Psalm 46: 6-11
ROMANS 12: 1-18
APRIL 1, 2021 MAUNDY THURSDAY
THAT IS ENOUGH …
STOP and do the recalculation … a recalculation that is needed for living a life connected to God. Have you ever considered that perhaps you have done enough stuff away from Jesus’ teaching … that you have spent enough time away from God … that you have carefully deflected the Holy Spirit’s nudging enough times to almost forget that the Spirit is God’s gift to you and to me?
When we open God’s Word and reflect on it … I find it amazing how God can go ahem and teach us. Many have wondered where the “Maundy” in Maundy Thursday comes from. It actually comes from the Latin translation of Jesus’ words in those moments from the Last Supper in the Gospel of John. ‘Mandatum novum do vobis … a mandate; a new commandment … “A new commandment I give to you to love all others” and Jesus finished the directive by stating we are to love just as Jesus had loved … meaning loving all including the rejected and the despised.
Maundy indeed …
Frankly, I was surprised when I opened up my Bible to read this familiar passage from Psalms because I was looking for STILLNESS but the Common English translation of God’s Word proclaimed loud and clear God’s concern about our habits, how we live our lives, and our regular neglect of the holy and disregard of the mandate from Christ.
THAT IS ENOUGH … enough foolishness, enough nonsense … we’ve all been there but on this HOLY NIGHT … it is time to again be still and focused.
Our Scripture lesson states “THAT IS ENOUGH …. Now, know that I am God. I am exalted among all the nations; I am exalted throughout the world!”
And, friends, frankly none of you are god nor are your friends nor are your human heroes not even your favorite movie stars, treasured sports celebrities nor even the politicians whose words you consume with passion as if you need them to survive. It is time to stop bowing down to the world of humanity and to BE STILL … BE STILL and realize and accept that God is still God and deserving of our praise and worship.
Tonight, we are on the edge of remembering the darkest day in human history; a day when power-hungry religious leaders aligned with political forces to falsely arrest the Son of God … to put Him on trial in a public square where their followers had been brainwashed to chant CRUCIFY HIM CRUCIFY HIM … do away with Him. And Pontius Pilate even though he found nothing …. Absolutely nothing in Jesus conduct that justified His arrest much less crucifixion kept hearing the hateful loud voices that didn’t want God’s presence in their world … CRUCIFY HIM CRUCIFY HIM … And, Pilate turned to the chief priests and the leaders aligned with them and according to Luke’s Gospel said, “What has He done wrong? I am going to free Him.” But those who enjoyed their powerful positions looked Pilate in the eyes … they told him to hear the people’s screams … they wanted to take God out of the way so they could do what they wanted to do … so that they could be in control … so that they would not have to witness healing and love for all. And, Pilate gave in … he released Barabbas the murderer and sent Jesus on His way to the Skull Hill of death.
But, those are historical moments … most of us are well aware of the events of those days because we have been taught them; we have seen them reenacted; and we have even watched the pain and suffering in movies and on television before we have moved on to do our own thing … to live our lives … to put the experiences, realities and truth of Holy Week to the back pages of life’s consideration … but God is still calling us to reconsider. God is still wanting us to know God is God.
Tonight I would like to argue that we need to rediscover the gift of God in stillness. Perhaps I am one of the biggest offenders of being overly busy … but I believe it is a cultural lesson that has been imposed on us for at least the last 50 years. How busy can you be? How scheduled can you make your children’s lives? Can you eliminate fun time … private time … time for friends and time for family … can you find a show you need to watch to keep you from praying and reading God’s Word … do you have to check your phone while walking along a stream or river … could you live disconnected from the Internet?
This morning in a conversation I was reminded of a time when people streamed into church to just be quiet … leaving the world behind to focus in on God. In Philippians Paul writes to those early Christians, “this is my prayer, that your love may abound more and more .. rich in knowledge and depth of insight. And, that you may discern what is best and blameless.”
BE STILL church … tonight wherever you are. And, then tomorrow on the day of all days when we should be bowing down and thanking God for Jesus … we worship because we know deep in our hearts that God exists … but to worship God and push things aside is difficult in today’s world but in the stillness God is calling to us to embrace God and follow Jesus. Our love replicating Jesus’ love … our love for God never enough to equal God’s love for us but a love that we can give to the Creator if we try.
Truth is Jesus’ love should be enough … God’s care for us should suffice so again friends it is very important for your future to discover how to be still in the moments. So that in the stillness you will refocus on God and be renewed in your faith.
Paul reminds us in Romans, “Present yourselves as holy and pleasing to God. Don’t be conformed to the patterns of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is – what is good and pleasing and mature.”
And, so we head to the Lord’s Table as He taught us to do and I want … no actually I need to recall the lessons of stillness from the Psalms. Psalm 23, a Psalm of life and not of death is full of answers for people of faith who need to live as people of faith. It is a Psalm you may hold in your memory banks. If you do know it please say it out loud with me … The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou annointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
God wants us to discover stillness friends … God knows we need to be still so that we can be restored. God knows that we might forget that God is God unless we are still … and with that stillness our cup will run over and goodness and mercy will follow us the rest of our days.