DATE: 1 September 2013
TO: Yogyakarta International Congregation
TITLE: Trust God…
Hebrew Scripture-Psalm 81:1, 10-16
Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob. I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it. “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. O that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! Then I would quickly subdue their enemies, and turn my hand against their foes. Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him, and their doom would last forever. I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”
Gospel Reading-Luke 14: 1, 7-14
On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely. When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Good evening church, thank you for welcoming me into your church home! I want to thank Mas Martin for trusting me with the great responsibility of bringing a message to this congregation today. I bring you tidings on behalf of my home church Manantial de Gracia “Spring of Grace” in New Britain, CT; where Pastora Maritza deGonzalez is Pastor and where I have been serving as lay Minister of Discipleship as I continue my journey into ordination.
Todays Gospel Reading came from the Gospel according to Luke, chapter 14. Let me set the stage, Jesus has been invited to a sabbath dinner at the home of pharisees (religios scholars), people who know and follow God’s law, but arent sure Jesus does…these are people who always seem to set him up to fail…they seem to always have their eyes on what he has going on! In popular vernacular, theses are his Facebook stalkers, they always read what he post and know where he has been and with who, they are his twitter followers who read the posts but have nothing to contribute to the conversation!
That is the group that invited Jesus to dinner, not his friends, but rather his “friends”. Jesus sat at the table with them. A man with swollen joints catches his eyes. I remember my grandmother having had arthritis in her hands and i know how unbareable the pain would get for her, so i can only imagine the pain this man might have felt. But the Bible doesnt say the man asked for help or that the man said he was in pain only that he sat before Jesus and Jesus asked the scholars “is it permissable to heal on the day of rest? Yes or no”
The scholars had no responce, but Jesus healed the man and sent him on his way. He stumped the room by asking if the day of the week would matter if an animal or a child fell into a deep hole? Would you rescue them immediately or wonder about the time and day…?
But here is where the story gets good, Jesus does not stop there, he follows that little tidbit up with an obeservation for two groups:
Guests: stop trying to out do each other, quit fighting to be the best most honored of honored guests, sitting at what you think is the best seat in the house…only the host knows the order for his seating arrangements, and he might have to embarrasse you by asking you to move! I really enjoyed how this is worded in The Message, “what i am saying is, if you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face. But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”
Hosts: stop inviting people who can “help” your circumstances by inviting you to future parties instead learn to be host of those who can do nothing for you but who themselves are in need. “Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You’ll be—and experience—a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God’s people.” Before I continue, let us pray (mari kita berdoa):
This weeks sermon is titled: Trust God.
In Psalm 81, God says, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” That verse does not stipulate anything too difficult…just open up your mouth…talk to God. I tell you what the hard part is…it does not say that God is going to swiftly respond or comply…but people wanna concentrate on the promise and not the time. In our impatience it is easier to take action ourselves than to allow God to deliver at God’s Perfect Time!
Church we are GUESTS…But if we dont open our mouths and ask God, talk to God, pray to God we shouldnt be surprised to remain with empty mouths…lacking words of encouragement for ourselves and for others. The guests in todays scripture reading were so busy fighting for the seat of honor, that it didnt even occur to them to simply ask their host where they should sit! And patiently await a response!
Guests: dont try to take a place that is not yours, but rather trust God to place you where God wants you. We simply need to pray, meditate (listen as we wait), and take action accordingly!
As a church we are called to be HOSTS…not inviting those who can improve our circumstances but rather those who are in need. Last week during prayer time I heard the pain with which our intercessor prayed for those in need in our communities those who are hungry on the streets. Those who are addicted and afflicted those who are in peril and I wondered what is the churches responsibility what is the churches response? How can we be the hosts to those in need?
Last week those of us who were here heard the message bought forth by Bu Lyna. She asked us to remember what our child aged selves aspired to be… i believe her pharsing was, “what did you dream your future to be and who encouraged you to suceed?”
Many of us came up with wonderful responses, I am sure! We wanted to be doctors or teachers, race car drivers or astraunats…but I was reminded of something one of my church kids told me a few years back…
“Elly, when I grow up, i just want to be happy. i don’t think anyone in my family has ever been happy…”
Church, we need to open our hearts in prayer for those in our community who are in need. And let me tell you that you would be surprised at what the needs are. We the church are hosts. Not just to those those inside and outside the church who may not yet know God in a personal way, but also to those inside the church who are afflicted by unimaginable pains. Church trust God, trust that God has prepared you each to be leaders to be encouragers to bear witness to pray and to soothe. Trust God.
One of my 6 year olds Yamia, shared this message with me as a farewell:
God Bless Everybody
No matter what color you are…
No matter how you feel…
No matter where you come from…
Trust God, Amen!
Trust that God has deemed you worthy of mercy and love and if its true for you, its true of those around you. Be encouraged, God will provide. Trust that though God’s time and our time differ, Gods time is always perfect! Trust God. Amen.
Song: Because of WhoYou Are sung by: Vickie Yohe
Available on YouTube