Monday, January 10, 2011

Jan. 9 Sermon: Specks and Logs, Rocks and Sand

Sirach 27: 4-9 and Luke 6: 37-49


I have always loved the saying that Jesus gives us about seeing the “log in our own eye” it’s such a ridiculous image, isn’t it? I mean, Jesus is comparing a speck of wood in someone else’s eye, so he doesn’t just stop at a “stick” in our own eye, it’s a full on log. That’s a funny image.
It’s a pretty glaringly obvious to others when we can’t recognize our own faults. So, with that in mind, since this is a new year, and we may have the inclination to “set out on the right foot,” let’s talk about what those “logs in our eye” might be. I spend a lot of time talking about what makes our church a great—but we also need to spend some time addressing our weaknesses. Otherwise we are blind to them and we’re more like the blind leading the blind.
But, I know there’s all kinds of pressure that we experience about voicing these kinds of things. We don’t want people to think we are being critical, we worry that we may not be able to word things right. So, instead of just raising your hand, I’d like to give everyone a chance to write down what they perceive to be the “log in our own eye” as a congregation.
Take a few minutes and think and pray about this, and then put something on paper to put in this basket, and then I’ll pick a few out and read them, and maybe respond to them or add to them. I want everyone to write something, so that it’s not apparent who is actually writing and who is not. If you don’t have anything to say, just actually physically write down “I have nothing to say,” and then sit with that sentence for a few minutes and see if it stays that way. If this takes a personal turn, you don’t need to identify yourself to everyone, but you can share what that personal log is that you are able to see in your own eye. But, if something comes across to you that is more a “log in our collective eye” as a church, then write that.

Let’s meditate on it, as Jonny Cash might say. And I pray that whatever comes up for discussion, we may have the Spirit-borne gift of receiving those words and truly hearing them. This is what happened at Pentecost, when the Spirt blew into the room, and something like tongues like flames became apparent to those who observed. What was spoken in strange tongues was heard and understood by the masses. So, let us go to hearing and seeing.
At the end of this passage, Jesus speaks about building your house on the rock rather than the sand. The rock is God’s grace. It is the bedrock understanding in your soul—deep down there you know that God loves you and forgives you the faults that you can identify or not. But, healing of those faults is possible through this love that we know is there.
You are connected to a deep wellspring of life that is implanted deep in your own being. We might get lost in the haze of what life has become in this country of wealth and prosperity. But deep down within us there is a light that pierces through the haze. It’s not only a house built on a rock, it’s a lighthouse built on a rock, and the beacon of God’s love that shines out from it guides others who are on the stormy seas.
You also have the opportunity to build your house on the sand. You have the choice to build a beach hut (remember MoonDoggie’s beach hut in Gidget? Sometimes I have the fantasy of cashing in my chips and going to live in one of those and spend my days surfing and my nights) on the sands of our culture’s “Gospel.”
We can stake our claim to the impenatrible rock that is right below the surface of reality, or we can build it right on top of the sand—on the ideal of the “good life” that includes all the amenitites we could hope for, and goals that extend as far as upgrading to HDTV and coordinating our clothes in some perfect ensemble.

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