Sunday, July 19, 2009

July 5 Sermon Notes


Boy Scouts. Remember sitting at Camp AP Hill outside Washington at the 1994 National Jamboree with scouts from all over the country, listening to Lee Greenwood sing. I remember the sitting there, with 40000 scouts with lighters in the air, as 3 F-15s buzzed the concert ampitheater, a deafening roar that you never forget.

The Bible is unabashedly doting on David, who is our subject for this summer series, yet it also tells the truth. (even when the lectionary does not)

Reading between the lines today, we find that David seemed to have given the order to kill all the blind and lame people in Zion simply because his detractors said that “even the blind and the lame would rise up against you.”

Last week, we missed the David story, but it was the classic story of killing the messenger.

Honest about our faults. Don’t chalk them up to “un-American revisionist history.”

Just read David McCullough’s A Path Between the Seas about the creation of the Panama canal. Surprised me to learn (even though I remember doing a 6th grade term paper on Panama) that basically Panama exists because the American gov’t didn’t want to pay more money for the land to Columbia than we had at first agreed. So, we financed a revolution.

Don’t get snowed by the blindly patriotic version of our Nation’s history and heritage. We have a lot to be proud about, but that doesn’t mean we should whitewash the truth.

The Bible sets the template for a people keeping track of the negative and positive things they have done. This is a good guard against falling pray to the idolatry of nationalism.

Our nation was built on the back of atrocities as well as heroics. It makes me sick to hear the phrase, “My country, right or wrong.” It makes me sick because it is a forfeiture of democracy. “My country, right or wrong” is what those who live in a dictatorship must say, so why should I, living in a free country, stoop to such a base form of allegiance.

The scriptures are clear about what makes a country great. It isn’t the grand achievements. It’s not the canals and the skyscrapers and the military might. It’s not the economic prowess, that we now clearly see is a house built on sand anyway. What makes a country great is how that country treats the poorest and weakest and most desperate.

Listen to the Psalm again. This is David’s song about his hopes for his son, Solomon. What is it that he repeats over and over again?

For he will deliver the needy who cry out,
the afflicted who have no one to help.

13 He will take pity on the weak and the needy
and save the needy from death.

14 He will rescue them from oppression and violence,
for precious is their blood in his sight.

This is what the Lord loved about David—because he was once the left out and forgotten, he would include the left out remember the forgotten. He prayed that his son would continue in this way.

Because this was and is the way of the Lord. "He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?" (NKJV)

The beginnings of Jerusalem as the City of David are not it’s destiny. Just because we are honest about our roots, just because we have eyes open to our foibles, doesn’t mean we have to wallow in them. We are called to greatness. We are called to bear the image of God.

John sees the city of Jerusalem descending from the clouds in the book of Revelation. He describes God’s voice saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.’


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