Sermon – 2nd Sunday after Pentecost “God is faithful”

May 25, 2008 at 6:14 am Leave a comment

Proper 3A – 2nd Sunday after Pentecost

May 25, 2008

 

You know, for someone who lived two thousand years ago,

this Jesus has a good idea about what we’re thinking about in the here and now.

It’s almost like he knew that we’d be worried about our lives,

in a time of rising prices and rising debt and a shrinking dollar.

 

But Jesus offers no bold political platform for change,

no economic plan to boost productivity and ensure that we will be worry-free

for a long time to come,

instead,

he simply says,

“Do not worry.”

Do not worry, because worry is an indication that we are trying to serve two masters,

when simple mathematics and the nature of masters

tell us that we can only serve one.

 

Worry, Jesus tells his disciples,

and at that time, of course, all of his disciples were Jews like he was –

worry is something that the Gentiles do.

Worry is something that all the nations that don’t have a faithful God do.

But we have a faithful God.

Therefore, why should we worry?

To worry about food and clothing is to act is if God is not a faithful God.

And Jesus is reminding us, gently, but firmly,

that if God is faithful to the birds,

and that if God is faithful to the flowers,

then God is faithful to us,

for God treasures us children far more than flowers or birds.

 

Several comments are in order here.

Firstly, Jesus reorients us to the basics of life.

Speaking to peasant folk of two thousand years ago,

he speaks more directly to the situation of most around the world today.

Food, clothing, shelter,

the necessities to live another day,

these are what Jesus says God is faithful in providing.

Not that we will get to go to the mall every week,

or that we will get to go on vacation,

or even what kind of food and clothing,

but that there will be food and clothing is what God promises.

In preparing for this sermon,

I came across a quote from a Mennonite biblical scholar

who was teaching on this text,

and what he said was this:

If you own more than one pair of shoes,

and you get to choose what you’re going to eat today,

by the whole world’s standards,

you’re wealthy.

 

Secondly, Jesus is not ignorant of disaster

such as the cyclone in Myanmar or the earthquake in China.

This is a general rule for a general situation:

Do not worry.

We human beings worry so much in times of relative peace and calm,

and Jesus is teaching us not to worry in such times,

maybe so when crisis does come,

we are ready to meet it.

 

But this is the lesson for today:

God is faithful.

Faithful to his people, faithful to his children.

In both the Old Testament and the Gospel lesson,

God’s care for us is compared to the care of a parent.

“Can a woman forget her nursing child,

or show no compassion for the child of her womb?”

asks God,

for God’s people have begun to worry,

that God has forgotten them,

that God has not been faithful to them.

“Even these may forget,”

yes, there are times when parents fail their children,

Yet I will not forget, says God,

for I have inscribed you upon the palm of my hand.

 

God is faithful,

but we are little-faith-people.

We are filled with worry.

We worry about what’s for dinner

when we could be thankful that there is dinner.

We worry about what we are going to wear

instead of being thankful that we are wearing something at all.

And we worry in our time

that God has forgotten us;

that God has forgotten our needs,

or the needs of the Church,

and that somehow it’s up to us to make happen whatever is going to happen.

 

What is the remedy for such worry?

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,

and these things will be given you as well.

Now there is something again important to notice.

It is not that we are to make the kingdom of God happen,

that somehow if we were better God-people then God will start providing for us.

But there is a remedy for fear – it is faith.

To seek first the kingdom of God makes it sound like

we’re looking for a place or a time where God is king –

instead we’re focusing on the fact that God is king and that God is righteous.

We are rejoicing in the present and active authority of God.

 

When children are in a loving and stable home,

they are free not to worry.

They know that their needs will be provided for,

and even many of their wishes will be granted.

There is a reason that Jesus said

that one had to receive the kingdom of God as a child.

To be child-like – not childish, but child-like,

is to rejoice in the heavenly Father

who like a mother responding to the needs of her children,

provides for their every need.

Seek this kingdom, seek this righteousness,

make that your chief and abiding concern,

and you may just find you need less than you thought you did,

and are free to give up more of what you have so that God may provide for others.

 

One more thing to wrap up.

We would be remiss if we did not address those situations

where the shaking of the earth brings schools down around their children

and winds rip up homes

and floods obliterate communities

and human beings who are supposed to be in charge

don’t fulfill their responsibilities.

God is faithful.

In life, but also in death,

God is faithful,

for those who live in faith know that not even death itself

can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Amen

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Entry filed under: Sermons.

It ain’t necessarily so… Sermon – June 1, 2008

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