Monday, March 21, 2011

March 20 Sermon, Hope Floats

Genesis 7: 1-18
1 Peter 3: 13-22

Don’t get the wrong idea about why I chose this scripture in relation to events in Japan over the past week. I actually started planning this sermon two weeks ago and had originally chose it to relate the 40 days of rain to the 40 days of Lent that we observe.
Feeling safe and secure. Feeling rescued.
The one cruise ship experience I have had was not very enjoyable, though free. I was a youth minister in Bartlesville, and another friend of mine from college said a couple of them were going down to the Bahamas to check out a mission site, and had received a grant to take a first hand look at no expense. They invited me along too.
We were told we were going to be taking a cruise ship from Ft. Luderdale to the Bahamas, and this got me pretty excited too.
Got pretty seasick.
Noah’s Ark:
The Problem: Our lives are filled with chaos, and we’re in danger of drowning in the chaos.
Relate the ark narrative to the cross. Perhaps have a pillow of blue sheer on the altar with the ark on it on the cross.
What shall we do? Turn the church into an ark. In here, we cultivate the practices that will have a part in our “working out our salvation with fear and trembling.”
Jesus built an ark with his life. He faced the hard, relentless rain of temptation and persecution.
In the wilderness, where the Israelites wandered for 40 years, Jesus found himself attended by angels
Are we more prone to notice that God provides the flood or that God provides the ark?
The great rabbinic commentator Nachmanides wrote that God gave the Rainbow by turning upside down the bow of war. "See," said God; "My bow can no longer shoot from Heaven. It is now my sign of peace and love and hope."

Job’s friends are obsessed with suffering and how to explain it. They give all kinds of reasons amnd make all kinds of connections. God doesn’t listen to them. God sweeps them aside and gives ear to the sufferer, Job. It is not the best argument that wins the day—it is the plea.

Teva, the word for the Ark that saved the future from the Flood, is also the word for "word." As Noah could not simply contemplate the Teva/Ark but had to enter it to save the creatures, so we have been taught ? by the Baal Shem Tov, for instance ? that we cannot simply mouth a Teva/word of prayer, but must ourselves go deep within it, to save and heal ourselves."

Monday, March 07, 2011

Transfiguring Us Out

Texts: 2 Peter and Matthew

Sermon Notes:
This is always the scripture we hear right before we head into lent.
Reminder that it’s not just on the mountaintop with his face shining that Jesus exhibits the true nature of our God.
Also in the valley.
Transfiguring us (out)
Can we be transfigured? Can we change from one thing to another? Can we change from unappreciative, and self centered to humble and joyful?
Jesus tells a story about a boy who did just that in the prodigal son story. He tells of a loving God who longs to receive us into the arms of gladness.
Last week we spoke about Jesus’ proclamation to “not worry.” Can we be transfigured from worry-wart to care-free spirit. That seems like a pretty tall order! Can we overcome our “personality type?”
We hear about God taking Moses as a stuttering, hiding shepherd and making him into a someone who issues commands on behalf of God to the pharaoh, and then leading a people into the wilderness after a promise of a new land.
We see in this scripture and in most of the new testament, that Peter can sometimes be a bull-headed, stammering fool. And yet after the resurrection, he becomes an inspiring preacher, illuminating thousands of people with the light of Christ.
Ask God for the gift if you want to be changed, sometimes you’ve got to let something die inside you for something new to be born.
Paul spoke about this
I die daily. What is sown must die before being reaped in glory. We must be open to God doing open heart surgery on us. God will turn our hearts of stone into living things.
I will put a new heart and a new spirit within you.
O Splendor of God’s Glory Bright 679.
Miracle of Transfiguration in life
‘ ‘ in death.
Transfiguration as Sanctification. Big words.
We come closer to the image of God. We shine with the light of God in our lives, not only when we are on the mountaintop, but when we are living the law—living justice and mercy and devotion and worship.
This is the transfiguration station. We are here to be transfigured, and “transfigure out” our lives.