Sunday, June 20, 2010

Days of Elijah, Part III: More sermon scraps

I'm not sure I said what I wanted to say in my sermons this morning. In looking at the text (1 Kings 19: 1 - 15a), one might have assumed that I would focus on the sheer silence where Elijah found the Lord, but that seemed far too familiar (and often incorrectly interpreted). That one verse has been misused and misunderstood for too long. It has led people to believe that God's revelation only comes in quiet time -- we're only with God when we are by ourselves. While I have spent hours in silence before God, that is not the only place / time where I encounter God. I have felt God's presence in a crowd, while watching a movie, at a concert . . . You get my point. God finds us where we are, where ever we are. It reminds me of that wonderful camp song, "I have decided to follow Jesus." That song is wonderful, until we get to the 3rd verse, which repeats, "the cross before me, the world behind me." The song pretends that Christ is our escape from the world, but Jesus did not "escape" the world. Jesus was in and is in the world. The cross itself is in the world. Being a christian is not soley about retreating. Don't get me wrong; retreat is a big part of the christian life, but it is not the sum total of the christian life. Retreat is supposed to refill us for our christian life.

On to my second thing . . .
During my benediction, I asked the congregation to pray for someone there, and to ask someone to pray for them. I wasn't kidding. I hope some took it seriously. Asking someone to pray for you, asking your peers to pray for you takes a great amount of trust. When someone else prays for you, it is a vulnerable feeling -- you feel open, exposed. Furthermore, the act of praying for another is an act of compassion. When we agree to pray for another, we learn about who they are. In some sense, we take ownership in their lives. What I mean is this, if I am asked to pray for someone who has no money for groceries, perhaps I am also supposed to play a part in answering that prayer. As one who now knows of a need, I can and therefore should do something about it. I have said before that we (christians, the Body of Christ) belong to God and as such, in some way we belong to each other. We are supposed to hold each other up, hold each other accountable, cry with one another, and laugh with one another. Your joy is my joy. Your pain is my pain. and so on . . .

Anyway, these are my ramblings for the week. I hope you enjoy.

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