6-28-15, Pentecost 5 (PR) Blessing and Obedience, Traditional

SERMON – June 28, 2015
Exodus 19:3-7; 20:1-17

(PLEASE NOTE that the following sermon was a one-person monologue, so the text here is an approximation of the spoken sermon content.)

So … you met me last week I hear.
Talked about the Exodus story.
Escape from Egypt.
Great moment – God & people … me
My Charlton Heston moment.
Excitement, joy, action…..

This week it’s a little different, right?
Things harsher out here in desert.
Dry ground, stones, barren.
Not so much joy out here.

God delivered on his part//bargain
Blessing – rescued us from Egypt.
Promised to be our God.
I am the Lord your God.
Starts with gift – how to protect it.
Wrote it on stones, so important.
Not like this one, of course.
Jews think sapphire or lapis.
Tablets//stone – read later in Exodus.
Seen that scene in the movies, too.

Problem – not the only stone around.
Fair amount of stone in here.
Stubborn – disobey – covet – selfish
Plenty of that going around.

Problem is obedience, right?
We’re not very good at it.
Stoney in here – do what I want to do
I’m not Charlton Heston today.
No hero today, that’s for sure.

More like Richard Dreyfus…
… playing Tevye the Milkman
Nudgy, irritating, know-it-all
Made my daughters crazy – Russian
Made the Jews crazy – in desert
I make you crazy, if you’re honest.
It’s because of the stone in here.
Remember how I described my Jews.
Stubborn – disobey – covet – selfish
A lot of that going around.

Kinda puzzling – you have a Moses.
You call him Jesus, I believe.
He was solid rock, too.
Your Gospel writers remind you.
Have you not read this
scripture: “The stone that the
builders rejected has become
the cornerstone.”
Jesus named his fav disciple – Rock.
Jesus also about writing laws.
Wrote them on your heart.
But sometimes our hearts are stone

You want church mission to thrive …
.… also want your Beemer
We want to help stop malaria …
…. also want that shore vacation.
We want to be generous tithers …
…. When we have enough left over

Problem …
See these as rewards earned
Instead of blessings bestowed.
God always starts with BLESSING

Study page in bulletin – Serm Mount.
They start with blessings – Beatitudes.
Blessed receive … comfort, the earth,
called children of God, KofG, mercy.

We are called to act in ways that
protect those blessings.
You know some else – spoke like this
15th century friar named Luther.
Catechism – Ten Commandments.
Remind us who controls important.
God — blesses us.

God invites us to use those blessings
well and faithfully.
We are stewards of the gifts of God.

Why does God bother, you ask?
Because God believes in us – you/me.
We are given these rich blessings.
AND given hearts that are NOT stone.
God trusts us to use them well.
To be people – acting faithfully.
Going back to your man Luther, I
am told that he wrote these words
in a sermon preached in Wittenberg
almost 500 years ago:

“This grace of God is a very great, strong, mighty and active thing. It does not lie asleep in the soul. Grace hears, leads, drives, draws, changes, works all in man, and let’s itself be distinctly felt and experienced. It is hidden, but its works are evident.”
You have this hidden power in you.
THIS does not have to be a stone.
We have not always lived as if our
hearts are alive – not me, not you.
But we can.

Next week, we’ll meet a man named
Joshua.
Made choices that showed what his
heart was made of.
Our people (Israel) showed the same.
I hope to see you next week.

Rev. Craig Ross

Rev. Craig Ross

Senior Pastor

I have always appreciated the positive perspective on life and faith that is here… the broad range of life/social/political perspectives in our congregation… and the staff with whom I am blessed to work.