Ordinary Time: Faith

 

This weekend’s conversation is all about faith.

With a broad swath of lectionary readings we are able to see what  faith is lived out like.

Here are our readings for this weekend:

  • 2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27; (David learns about Saul’s death)
  • Psalm 130; (psalm of the temple dedication)
  • 2 Cor 8:7-15; 2 Corinthians 8:7 (CEB)  7  Be the best in this work of grace in the same way that you are the best in everything, such as faith, speech, knowledge, total commitment, and the love we inspired in you.
    Mark 5:21-43 (jesus heals the woman bleeding for 12 years and the 12 year old who was dead

In the lectionary we see a few things that we learn about faith

1. Faith allows us to Pause to see the bigger picture

First we take a look at David and his ability to step back in a time of potential personal gain and mourn with his people because of the bigger picture.  He is mourning, and telling his people to mourn.  This is tragic. Period.  This loss is crushing. Period! And we don’t need to fill the silence with anything but our sorrow and hurt at this point.  To do anything else would trivialize or take away from the current events and dehumanize the fallen king and his son.

David knows that there are times (more than he would to admit) where it is not about him.  David knows there is a bigger picture at play than simply his personal advancement.  Faith is committing to God’s plan over our own.  In one of the commentaries I read this week was one written by Walter Breggeman where he talks about our hardship to mourn publicly and the need to come together through faith to see the larger picture: 

the prospect of public grief is a scarce practice in our society, where we are so engaged in self-deception, pretending that everything is “all right.” Underneath that propaganda, however, we are a deeply troubled community with a great deal of unprocessed public hurt. We have no easy way to process hurt, but this poem is a model. For obvious starters, we have yet to finish with the residue of racial hate left from the Civil War. We have scarcely faced the ghosts of anti-Semitism made visible in the Holocaust. We have not yet tapped the horror of Vietnam. We have yet to acknowledge that our long history of wars is not a set of triumphs but an endless process of “bow against fat,” of “sword into blood,” of death for the lovely and beloved. The earth, like Gilboa, stands deeply cursed. The voice of contemptuous Philistines mock in their outsider status. The purveyors of haughtiness on the inside only go on shopping and consuming and do not notice. This text is a noticing, and its noticing places hard questions before us. What permits one to notice the grief and loss of life around us? How can we break in on our muteness? How can we acknowledge the triumph of brutality in our self-deception? When shall we find words, and who dares sing of intimacy broken, of loss unspoken that must be spoken, of greatness overwhelmed by the savage power of death? David sings about the poignancy of human anguish. These questions may find their buoyant answer if we join the song of relentless, candid faith.

Brueggemann, Walter. First and Second Samuel: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (Kindle Locations 4228-4238). Presbyterian Publishing Corporation.

2. Faith Gives us grit Continue reading “Ordinary Time: Faith”

Ordinary Time: Story Resources

For the past few weeks I have been having a great time gathering materials for my messages. However, like so many other weeks there is so much good stuff and only tome for a little bit of conversation.  So, for the first post in a long time I am going to give a little outline of the message and some of the additional resources that I mention in the message as well as some others that I have been liking while researching and studying this week or while I have been prepping for the message.

We will see how it goes or what it feels like.  This week seems like a good fit because I feel like I have a story welling inside and I struggle at times with the best way to get it out.  This might be a way to get some of the floodgates opened up.

So, this past weekend my congregation continued a series called Ordinary time.  It is following the Lectionary and we are trying to lean into the time in the church year that is from the Sunday after Pentecost to the beginning of advent.  It is a long period that we are not getting ready for Christmas or Easter.  We are using an amazing book by author and pastor Erik Willits. Check it out from his website right here.

This is the 4th week in the series that will take us through the summer

The scripture readings for this weekend were: 1 Samuel 17:1, 4-11, 19, 32-49; Psalm 9:9-20; 2 Cor 6:1-13; Mark 4:35-41

Ordinary Time: Story Message Outline

We are called to be Spiritual Biographers.  We write (through our words, deeds and ideas) about the why God interactions with creation.  We share the grace and heartache of humanity.  The reality is that the story we are writing is the only Good News (gospel) others will be reading.

Ordinary time gives us an opportunity to get our story straight and prepare to write the next chapter.

The lectionary reading give us 2 guides this week 1. David and Paul.  From them we learn 3 critical things that a good spiritual biographer does.

  1. Know your story–Before Goliath David has a history of protecting the the sheep from predators. He also knew that God was with him and he was anointed to do great things.  In knowing his story, he was able to step-up to Goliath when no one else would.
  2. Set up camp in the discomfort zone–Standing before a giant David chose sling and stone over sword and shield.  He knew it was going to be risky, but he was confidently entering into unknown territory and setting up camp.  Paul understood what it was to be uncomfortable for the glory of God (see the 2 Cor reading).  For both of these men setting up camp in the discomfort zone meant that they would be able to make history.
  3. Write the next chapter–we don’t stay in the discomfort zone forever.  Either we are called to a new place or we face Goliath and that place is no longer uncomfortable.  But we do tell the story.  David kept Goliath’s sword as a reminder of the way God delivered him.  Remembering and writing the next chapter in our spiritual biographies allows us to set way points along the trail of more fully trusting God.

Monday Moment–So what? Why does this matter

We are the only gospel some of our friends will ever read. What does your story say about God? Is it Good News?  As Spiritual Biographers we want others to read our lives and know what God is all about.  This week try this:

Make a list of the 5 people who you have the most contact with, and then:

  1. Pray for them that they may be blessed by God’s grace this week
  2. Look for an opportunity to get into the discomfort zone and share (a little bit more) of your story with them.  This could be over lunch or coffee or just during a pause in your day.  Have meaningful conversation to get to know one another more deeply.
  3. Write the next paragraph: promise to continue the conversation or offer to do it again.  Write the story with your friends in it.  Faith is a team sport.

Some resources I came across this week:

Tell Someone: You Can Share the Good News: check it out on amazon

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants: Check it out on amazon