Sunday, July 28, 2013

In the Midst of Life

From Luke 8:16-25: 
A lamp on a lampstand; Jesus' mother and brothers; Jesus calms a storm

• Pull out your scriptures…
Last week, parable of the sower, the soils. God desires hearers and doers of the word. Seeds planted in last week’s reading are nurtured in this week’s reading, reinforced.

“No one lights a lamp and then covers it or puts it under a bed, instead they put it on a stand so that those who enter can see the light.” – Luke 8:16

It would be pointless, even negligent to do that. The very purpose of lighting lamp is to give light. The very purpose of receiving the word of God is to shine it, to share it, to be changed by it, to bless others with it. To receive the word of God and sit on it would be pointless, even negligent. (Therefore we are obligated to follow up after our VBS in Palm City)

There is no gospel without resulting action. Even though some of the seeds from last week fell on poor soils, there was abundant production from the good soil.

And good news is we can choose how we respond to God’s word, whether we nurture it or neglect it.

• And good news is that the one who hears the word and does it is part of God’s family. Blessed is the one who hears the word and responds, producing a harvest for God, they shall be the family of God.

• The third section introduces us to Luke’s telling of Jesus, Master over Storms. Although there are fishermen among the disciples, they’re no match for the powerful storm that comes upon them. Sometimes that happens, in the midst of life, mighty powers assemble against us, perhaps even while we are trying to respond to God’s word. Needless to say the storm captures the attention of the disciples – they’re perishing, they are powerless. But in their powerlessness they call upon Jesus, they call upon their master – “Master, Master,” they call out – that word Master, epistates, unique to Luke, is a statement of faith in itself: you who have authority, you who can make things stand… Master, Master, we’re perishing. They call out to Jesus, and Jesus rebukes the storm. Who is this, who commands the winds and the water? He is the holy one of God, the one through whom God is saving the world.

The good news is that there is no storm over which Jesus does not have power, not even the sea of sin, which can be overwhelming, but mastered by Jesus.

The good news is that just like God saved the people from destruction in the sea when they were being pursued by the Egyptians, God in Jesus is saving people from the mighty powers assembled against them, against us.

• This weekend Pope Francis is in South America. Some 3 million folks have gathered to hear him as he addresses World Youth Day.  Can you imagine if he went there and didn’t greet the people? It’d be a scandal. It’d be pointless and negligent. No, his purpose was to go and preach the word and encourage young people and disciples of all ages to use their faith and their status and their resources to make the world a better place, to overcome the mighty forces of apathy with the Gospel, to build the church. He is calling people to let the light of God shine and bring its redemptive power against a fractured world. I may not be Catholic but Pope Francis is my brother, a hearer and doer of the gospel.

• CUMC, we have a light in Ctown, a lampstand that was erected 93 years ago for the purpose of giving light to Campbelltown, and it is our duty and our calling to use that light for the glory of God in strengthening his kingdom, enlarging his family. And we have a master, an overseer, who has authority over mighty powers, who is worthy and able to overcome any obstacles, and God is saving the world through him. We are a part of that mission of salvation.

• Closing Song: From the Ends of the Earth 

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