Aug 30 Sermon
Let us Pray
Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.
Imagine if you will walking alone in the desert tending sheep when you see a flaming bush that is not being consumed. Might you be a bit curious and maybe a tiny bit nervous? But you are drawn to this miraculous event taking place. What thoughts must have ran through Moses’ mind. What do you think you might have done or thought? Add to that the voice of GOD letting you know you were going to be sent to the highest office in the current leadership chain and demand he let your people go from their slavery. The most well developed labor market of the time and you are going to demand, not suggest or negotiate, but demand the laborers be released and given their freedom. Piece of cake right? And the only assurance this will happen is the promise of GOD that HE will be with you through this task. So how do you begin the easy task? You go to the folks at home and repeat what you have been given to do and the one concrete concept to hold all this together is the affirmation God gives Moses and I quote “God said to Moses, “I AM
WHO I AM. This is my name forever, and this my title for all generations I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.” A very powerful and holy covenant.
And our guidance on how to accept and honor this most wonderful gift is simple. Live in love. Be not anxious or forlorn, our God is with us and remains with us always. Scripture says it beautifully “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers”. We are also directed to bless those who persecute us, this one really takes some hardcore faith because we are human our nature is not always in concert with this direction but we are told to bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Sometimes our nature is less than these expectations but God always offers forgiveness and redemption to those who truly ask. Revenge is many times our first thought but it is not what God has directed us to do. Our Lord expects of us this response to being hurt. “Never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” “If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
And the Gospel affirms these points in the message Jesus gives to his most trusted companions. “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? And the acknowledgement of who and what will follow for this world is provided for those that have ears. “For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
So what we hear today is a continuing assurance of God’s presence on our lives and HIS words of encouragement and love to take us through the most troubling of times with peace, grace, hope and love. Pandemic, social injustice, and prejudice are all causing us great concern and pain today and only by following the words and actions outline by our God can we truly experience what is and will be the solution to these challenges.
May the blessings of God Almighty Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with us and remain with us this day and forever.