2 Samuel 7:1-11 Luke 1:26-28 “Have A Mary Christmas” December 21, 2014 Advent 4 Mary, Nazareth girl, what did you know of ethereal beings with messages from God? What did you know of men when you found yourself with child? What did you know of babies, you, barely out of childhood yourself? God-chosen girl; What […]
Have you ever noticed that Jesus places a great deal of emphasis on our need to forgive others? Forgiving others is one of the most important of Jesus’ teachings, and one of the keys to living the Christian life. In fact, Jesus even goes so far as to say that if you’re not willing to […]
Moses is one of the most fascinating men in history. I’m sure that many of you remember, as I do, watching Cecil B. DeMille‘s movie “The Ten Commandments” when you were younger. Who can forget scenes such as Charleston Heston, playing the part of Moses, holding up his hand and parting the Red Sea or standing atop Mi. Sinai with the stone tablets of the 10 Commandments in his hands as the lightning flashes around him? More recently Disney came out with “The Prince Of Egypt”, an animated film about Moses, and a new generation became impressed with the life and character of Moses, I remember taking a group of young people to see the movie and, as it showed Moses parting the sea and the people walking across, one of the young people looked up at me and said, with wide – eyed amazement: “Now that’s something you don’t see every day!”
Have you ever felt that people were mistreating you? Have you ever been hurt by someone and had the feeling that the way they are treating you, or the things that they were saying about you, were just not fair? Or have you ever thought that someone was mistreating you by their words or actions, even if they were not?
How does feeling that someone is mistreating you make you feel?
What do you want to do to someone who you feel in mistreating you?
Do you want to retaliate and mistreat them? Do you want to hurt them as much as they have hurt you, or worse? Do you want to “get even” with them? These are indeed human emotions and may be our natural inclinations towards those who mistreat us.
Get even. Get revenge. An eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I wonder if that’s the best way to treat those who mistreat you. That may be our first inclination, but I am not sure it’s our best. Not only might it put a lot of dentists, optometrists and ophthalmologists out of business due to the number of toothless and eyeless people in the world, but I wonder if it would really solve anything, and I really wonder if it’s the way God would have us act.
Several years ago Bill Murray starred in the movie “What About Bob?” In it he plays Bob Wiley, the patient of a psychiatrist who is desperately trying to take a vacation with his family, but Bob does not think he can make it a month while his psychiatrist is on vacation. He takes the bus from New York to the psychiatrists’ vacation home in New Hampshire and spends the entire month with the psychiatrist and his family. In the process the psychiatrist learns how much good he is doing others and decides to continue the practice, although at the start of his vacation he was ready to quit.
At one point the psychiatrist says : “You know – I never thought anyone was counting on me!”
It’s a funny movie, and it shows how we need to be available for others, even when it’s not convenient to us.
So might the headline read if this were a story in our local paper. Jacob – the one who had tricked his older brother Esau out of his birthright and blessing – Jacob – the one who had deceived his dying father Isaac into blessing him instead of Esau – Jacob – the ultimate trickster – is now tricked.
We smile when we read the passage – don’t we? 7 years of labor to marry his love –
then a dark night, a veiled bride, a shared bed, then in the light of morning – surprise!
Have you ever had one of those times when it seemed that everything is going against you, that no one cares for you, that you are desperate and alone – but suddenly in the midst of that desperation and loneliness something happens and somehow you experience God in a new way, in such a way that it becomes clear to you that God is with you and suddenly you no longer feel so alone but feel a part of a community that includes none other than God, God’s self?
Ever had an experience like that?
Many of us can tell stories of times God has come to us and shown us His presence and His love, His care, just when it may have seemed to us that no one cared.
Not many people like dirt. It’s usually something you try to get rid of. Things that are dirty are usually considered bad. Most people like things clean instead of dirty. When your house is dirty, you clean it. When your car is dirty, you want to wash it so it can be clean. When your clothes are dirty, you wash them so they can be clean. When you are dirty, you take a bath or a shower so you can be clean.
Most of us like things clean instead of dirty.
Unless, of course, you are a kid.
Maybe it’s because I use them so much, some might say I use them too much, but I love words and what they mean and where they are derived from. The other day I discovered a new word – stravacide. It’s a word created by and being used by serious bik racers. The “cide” suffix has the same meaning as it does in words like homicide, which is death caused by a human being, or suicide, when you cause your own death, or fratricide, which means death caused by a brother. The suffix cide means “the act of killing.” So in this new word being used by avid bike racers, stravacide means “death by strava”.
That really explains a lot, doesn’t it?
Just what is strava– and how is death caused by it?
Last week I mentioned my Dad in my sermon and how the older I get, the more I resemble him. Those of you who have been to the manse and seen pictures of Dad know exactly what I am talking about — Dad’s hairline – or lack thereof — and mine are the same. Pictures of Dad in his younger years show that he had dark, thick, wavy hair as a teenager. Pictures of me in my teen years show that I had thick wavy hair at one time also. Then, as Dad liked to say about himself, all my wavy hair waved goodbye! When I was Ordained into the Ministry 30 years ago Dad spoke at the service – and commented that he taught me a lot of things – not the least of which was how to comb my hair!