DATE: 7 June 2015

TO: LakeView Congregational Church, UCC

TITLE: “S/He Saw me…NAKED!”   

Genesis 3: 8-15

They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.” The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”
TheGardenOfEden
“S/He Saw me…NAKED!”
Happy Sunday church!! Today, I join you in welcoming back Pastor Robert Ochoa who I am sure has been filled with new words and thoughts after what I am sure was a too brief sojourner to the borders between the US and Mexico. We welcome him back and look forward to hearing all about his trip in the weeks to come. (HAND OUT POST IT NOTES)
Now, Pastor Robert was not here last week, so he will be joining us today for the first time with his homework assignment for our Love Letter to God (POST IT NOTE TO ROBERT). Let me remind Robert of our assignment. It all started with the sermon “Behold, S/He is doing a NEW thing…” 
1. Pray 

2. Smile 

3. (If you have time) Stop and ask, “how are you?” 

4. Be Quiet 

5. Listen (Repeat)
And this message continued through last weeks sermon, “God, Jesus, the Spirit and I… (The Trinity plus me)” in which we acknowledged that our inheritance of the kindom of God was here on earth and not just in the gold paved heaven we each imagine. And that to be an heir of Jesus’ legacy means taking on the full yoke of responsibility for the continued work Jesus started here in this realm of existence.
And so we continue to share with each other (both inside the brick and mortar church and outside of the church building the love of God! Who has God placed in your path that you would like help in praying for?
So, I once more invite you to consider one specific person who you have spend time listening to. And now, I invite you to prayerfully help me to continue to write this LOVE LETTER to God. You have your post-it-notes, I invite you to write the name of an individual / or / a way that you think of them so that we as a congregation can prayerfully and intentional join you in prayer this week.
Introduction

Today is a common day according to the traditional church colors the church is redressed in green and once more we enter a period of “normalcy.” It is a typical day in church. There is nothing seasonally going on that needs to be acknowledged. Today we reach the first common day after feasting on Pentecost Sunday and feasting on Trinity Sunday! The church once more returns to green and all in normal! All is as it should be!

If we think back to the weather this week it is as though all of the rain and chill has made way for the grass to fill up and green to take hold of the very air we breathe…what a gift!
Behold, S/He is doing a NEW thing…

It is with this renewed breath of energy that we return once more to the Book of Genesis, to the beginning of our religious ancestry story. I invite you, if you are comfortable; to close your eyes and hear me repeat today’s Passage.  
I invite you to imagine that you are a part of the story. You are a bystander. You are innocent. You are not a participant in the conversation. Rather you are a fly on the wall, a “Blessed Bee”, a timid butterfly, a newly budding leaf, a flower:
In your state as an innocent, “inconsequential” observer you overhear a conversation between THE CREATOR and two of The Creator’s creations, man and woman.  
The Woman ate, gave some of the fruit to Man, who also ate.
After eating they saw that they were naked and sewed fig leaves together as makeshift clothes. 
Man and Woman hear God strolling through the garden in the evening breeze. They hide in the gardens trees. They hide from God.
Calling to Man, God asks: “Where are you?”
Man responds, “God, I heard you walking through the garden, but I got scared because I was naked. So, I hid!”
“Who said you were naked? Did you eat from the tree I told you not to eat?” asked God of Man.
“That Woman you gave me, she gave me fruit from that tree. And I ate it,” responded Man.
“What have you done?” God asked Woman.
“The serpent tempted me,” said Woman, “and I ate.”

This is Elly’s retelling from The Message
I have been attending church since as far back as I can remember, and there is one thing that I have never heard acknowledged. Let me see if any of you caught the same word as I did…
NAKED?! The Man and the Woman were naked and now that they had eaten from the fruit and are dressed, for the first time…now they hide because of their nakedness? That makes absolutely no sense!
Why hide after you have clothes on, if what has you embarrassed is your nakedness?
Today’s sermon is titled: “S/He Saw me…NAKED!”
God, Jesus, the Spirit and I… (The Trinity plus me

As a child I had been taught that the problem was that Man and Woman were naked, and so God chastised them, clothed them and punished them. But it seems, that Man and Woman were already dressed when they spoke to God.

Let’s go back to the word naked. Could the problem be that God saw them unclothed as my childhood self imagined?
If we think about it logically, God as Creator created Man and Woman without clothes. God knew every piece, every part, every follicle, every need that Man and Woman possessed. To be naked before God, was creations natural state. Naked.  
I invite you to return for a moment to that innocent state of being an inconsequential observer of The Creator and two of The Creator’s creations, man and woman. Man and Woman come to be known as Adam and Eve. 

 
Adam, is the Hebrew word for “man” and some believe that the word ‘adam means “to be red” as in the ruddy color of human skin, the reddish hue of moistened soil or adamu which means ‘to make.”  
Eve comes from the Hebrew name Chawwah which means “to breath” or chayah, which means “to live.” God breathed life into creation. In English, the word eve is the day or period of time immediately before an event or an occasion.
Naked…so then, what does it mean for God’s creation to be naked? The word Naked means:

“without clothes” nude, bare, undressed

“without the usual covering or protection” unprotected, unguarded, exposed

“without leaves, hairs, scales, shell” bare, stripped, uncovered

“exposed to harm” unprotected, vulnerable, weak, powerless, defenseless, helpless
But God already knew that Adam and Eve were naked…and God already knew that Adam and Eve were clothed. God had made them without clothes, exposed, uncovered, unprotected from the elements… But suddenly in their clothed state, no longer exposed, covered in leaves, protected from the elements they hide.
There is another type of naked, which I had not previously considered. And it is mental state. A state in which there are no barriers between our internal self and our internal self. It is, that state of full uncovered nudeness in which we are bare for all to see.  
Could that be the nakedness that they were still trying to hide from God. Their thoughts. Their emotions. Their human frailties and ineptitudes that had them suddenly baffled by their own sense of powerless sense of unprotected vulnerability. Helpless. Bare. Unguarded. Exposed. Naked.
That is the nakedness they could not hide from! That yucky state of being fully aware of our lack of control. Our emotions made visible for all to see. Our hearts bleeding through our consciousness. Being aware that God can really see all of who we are.
It is in that vulnerable state that Man and Woman met God. It is in that state of discomfort and disrobement that we must make a decision… should we hide from God or instead choose to cling to our Creator for support?
That is the question that I read between the lines of today’s Genesis reading. A choice that we must each make alone.
God is patient. God is kind. God awaits our response.

Amen!

Sacrament of Holy Communion
Invitation

All are welcome at this table, free to partake. In this church, we believe in extragant welcome…no one is denied access to God’s grace. If you feel called to be with us, consider yourself invited and loved. Free to share in this meal with us!
You are welcome, Invited, you are family and friend…beloved by His grace. By God’s forgivess. And most of all you are invited because just as you are YOU ARE LOVED.
All are invited to share in God’s grace. 

Here it is, a common table. Here it is a sacramental table.

Where no one is turned away. Where all God’s people have a place.

Here is the welcome God offered when God said let there be light, and there was light Here is the welcome God offered when God said let the waters beneath flow together so dry ground may appear.

Here, at this table is with God’s creation. When God looked over all God declared it good, saying, “it is good.”

We have been declared good. We have been deemed worthy.

Here is the Church, gathered in Christ’s name. 

Baptized in the Holy Spirit. And bound by love. Here we are, gathered by faith
Prayer of Confession

Let us pray in silent confession:

(Silent Prayer of Confession) …amen!
Words of Institution and Sharing of the Elements

And now, let us hear again the story of how this meal was first celebrated…On the night on which Jesus was betrayed, Jesus sat at supper with his disciples: students, friends, travel-mates, even one who would betray him…
While they were eating, he took a piece of bread, blessed it and gave it to them saying: 

“This is my body broken for you.” (BREAK THE BREAD) 

“Take and eat, in remembrance of me.” (DISTRIBUTION OF BREAD)
In the same way, Jesus took a chalice, filled it with wine and said, “This is my blood shed for you.” (PRESENT THE CHALICE)  

He passed it to all who were gathered saying, “Take and drink, of this cup, filled to overflowing by my love.” (DISTRIBUTION OF WINE) 
Prayer of Thanksgiving

Remain with us, O God. Make this feast the nourishment we need to grow more wild and wonderful. Graft us onto the vine of your Beloved so that we might grow more connected with you and all of creation. With this food and this drink, let us be the love that we have found in you and your Beloved. Amen.
Benediction:

Please remain seated through the Benediction, and join us for a Time to Share and Care: 

This is the day that the lord has made we will rejoice and be glad in it. We give thanks for the steadfast love… We give thanks for Gods gift for each of Gods creation. Let all Gods people say amen and amen

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