Narrating Grace

Sermon for February 3, 2013

Leave a comment

Text: Jeremiah 1:4-10, Luke 4:21-30

The Word of the Lord came to me.

I thought…

It would build me up, but it broke me in half.
I was too young to hear it, but it claimed to create me from the beginning.
When Jeremiah hears God calling him, he claims he doesn’t know how to speak because he’s only a boy.  God says, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’, for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you.”
It would fill my heart with fear, but it terrified me to my very core.
Throughout the Bible, whenever God or God’s messengers appear, they find terrified people.  So often throughout Scripture we hear, “Do not be afraid.”
It would close my mouth in humility, but it commanded me to speak.

The Word of the Lord came to me.

I thought…

It would humble me, but it appointed me above the nations.
It would look for someone better, but it found me.
Eula Hall, an Appalachian activist with only an 8th grade education, founded Mud Creek Clinic many years ago in southeastern Kentucky to provide health care for the poor.  She calls herself “the hillbilly activist.”  She said, “I looked, and I said to myself, ‘taint right like this, no medical service here, taint right. Somebody needs to act.’ I guess that somebody was me.”
It would give me comfort, but it commanded me to destroy and overthrow.
The Freedom Riders risked their lives during the Civil Rights movement by riding public transportation throughout the South and challenging the unjust laws.  They were committed to nonviolent action, and they were regularly beaten and jailed.  Many of them were in their 40s and 50s.
It would leave me in ruins, but it called me to open up a new creation.
The actions of the Freedom Riders led to the credibility of the Civil Rights movement and helped bolster civil rights campaigns, desegregation, and fair voter registration.
It would make me special, but it made me see the outsider.
Jesus’ hometown church thought they were important because they knew him from when he was young.  Jesus deeply offended them and led them to violent rage by saying he came for the outsiders and not only for them.  A good clue: if people aren’t special in our society, chances are they are the most special people to God.

The Word of the Lord came to me.

I thought…

It would predict the future, but it gave me the truth about the present.
Prophets don’t predict the future.  Instead they give the truth about right now. 
It would give me visions of the fruits of my work, but it forced me to be patient and rely on God.
It would give me peace, but it made me open my eyes to suffering.

The Word of the Lord came to me.

I thought…

It would center me, but it flung me to the outer edges of society.
It would slow me down, but it sent me on a journey to Jerusalem.
It would quench my thirst, but it walked me into the desert.
It would protect me, but it allowed me to go the cross.
Following Jesus means to follow the path of the cross.  We die to selfishness, greed, ambition, jealousy, and consumerism.  We are raised to a new life of joy, promise, hope and justice.

The Word of the Lord came to me.

I thought…

It would stay steady, but it crossed all boundaries, including the tomb.
It would only speak to me, but it became a man who died for me.
It would tell me why I don’t deserve to hear it.  It gifted me with pure grace and love.

I thought the Word of the Lord would break me down.  It did.  And it gave me a new beginning—one full of salvation, hope, and a meaningful life.

The Word of the Lord came to me.

I thought…

It would speak and I would listen. 

I became a Living Word.

Amen.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s