•    Joshua 5:9-12  • Psalm 32  • 2 Corinthians 5:16-21  • Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

As I was reading the scriptures for today an image came to mind. Over the years I served in churches who had secrets. These secrets hid bad judgements and bad decisions that ultimately destroyed their reputation in their communities. They had chosen to live in deceit, trying to put on an image that just didn’t work. Joshua found himself being the leader of a similar kind of people, complainers, discouragers, mumblers etc.  Then just as quickly as the negative seems to rise again, God acts. God gives a new day!

CALL TO WORSHIP:  Lord God sometimes it is easy to wonder about the churches and the people we hang with. Sometimes, some really “junky” things happen. People act as if the negative things they do in your name, was your idea, as if you would give your blessing on something so terrible.  Lord God, please renew a right spirit within me/us.  Amen

How Deep The Father’s Love for Us

More Love to Thee

As I think back on these churches. One church had two distinct ethnic groupings in it. They lived as if the two would never talk to each other. Another church kept splitting. It seemed as if good things would happen and then dissension started and there could not be healing. Story after story arises. What makes it worse is how often other people I know or have met can repeat this kind of scenario. It isn’t just in the churches it happens in families as well. It happens in business, in communities. As a human race we seem to be bent on destruction. There are people that cannot enjoy a good thing. They have to go in and destroy what they can. Our landscape is littered with leftover carnage of human frailty. This negative image can be built on with many life experiences but the scripture for today tells us how God says, “it stops.”  It stops, the love of God crashes in on us and declares new beginnings. In Joshua  5:9 The LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt.” And so that place is called Gilgal to this day.  It stops. Here is my reminder, it is over. Gilgal stands in history as a place. It stops.

There doesn’t seem to be an argument. The strings to negative memories have been removed, now get on with life, the disgrace is over. Human beings were given a free will to be perfect, to live toward all that is good, to conjure up in our imaginations and behaviors beauty. We failed, we look for someone to blame, if we can’t find someone we make someone up. IT STOPS. Get on with a better way! That is what the Psalmist says:  Psalm 32:1 Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 32:2 Happy are those to whom the LORD imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.  As if to laugh in the face of drudgery  the Psalmist says, GET OVER IT!  There is a new day coming, it is today. You knock me down and I get back up. I choose to do good. I choose to D O – G O O D.
I grew up in a background where it seemed people were afraid of do gooders. It became a term of derision, of criticism , but here the Psalmist identifies it as a happier way of life

Paul the Apostle carries it even further when he identifies the life of Jesus as the apex of a new creative way! He dares to say not only does the old way stop, not only does he say we are to get over it he now says it is our calling. We are reconcilers of a new way! In this new way, through the life of Jesus we understand.  The new way is righteousness.

Jesus tells the story of a father with two sons. Both sons blew it. One decided to use this freedom for selfishness and self-centeredness. The other son decided to use his freedom for drudgery and self annihilation. Both sons needed a better way. The better way is presented in how God chooses to respond. It’s over boys. I love you both. IT STOPS, GET OVER IT, GET ON WITH A BETTER WAY.

The hymn, Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above

invites us to understand the better way.

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