WHERE HAVE YOU PLACED GOD?
Job 38: 1-11
MARK 4: 35-41
June 20, 2021 – FATHERS DAY
I am not sure how many here in St. Paul’s beautiful church sanctuary who have come to worship this morning know the name JACOB SLAVIN. In fact, I am not sure how many of you worshiping with us online this morning know the name but the convenience and comfort of being home with coffee in hand probably has some of you instantly GOOGLING his name.
JACOB SLAVIN, my friends, is a National Hockey League player. In fact, he is an award winning National Hockey League player. He plays defense for the Carolina Hurricanes whose team nickname might be considered for many sermons tied to today’s Gospel that taught us how Jesus stilled the storms on the sea but that is not my reason for sharing this man’s name.
And, even though today is Father’s Day … and even though SLAVIN and his wife Kylie adopted a beautiful baby girl two years ago, a beautiful daughter who does not exactly look like her two loving parents, my mentioning SLAVIN is not because today is Father’s Day. This hockey player referred to the process of adoption as the “most amazing, difficult, beautiful, exhausting, emotional, exciting, incredible journey we have ever embarked on … “ adding EMERSYN to his family out of love.
Perhaps in the scheme of our thinking … in these moments of your day or night that you are investing right now to worship with us and to listen to me … it is about how love can rescue children from the storms they find themselves in that truly matters. How individuals can live as loving parents … even to those who are adopted matters too. How we can celebrate and remember and be changed because we have been rescued that too matters.
SLAVIN, it was announced this week, has been honored by the National Hockey League as the one player in the entire league who best combines sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct, and ability. If your business, your neighborhood, or your family gave an annual award for being fair; showing good conduct in what you do towards others, and in using your God-given abilities to succeed would you be under consideration for it?
Do, people look at you and the way you life your life thinking … WOW, she or he is amazing in how she or he loves all others? It’s awesome that she or he is fair to all others? Does not go out of the way to put down others? Supports assistance to all who are hurting in the world. Even shares a testimony of faith in every setting.
Even in a rough and tumble life with a variety of challenges … does your life exemplify the call of Jesus Christ … the call of God … actually the REQUIREMENTS of God for people of faith to “do justice; embrace faithful love of ALL, and to walk humbly with God” to a level that others notice the difference you make each day? Or even that you are different than so many who hurry to fit in? Do others know how much love you have for God or perhaps more importantly how much God loves you and them, which you share in your words and actions?
Friends, where have you placed God in your daily lives? What file is God compartmentalized into so that you can live as you choose to live in your daily life? Are you your own god declaring who is worthy and who is not? Sadly, this week we have again witnessed the politically power motivated trying to intimidate people of faith by declaring that in their opinion some are not entitled to a complete relationship with God.
JACOB SLAVIN friends … a hard nosed, hard playing athlete who is a skilled defenseman and whose team trusts him to play the most ice time of any of the playoff team’s players has his priorities set. In receiving this year’s award SLAVIN told the world, “It’s exciting to receive this award; an awesome honor. But for myself this reward is really special to me because as a Christian hockey player I know that isn’t myself that everyone sees … it is Christ living through me. I celebrate God’s faithfulness in my life. And being able to share the love of Christ in everything I do both on and off the ice and in everything I do.” He is also thankful to his wife and daughter for being his first line of support. A dad, a husband, rich professional athlete and yet still a man who declares to the world in his one minute and thirty seconds of global on-air time to say whatever he wants to say about getting this award he declares that what the world sees when the world sees him play professional hockey is JESUS CHRIST living through him.
WHERE HAVE YOU PLACED GOD … in your life?
For too many years we have made an implication to the world that all fathers are good fathers and deserving of Father’s Day accolades when we all know that not everyone is blessed to have a truly loving and caring father in their lives. Some of our neighbors and friends want to hide away on this day because of the experiences of their lives.
However, we have a God of love who is ready to embrace and care for us. We have a God who provided Jesus to clarify what God’s expectations are for us. We have a Savior in Jesus Christ who can settle the storms … “Who even the wind and sea obey.”
But, we all can remember the truth of the pre-pandemic world when church attendance was shrinking … churches closing … faith connections denied so that individuals and things of the world could be waved like idols to bow down to. We all remember the days where our Bibles were the most dust covered books in our homes and the Bible apps on our children’s smart phones the very last app we would look at with the kids.
The book of Job in our Scriptures to many is a great challenge because we read about a man loved by God whose life is turned upside down. Job’s friends attempt to direct him away from God … they claim God has gone away so they want Job to join with them in denial of the Almighty.
It seems in life that we sometimes get pulled away … we sometimes struggle … and perhaps it takes a global pandemic to give us the time to reset the GPS of our lives’ journey. Sometimes it takes an EASTER season where we hear the preacher declare HE IS RISEN <<HE IS RISEN INDEED>> yes, so we can lift up that yes together we believe that UP FROM THE GRAVE HE AROSE … with a mighty triumph o’er His foes. He arose a Victor from the dark domain and He lives forever …” You do celebrate Jesus’ victory over death don’t you? God’s love in our Savior?
This Easter season … this Lenten season … PENTECOST celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit of God … the reopening of the world at least here in the United States where so many of us have been vaccinated … have you remembered where you have placed God before March of 2020 and have you moved God into a new and prominent place in your life? Or, are you continuing to journey into the stormy world waving a flag of humans you worship or momentary rewards you sense rather than the eternal kingdom of God?
If God chose to come down off of the bookcase in your home and declared as God did to Job … PREPARE YOURSELF … I WILL INTERROGATE YOU and YOU WILL RESPOND TO ME … would you be literally scared to death? Would God find that your life reflected Jesus Christ …. That you had allowed your faith to direct you to as Jacob SLAVIN said about his life “to share the love of Christ in everything you do?”
In Job’s story, God asks where Job was when the earth was created … whether Job had taken a measuring tape around the world … God asked Job who set the morning stars and enclosed the sea?
In chapter 40, Job speaks briefly saying, “Look, I am of little worth. What can I answer you?”
Friends, Job had it all wrong in answering God that way. God was not stomping about as if Job was worthless … rather God was showing Job that even though God had created the universe … the seas … was all powerful … could do what God wanted to do if God chose … that instead God loves and does not control; God cares about Job who is not of little worth to God but instead as valuable as silver or gold or bitcoins, whatever they are.
The God of Creation … the God most people ignore with an energy that almost defines them as deniers of God’s very existence … God loves you with a deep passion and has made the path to an eternal life with God incredibly easy but it requires change. It requires faith, which in itself requires works and a lifestyle change that puts Jesus Christ first.
Jesus is awoken from his sleep in the boat by His frightened disciples and “He gave orders to the wind … silence be still!” And, then Jesus asks, “Why are you frightened? Don’t you have faith?”
And, so it comes down to that question today because it is an essential question that I hope you renewed your answer to during Easter and Pentecost 2021. We are have the choice but God’s love wants to take us in … God’s angels celebrate each person who turns towards God … an adoption affirmed. Can you imagine God’s words when we are adopted back home loving God knowing God loves us?
A most amazing, difficult, beautiful, exhausting, emotional, exciting, incredible journey but a journey that puts us under the control of God not man. A journey that transforms us into people whose actions reflect Jesus Christ first not ourselves. A complete circle of love … created in God’s Holy Image … set free to live but with a beacon of the Light of Salvation always ready to illuminate a path for us to walk onto … a path to walk with Jesus … a path to be guided by the Holy Spirit … our choice.
So, on this Father’s Day … before we pray a prayer that is often called OUR FATHER’s prayer … Where exactly have you placed God as we move out of the pandemic? Is God leading your way … are you ready to dream things you can do to make disciples of Jesus Christ? Missions to help those who are hurting? Ways to bring families and others into our churches so churches no longer wither away but grow in vibrancy! The hymn goes THIS IS OUR FATHER’s WORLD … whatever name or description you have for the Creator … this morning are you ready to put God in charge allowing your life to reflect Jesus with joy and a new energy that will bring heaven to earth with love?