DATE: 10 November 2013
TO: Yogyakarta International Congregation
TITLE: If GOD is love…stop the panic
Hebrew Scripture Haggai 1:15b-2:9 (NIV)
In the second year of King Darius, on the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: “Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people. Ask them, ‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’ “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”
Psalm 17:1-8 (NIV)
Hear me, Lord, my plea is just; listen to my cry. Hear my prayer— it does not rise from deceitful lips. Let my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right. Though you probe my heart, though you examine me at night and test me, you will find that I have planned no evil; my mouth has not transgressed. Though people tried to bribe me, I have kept myself from the ways of the violent through what your lips have commanded. My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not stumbled. I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings (Psalm 17:1-8 NIV)
Gospel Reading Luke 20:27-38 (NIV)
Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. The second and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. Finally, the woman died too. Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?” Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”
If GOD is Love…Stop the Panic
Good evening church, thank you for your continued prayers and welcome! I don’t know about you but as “summer” ends, in the new england tradition my mind starts thinking of hearth and home. Not having the big weather changes that we experience in New England here in Indonesia you might not be familiar with this notion.
See in New England we experience 4 fully functioning seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter). And each season is thought to illicit a response in the way we interact one with the other. Spring is spent thinking about the upcomming thaw and planning what is necessary for the upcomming summer. Summer is time spent outside enjoying nature alone and with friends. Fall is a time when we prepare our homes for the cold, we think about how best to keep warm and what supplies will be necessary to make it through the difficult winter ahead. Winter, winter is all about bundling up and getting coozy and for many, it is time spent enveloped, as if in a crush. More on that later!
God is love… God wants us to love one another… One of my favorite Scripture references, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…and…love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
Church, over the last few months we have spoken about being mirrors of God and we have spoken about prayer as a way to claim and reclaim God’s freedom and mercy for ourselves and for those around us! But today….today I invite you to think about love!
I might be alone in this, but how many of you have EVER had a crush? For those of you who are unfamiliar with that word I looked it up, when used as a verb according to the Webster Dictionary CRUSH is defined as:
1- to deform, pulverise, or force inwards by compressing forcefully… “to crease or crumble”
2- to violently subdue… “as in the case of a rebellion”
3- to bring about a feeling of overwhelming dissapointment or embarassment in someone… “humiliate or demoralize”
4- but, when used informally, crush means to have an intense infatuation…as an informal noun, crush means “a brief but intense infatuation for someone, especially someone unattainable or inappropriate.” Synonyms for CRUSH include: infatuation, obsession, and passion.
Before I continue, let us pray: …
This weeks sermon is titled: If GOD is Love…Stop the Panic!
When was the last time that you found yourself in the midst of a major crush? Where the mere thought of the name filled your heart with longing. Where you prepare yourself to see and be seen as if it would be the last time EVER. The phone rings and your heart skips a beat! And still. CRUSH! This is not that.
Some of us are stuck, there. We need to talk about that so you can recognize this. God is love. All love flows from God.
In that gap situation between a crush and a real love affair. And I am here to tell you…God does not have a crush on you. It is not fleeting, it is all consuming, all encompassing. All strength all real. But do you dare? Dare to love God with the same strength…
If God is Love
If God is love, then why do we suffer?
If God is love, why am I so lonely?
If God is love, why are you heart broken?
If God is love, why did she, why did he, why did they…die?
God did not promise easy.
God promised eternity.
God promised mercy.
God promised love.
If God is eternity, why death?
If God is happiness, why pain?
If God is, then why…why…why…loneliness?
God is with you in everything.
In pain, God is there.
In tears, God is there.
But we treat God like a crush;
Calling God’s name in our need, in our desire.
We treat God like a crutch;
using God as though to do our bidding.
QUOTE: Do not fear.’ “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” Haggai 1:15b-2:9 (NIV)
So, why the panic? God will grant peace. But the implication of peace is struggle. And what is that “seperation” of former and present houses? Does that mean that things today are better than yesterday?
QUOTE: But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive. Luke 20:27-38 (NIV)
it seems that God is speaking to all who will rise out of death to join with our Creator. It seems that marriage is for humanity, but true marriage…like true love is between Individual believerss and a loving God, and that relationship will continue past our logical human understanding and frailties and limitation.
“Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, or engraved in rock forever! I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:23-27 NIV)
You might have a crush on God, but God has a love on you. Stop panicking as you try to fit into the mold you think God has for you and open yourself to Love. That unconditional love that nurtures you now and will craddle you later. That love that has no reason for being but is. Not a crush, LOVE. Amen.
Song: I am not forgotten sung by: Israel and New Breed
God, I know YOU have many names and many children, and we don’t know them all. But I ask that YOU continue to flow love our way, that every interaction we have with those around us will be infused with that love Lord. Creator thank you for our names. Thank you for keeping our names safe for us no matter our struggles…we are your children. Amen.