Lord God today is a special day. It is Father’s Day. I want to say nice things about father’s. Only recently it was revealed to me that I had blocked out years of my own life due to the violence perpetuated by my father. Growing up I was taught values to respect both my parents even though they had lifestyles contrary to being respectful. In the scriptures today the tension between good and evil becomes paramount. In the midst of this uncertainty goodness, truth, kindness, and other solid values are alluded to as the cement that holds our lives together. Lead us in worship. Help us not to mask the truth, but help us to live by a stronger truth that radiates from your ways. Amen
A Confession of uncertainty…
I met a person this week who was very angry…
I met a person this week who was compassionate and gentle…
I met a person this week who argued at the drop of a dime…..
I met a person this week who simply walked into my life with a gentle hug….
I met a person this week who proclaimed all was evil and God would burn everyone to hell…
I met a person who prayed for peace and patience of God…
We live in uncertainty, we live in moments of paradox.
In this uncertainty oh God cause the seed that has been planted within us to reflect you.
Let us be the person others meet to understand your certainty in this shaken world.
Title: THAT JUST ISN’T THE POINT
The scriptures are powerful today. There is a milieu of a reality so strong that at times it is difficult to see a ray of hope. It is scary to see this kind of darkness. In some points it is so dark one’s mind automatically looks for hope.
Even Elijah finds himself running away. God reminds Elijah it is not about running away. It is time to get back to work. 40 days, 40 nights the scripture tells us he withdrew. Then the Lord asked him, “are you done yet?” what are you doing here? I am all alone said Elijah.
How often do we see “evil” battling “good” all around us.
In the USA there have always been comparisons about how wonderful the political, educational and medical systems are. They may not be perfect but we are along way ahead of others people would say. What we believed was so good has now become so oppressive. Growing up it seemed easy for religious leaders to identify with politicians and say God is blessing us. Now however it seems the systems sneer at the morality and the ethics of the Biblical narrative.
Many of our churches and religious leaders talk about being user friendly churches. Don’t ruffle the feathers, don’t create to much drama. It is as if God is saying, Elijah what are you doing here? Churches, Christians, what are you doing here? Elijah says I will just go over there, I will get away from them. Many churches today are saying the same thing. Let us build a fortress and get away from them. We will just go over there. Elijah says let me die. Many say, come Lord rapture us away from this evil world.
The Psalmist echoes Elijah’s moaning. The Psalmist hears the enemy saying “Where is your God?” The Psalmist speaks from the depth of a wound that cuts to the chase. So often in our support groups, people are suffering from unknown illness with unknown causes. People are wanting to cry out in victory only to see the battle intensify. The pain becomes unbearable. Medications, medical wisdom, these words only block out any vision of hope. Go home, go home and die is the mantra of our world. The Psalmist contemplating what is happening in his world has thoughts like Elijah and finds himself reminded that the battles about life are often dark and serious.
The Psalmist hears God say now look within, have your soul seek God and live. Know that the intensions of God are about life.
Elijah, Psalmist understand your pain, the reality of the battle is real. God would remind them about what they are saying. THAT JUST ISN’T THE POINT. There is a different way.
The writings of a number of the prophets and many of the Psalms echo a downside to life. It would be easy to write off the downside if it didn’t just keep popping up.
The prophet Isaiah was often identified as a good times preacher but even here Isaiah speaks of God standing off in the wings. The religious guru’s continue to then keep leading people astray.
I think there are times when I want the religious guru’s to be right, I want the politicians to be right. I want all the good things that are being promised to happen. It just isn’t true. The promises are often empty and reflect the whims of the people rather then the wisdom of God.
These promises often ignore that we are in a battle for the life and death of society, of God’s creation. Again the Psalmist turns us to God and celebrates truths. As we walk with God our lives discover a balance and opens us up to receive not just the blessings of God but the salvation of God.
We find a way of faith. The Apostle moves us from the harshness of discipline to the gentleness of the Spirit. This gentleness of the Spirit opens us to the Magna Carta of living in God’s Grace. Human distinctions are removed. All people are people. Years ago as we worked with young people we were told to write a report saying we were working with this many males, females, what color they were, what their backgrounds were. I wrote my report. We work with people. I got a letter back. You must have misunderstood. We say people qualify for different kind of help because of who they are. I said I understood completely. We work with people. We make no distinction. All people qualify to participate and share in society equal. It is just that simple.
Each day those same words about exclusionary principles are repeated. Each day we find labels that exclude people from medical help. Each day we hear people say I would rather die. Each day the attitudes of the prophet are echoed. Each day people say, they are all against me, I am all alone.
Each day the truth of this simple message still stands: That just isn’t the point. In the midst of the darkness we are called to stand for life.
Doctor Luke tells us a simple story. A man was filled with demons. Jesus told the demons to leave the man. They did. The man got on with living. I think that is what this whole thing is about.
One day my telephone rang. I need your help came the voice. I am going to a counselor and I don’t know if I can trust the person. I asked if you could come with me. The counselor said you could. Please come. I had all the reasons in the world for not going, including professional courtesy. The caller said I was told you could come! I didn’t want to go. Then very clearly the voice came. Carl no matter what you think THAT JUST ISN’T THE POINT. I went. The counselor met me, welcomed me and said all I ask is you assess my work in front of my client. The session continued. At one point the counselor asked why do you have so many negative thoughts? Why do you give in to them. My friend said they just keep coming. The counselor asked who’s voice are you listening to? An evil voice my friend said. The counselor said why don’t you tell the voice to leave. I did, but it comes back. I keep saying just leave me alone. The counselor asked why don’t you send the voice home. Just tell it to go home. It is the devil’s voice, it is evil’s voice. Go home and leave him alone. Then out of the blue the counselor said Devil Hell is your home now leave and go to hell. That is where you belong. I started to laugh. My friend started to laugh. The counselor said why are you laughing? My friend said I don’t hear the voice. The counselor looked at me. I continued to laugh. I said thank you. I gave the counselor a big hug and said to my friend, it is time to go home.
Perhaps that is what this entire set of scriptures is about. It is time to recognize what all this negative jargon in our world is about. Perhaps it is time to recognize where it comes from. Perhaps it is time to tell it to go home, to go to hell.