GOD GIVING LIFE
Genesis 1: 26-27
Galatians 3: 23-29
LUKE 8: 22-25
June 21, 2020
The imagery is something that I have placed into the forefront of my thoughts throughout my life time but perhaps due to circumstances within a bureaucratic church institution … perhaps because of challenges throughout a nation I call home … and even perhaps captured in the birth of my grandson, who will reach his first birthday in just 10 days, I have been again focused on God the Creator; God the giver of life. Just plain and simple God. God in whom’s image all of humanity was created equally. Whose saving grace is there for all regardless of race, citizenship, sex, or personal economic realities. The clarity of God’s expectations is easy to grasp IF we are willing to hold onto God.
So, do you consider God often in your day’s walk my friends? Do you get the urge to fall on your knees when you see a cardinal or a blue jay … to give thanks to God for giving life to the creation that surrounds us? When you woke up this morning and realized that God has given you a place in heaven for eternal life not through anything you did … definitely not because we deserve it. We get overly focused on what we want or need don’t we? Forgetting this is but a short phase of our life and eternity in heaven can be ours because of God’s love through Jesus … so this morning, did you whisper or perhaps shout THANK YOU GOD to acknowledge that God has given you and me eternal life?
In the days since March 15, when we last gathered in this building, have you sung God’s praises, experienced God’s Word, and found yourself praying more as you realized, as I have, that God is bigger than buildings; that God has for all too long been limited by human rules and parameters; and that God has only been partially captured amongst the pew sitters who traditionally and carefully have kept the message silent out of the doors. Friends, each day, when the unknown has lurked all around have you joined the choirs of the faithful to be thankful to the One who created all? The giver of life that matters; eternal life that is filled with hope? Have you shown God’s love for all and shared God’s truth message; a message that most of us have been exposed to through the years? No fear; just love. Live for Jesus not the world.
Most of you know how music is one of my islands of sanity and clarity. Music is a place of discovery for me. And, this week it was in Bob Dylan’s ‘All Along the Watchtower’ that a simple verse or two created a challenge that perhaps you can appreciate. “Business men they drink my wine and plowman dig my earth. None will level on the line … nobody has offered HIS word. There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke. But, you and I we’ve been through that and this is not our fate. So, let us stop talking falsely now the hour’s getting late.” What I heard as Hendrix sang the song was nobody has offered HIS WORD; not that Dylan was referencing the Word of God … I thought how we consumer God’s earth … businessman drinking God’s wine … plowman digging God’s earth.
Friends, we do get busy getting things for us, don’t we? God … oh, we somehow need a building for God some say … we need to crowd each other breathing into each other’s lungs to have faith … but those voices don’t impact God. God is still there loving; Jesus whom God sent to teach is at the Right hand. The Spirit … oh COME HOLY SPIRIT COME … my prayer for you wherever you are in your places.
But, indeed the hour is getting late and we need to consider if we are sharing the truth. If we are living in His Word and then sharing the value of GOD GIVING LIFE TO ALL. Are you offering His Word to all others contradicting Dylan’s commentary?
I heard the birds this morning. And, yesterday I celebrated the thunderstorm … God’s blessings! God’s presence. What is your image of the Holy? A man on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling available for tourists to look up at and for most he looks like an older image of themselves but if they looked around at all of humanity; humanity that Scripture teaches was equally created and given life in the image of God they might not box God in to be just themselves. But in this earthly life God has given us the opportunity to come back. Friends, God never stops giving life and its free but we do have to truly believe and change otherwise its just pretense and we are living for us.
Creator; the Creator of all that is around us. I like the idea of Holy because that is so much more than who we are. God equaling Holy rather than just a noun for occasional reference. A God dismissed and dissed with great frequency even by those whose lofty education or self created power lust has given them titles in religious houses that for some have given them wealth and political connections… a God ignored and relegated by those with membership cards to temporary moments of gathering in buildings where truthfully the social reasons outweigh the desire to bow down or even to learn. A God denied despite the creative genius that cannot be explained except by God’s reality.
Friends did you hear again today … did you hear on this second day of summer about the FIFTH DAY? The FIFTH DAY, which early scribes used to reflect on a concept of time that the wandering tribes were not able to understand. When you wander in the wilderness …. When you are isolated and separate … there are many moments in life when the concept of time vanishes and blurs so those early scribes used days but they made it clear what the Holy wanted humanity to understand. The very beginning of our Holy Book, if we, in our rush for me and mine, can find reason to pause to consider …the very beginning allows us to understand God’s intent … God’s hope … “On the fifth day, God said Let us make humanity in our image to resemble us. And, God created humanity in God’s own image, in the divine image God created them, male and female God created them.”
Do you wonder? The author of faith who first recorded those words repeated God created them three times but also did you ever hear the words “God said let us make humanity.” Who was God talking to? Who partnered in Creation?
Well, I realize that we are all students of the WORD. As children of God … as God’s Creation we are eager to follow and so during these last few weeks we have journeyed on a path of discovery on our Sunday mornings … the Trinity God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. John clearly revealed Jesus presence at Creation “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God!!” And, the Spirit is mentioned in verse 2 of the very beginning. Genesis chapter 1 verse 2.
The Son of God whom we experienced during Holy Week from our homes … yes some may be surprised that God’s love supersedes buildings and borders. Holy Week when God’s love was so evident through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and His Resurrection on Easter morning when the women … I always find it interesting and something special that women spread the WORD … ‘the tomb is empty … HE IS RISEN <<He is Risen Indeed>> but then again weren’t women created in the Holy’s Image equally with men?
All of humanity … God given life … we hear Paul writing to an early church. People who sadly like many who live in our communities still wanted to elevate those like themselves while putting others down … “Before faith came … we were locked up until Christ made us righteous by faith. You are all God’s children through faith in Jesus Christ.”
You see friends, it takes this connection of God to push aside our human weakness to run to our corners of similarity … it takes God’s love through Jesus Christ to be alive in our hearts, our minds and our souls if we are to recapture the birthright given in the Creation moment when all of humanity male and female were created in God’s image. No nation .. no race … no sex … having more power or the right to direct and push others … no right to enslave nor continue the enslavement even after the laws were changed but the realities of privilege left to stand … the life God gives is the one wrapped up in the simple words of Jesus … they will know you are my followers by your love, which is loving your neighbors as I did.
So, Paul continues … “There is neither slave nor free; Greek nor Jew; male nor female.” The Creation story once again friends … Paul gets it … Paul had Jesus … Paul knew Jesus’ love and Paul had been Saul and had been a very evil man but that Damascus Road changed Paul … friends have you allowed the light of Jesus to shine down on you? Have you felt the warmth of God’s Holy Spirit as you declared the love for all even as some tell you to put down those who say their lives matter? “FOR YOU ARE ALL ONE in CHRIST JESUS. If you belong to Christ … IF IF IF but that requires the kind of change Saul had when he transformed to Paul … IF YOU BELONG to CHRIST then you and I can be heirs of the promise of God. God wants to give us that life … God wants us to get it but it means God cannot be an afterthought … our love needs to be poured out on God … our worship, which doesn’t require a building, but requires our hearts, minds and souls. We must love all others equally.
And, the storm hit … the boat was filling up with water and they were truthfully in danger Luke reports. So, like any of us they panicked … they shouted … they woke Jesus up … We’re going to drown!!”
You will notice they didn’t say ‘save us” but instead said they were going to drown but Jesus got up and gave orders of the Holy to the wind and the violent waves. The storm died down and it was calm.
WHERE IS YOUR FAITH? Jesus asked.
Church, this morning if you are lost in the storms and searching for ways to be you in the way you like to be you … then where is YOUR FAITH? If the rules have to be your rules or you will stomp your feet … where is YOUR FAITH?
Today, are you living in fear or loving with confidence and hope? I cannot direct your life for you but I can share with you that the God of Creation has given life to all elements of this planet with God’s love. A Holy love. God has also created all human beings equally with love but God gave us freedom to choose who we would be and how we would live but God still shared what we were expected to do. Care for God’s creation; love God; and love each other.
God’s promise that gives us hope is in the life of eternity; a life with God; a God given life that you and I can find by giving ourselves up for Jesus. If you are missing that please reach out to the church so I can talk with you. It truly breaks my heart that so many people don’t have Jesus … that the lessons of Christ are not the ones we are called to but today you chose to be in worship … today I pray you are sensing God’s Spirit whether you are already one with God and Christ or just someone who isn’t sure.
Dylan’s song begins with these words, “There must be some kind of way outta here said the joker to the thief. There’s too much confusion. I can’t get no relief.”
The world is full of confusion … the world and the world’s priorities won’t give you any relief but when you consider that we are equally loved by God along with every other human being ever created and that we have the opportunity to go back home to God by holding God’s values as our own; loving all of our neighbors as Jesus did; and truly perhaps for the first time in our lives loving God as the Holy One worthy of our praise … our worship … and yes, the only reality that any of us should ever bow down to and worship. The God of Creation always giving life and every time one of God’s humans come back to God a party is thrown … that’s pretty cool.
If this is your day … then let the party begin! The Word of God can bring you close; sing songs of praise; and say … no SHOUT THANK YOU GOD as often as you can so your neighbors and friends ask why you are crazy! Because then as the song suggests you can be the “nobody” who offers them His Word.