DATE: 10 January 2016
TO: Manantial de Gracia
SERIES: Series Title: Are you ready? For God has Made a New Thing…
TITLE: Reverse to the Days of YOUR Youth (Regresa a los días de tu Juventud)

LLAMADO A COMUNIDAD / CALL TO COMMUNITY
(Children’s Prayers from Around the World by Mary Batchelor)

One: May my mouth praise the love of God this morning. Que mi boca alabe el amor de Dios esta mañana.
All: O God, may I do your will this day. Oh Dios, puedo hacer su voluntad este día.

May my ears hear the words of God and obey them. Que mis oídos oigan las palabras de Dios y obedecerlas.
O God, may I do your will this day. Oh Dios, puedo hacer su voluntad este día.

May my feet follow the footsteps of God this day. Que puedan mis pies seguir los pasos de Dios este día.
O God, may I do your will this day. Oh Dios, puedo hacer tu voluntad este día.

All: AMEN.

ENGAGING THE WORD: Jeremiah 31: 21-22 (NIV/NVI)
“Set up waymarks for yourself,
make yourself guideposts;
consider well the highway,
the road by which you went.
Return, O virgin Israel,
return to these your cities. How long will you waver, O faithless daughter?
For the Lord has created a new thing on the earth: a woman protects a man.”

»Ponte señales en el camino,
coloca marcas por donde pasaste, fíjate bien en el sendero.
¡Vuelve, virginal Israel;
 vuelve a tus ciudades! ¿Hasta cuándo andarás errante,
hija infiel?
El Señor creará algo nuevo en la tierra,
la mujer regresará a su esposo.»

Reverse to the Days of YOUR Youth (Regresa a los días de tu Juventud)

Happy Sunday Church! I was so glad to see many of you join together on Wednesday for our community Epiphany Service. Thank you to Ms. LaBoy and Ms. Epiphany for saying presente and coming forth to organize and plan and dance with us. God has made a new thing we keep repeating!

And today’s word from Jeremiah 31: 21-22 says,

“Set up waymarks for yourself,
 make yourself guideposts;
consider well the highway,
the road by which you went.
Return, O virgin Israel,
return to these your cities. How long will you waver, O faithless daughter?
For the Lord has created a new thing on the earth: a woman protects a man.”

There are a few words that jumped out at me, signs leading back to a different time…signs leading us back to our childhood…signs leading us towards a more innocent way of being…

I was reminded of a worship service in our previous building where we entered the sanctuary and were bombarded with ROAD SIGNS that expressed a familiar message:

-DO NOT ENTER
-STOP
-ONE WAY

That day’s preacher had invoked and infused those words with the Spirit of God’s word, putting Biblical passages on the signs as reminders that God is the way the truth and the light. That we can do all things and go to all places with and through Christ who strengthens us.

But as I read today’s scripture verse I wondered how often we avoid the signs that lead us to remember our more innocent ways of being.

Today’s reading says, oh Virgin Israel RETURN… O faithless daughter (and that does not exclude sons) how long will you waver…

Necessary Endings and New Things, start with signs, signs that speak to us…these signs are usually not new. See, usually they are signs and messages we have been ignoring for so long that they have become part of our “normal” scenery and so have become like the stop sign at the end of my street, that I stop at even when the sign has fallen over and become covered by winters snow. It becomes routine to see it even when it is no longer there.

The sign can be like the school bus stop signs that I look at as I drive through New Hartford and Barkhampstead that in order for me to notice these signs that have become so commonplace, the city has changed some of them to be florescent green and so I SEE THEM ANEW.

Or maybe it is like that first time that we fall in love, where all we see are reminders of the awesomeness that is that person who our heart calls out for. When even the phone ringing reminds us that they are not with us and we miss them all over again. Do you remember missing someone?

Let us go back to the day’s of our youth when we first heard our calling and even in the midst of the fear and discomfort we knew that we had found HOME. Church, we need to set up roadmaps and reminders of the love that we have for God, that we may find our way home once more…

“Set up signposts to mark your trip home.
Get a good map.
Study the road conditions.
The road out is the road back.
Come back, dear virgin Israel,
come back to your hometowns.
How long will you flit here and there, indecisive?
How long before you make up your fickle mind?
God will create a new thing in this land:
A transformed woman will embrace the transforming God!”

I invite you to write yourself a note. A reminder note. A note that you tie with a red bow on your finger so that you won’t forget…

When did you fall in love with God? When did God speak to you first? What did God say, promise, leave in your heart?

And ask yourself, what have I done about it?

Because, when we were kids and we first saw that person that made our hearts pitter-patter and beat faster…when that person smiled just so or we saw them out of the corner of our eyes we talked to ourselves, and our friends, and our families, and anyone else who might be willing to listen about what we should do.

What have you done about this “thing” that God has placed in your heart?
Have you reached out and talked to a friend or a pastor or a mentor?
Have you begun to study and practice and prepare for your new thing?

God has gifted each of us with love and abundance, AND God has gifted each of us with passion and desire…what has God called you to and what are you doing about it?

ARE YOU READY? 2016 is here and you need to step into the new.

“Set up signposts to mark your trip home.
 Get a good map.
 Study the road conditions.
” (MSG)

Amen.

PASTORAL BENEDICTION
(Children’s Prayers from Around the World by Mary Batchelor)

God of all our cities,
Each alley, street, and square,
Pray look down on every house
And bless the people there.
Amen.

 

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