Sunday, March 01, 2009

Reflections from today

today didn't go as planned in any sense of the word. Pastor Nancy called at 7:10 and said she had the flu and i had to cover today. yikes!

so we found a really good sermon written by Dr. Susan Fleming McGurgan you can read it here. but i added a few things that i would like to highlight here.

Mark’s Gospel hurls us,
ready or not,
into a lonely and barren wilderness—
a desert—
where everything
either bites
or burns
or stings.

Sometimes, the wilderness can feel a lot like home.

The single mom, stretched so thin that she almost disappears, knows the desert of exhaustion and guilt.

The rejected child, watching silently from beyond the playground, knows the desert called Loneliness.

The convict, numb to the brutality that surrounds him, knows the desert of violence and regret.

The person who has just realize their sexuality and now must come out of the closet, not knowing how their friends and family will react. This is the desert of fear and alienation.

Our nation is in a desert. With two wars, a collapsing economy, and a two party system that is not on speaking terms, we are now in the desert of an uncertain future.

We know the truth about deserts, don’t we?

The truth is; Jesus has been there first.

It was nice to have the support of my wife and the congregation at Trinity Reformed. It affirmed that this is my call and that i can wing it if needed. good day today, despite a sick pastor and the chaotic beginning.


Anonymous said...

Here is my one comment on this - make the messages specific. I find our faith functions in the vagueness of scripture - in allegory - in allusions - in metaphors...etc. But what we miss is the obvious. My 2 cents. We need less poets and more sheperds.

That being said - I like the sermon about the desert - and maybe it's openness lets me decide what 'desert' I am in...and yes - I was really deep into one that burnt, stung, and bit. I speak of my recent struggles of hurt and now fixture.

That all made me realize one thing - faith is so much more deeper than most are letting on. God is so much more complex than most want to admit. Life is filled with choices - good and bad - but we are masters of our perspectives. Life is rich.

I have a chance to see Egypt - as I am going to Greece - maybe I will check out the Sphinx and Pyramids...the pics look cool.

Luke said...

of course our faith functions in metaphor... because any naming of God in human vocabulary is inadequate.We can use all the metaphors and images yet all of these fail, as they are not completely accurate or encompassing.

so i would say that pastors need to be BOTH poets and shepards. poets when giving sermons, shepards when with the individual and his or her desert.

i'll paint a picture, you find yourself in it, and we'll talk about it. imagine if i got up and spoke directly about your desert and named your pain. i would run the risk of completely misnaming your experience! because your experience is not mine. such is the risk of giving sermons.

plus i had 40 minutes to prepare this... so not all the imagery was mine.. but my next sermon is on Ecc 3. i hope to speak more directly to this deal.

when are you going to Greece?! that'll be awesome! i hope you get a chance to head down to Egypt. I would suggest Luxor and Alexandria and THEN Cairo. Cairo is a tad overwhelming in terms of congestion and touristy stuff. but the pyramids and sphynx were pretty awesome.

thanks for your 2 cents, as always dude. i love getting your input! don't be a stranger ;-)

Anonymous said...

Our pastor preached on deserts Saturday night, and it might be a bit of a different take. I like it. He contrasted what we usually think of Christ as he was tempted in the desert for 40 days, that he was barely alive and starving, with the idea that the desert was actually intentional preparation for his confrontation with Evil. He actually was strenghtened and sharper and heightened and more prepared to face what lied before him because of the desert. It was preparation in the desert, not exhaustion. I like that image so very much. In fact, I love it. And I love the actual desert.

Luke said...

deserts are places of great beauty. this sermon sorta touches on that saying that there are seeds lying within the soil that we don't see. they're lying in wait for just a little water to blossom.

maybe that water is our tears? i think Jason can testify to that, but i don't want to put words in his mouth.