Thursday, May 31, 2007

The part she missed

I failed to mention in my last post that S was not only upset, but she had left the service early in frustration. Ironically, she missed this message:

This morning we have already heard about the incomprehensibility of God. God’s actions in our world push the limits of reason and force us to believe with our hearts, with faith. And, part of our response to God’s action in our own lives is to respond in kind. Our Christian discipleship begs us to act like God. We are called to do things as equally inexplicable. You may say, “well Pastor, I am not baptizing anyone with fire or able to give anyone the ability to speak a different language on the spot. How am I supposed to do things inexplicable like God does?” It’s a good thing you asked! The elements of Christian living may seem ordinary to us after a life time in the church, or they may seem like “just what you do” for someone who is new to the church, but for the world, for those who do not know God, who do not believe in the changing power of the gospel—some of the things we do as Christians seem pretty weird. Praying for miraculous healings with medical science says there is no hope. There are many who have labeled such acts of faith as emotionally clouded logic-lacking superstition. Partaking in the bread and juice—the body and the blood of Christ—to be cleansed of our sins and granted life anew—not exactly mainstream for a culture that endorses self-centered action for personal gain. Offering welcome to the forsaken, the marginalized, the forgotten. We offer food, shelter, home to those who have been ignored by their families, denounced by society, and hated by individuals. Not only do we offer them hospitality when they come, but we even go out and find them so that they might know the love of Christ. We do weird things. We are called to live the illogical, the perplexing, the wondrous. We are called to help the pedophile, the murderer, and the rapist. We are called to offer everyone a second chance, a third or fourth even. We are called to keep on giving, even and especially to those who are deemed “undeserving”. The world often looks at us and laughs—we are gullible, we are wasting our time and energy for a world that will “never change.” We persist with notions of peace, inclusion, and justice in times of war, rejection, and pervasive injustice. We persist with hope—the unreasonable answer in a world fraught with hurt, disease, disaster, and disorder. We persist with the Spirit of God—a Spirit that breaks the bonds of logic and invites us into the kingdom of hope. We persist with Pentecost, where all can hear God’s message in his or her own tongue. We persist in sharing the gospel where it has been heard and ignored, heard and ignored. We persist in sharing food with those who have none hoping their bellies are full and their souls are healed. We persist offering welcome, hospitality, home and hope to a world ravaged by sin—all because of the incomprehensible God. Because for our world to truly be healed---for their to be peace, justice, love, happiness, inclusion, and a future for all of God’s people God has got to break the bonds of reason, do the unbelievable and transform each and every one of us. God must continue to baptize us with fire so that we might burn with good news, burn with joy, burn with a message we are bursting to share with the world. God must transform us in droves, must do the unthinkable for otherwise we might mistake God’s actions for our own. God’s incomprehensibility reminds us that it is God acting and not us, that it is God speaking, moving and changing, and not us. Only when things push beyond logic, reason, and linear thought, only when God can be the only answer do we know, without a doubt, that there has been a Pentecost moment. There has been a God moment—God has taken action yet again, inexplicably and yet undeniably. God pushed the boundaries—God proved the mystery to be wondrous and perplexing—God anoints with fire, gifts us with the extraordinary and calls us into the world to serve as God’s hands, feet, mouth, and voice that all might see, hear, and believe. Amen.

It seems like the morning's message would have spoken directly to her, had she stayed and been open to hearing it. Pray for S, that God will speak to her and that her heart will be unhardened.

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