the month has arrived, this person told me that they are finding that it is very difficult for them to have time to read God’s Word. They told me this after sharing how they missed spending time with friends and family. How they had already watched hours and hours of binge worthy programs on Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming systems but when it came around to God their comment was. … “I don’t really have time to read the Bible … I don’t know where time goes.”
And, there was Edna Mae Schrier, home to the Lord, she read God’s Word daily. Yesterday, during the Celebration of Life Service for my friend Reverend Myrna Bethke we heard that she started each day reading God’s Word and every year she read the Bible from cover-to-cover. Modern technology has presented us with apps, and email services that deliver God’s Word to our phones but this person who happens to attend church doesn’t have the time.
HIDE IT UNDER THE BUSHEL … well yea. Share the teachings of Jesus Christ on Facebook or Twitter or in conversations … gets complicated and embarrassing … don’t want to sound preachy or to go against things friends are posting do we?
WE ARE ALIVE but are called to be alive in our lives for God and for Christ because this life is the mere knocking on the door of heaven which is the eternity that awaits. WE ARE ALIVE to be blessed and covered by God’s love and the love of Christ allowing us to do what God calls to do.
WE ARE ALIVE to give thanks to God with all of our hearts! WE ARE ALIVE to sing praises to God even though this world’s other gods call us to them daily.
I pray that you are like me and like David and that when life pulls us down or that we get into trouble in all the many ways humans can be in trouble even if it is within our very souls that the LORD MAKES US ALIVE AGAIN … that you sense God’s power knowing that the faithful love of God lasts forever and God’s hands are there to hold us up when the world is bringing us down.
THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE I’M GOING TO LET IT SHINE! I AM ALIVE IN GOD and JESUS CHRIST … CALLED TO DO JUSTICE, LOVE ALL OTHERS while WALKING HUMBLY WITH GOD! An active life … a light-shining life! A life that offers us more once these days are gone. LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST for GOD and CHRIST! LOVE LIKE YOU ARE LOVED BY GOD! ACT LIKE YOU ARE ALIVE IN GOD because THANKS BE TO GOD WE ARE!!!