Sunday, April 6, 2014

Santa and a Rose Garden

Fifth Sunday of Lent
On Matthew 7:7-14
Ask and ye shall receive... the Golden Rule... the narrow path
• “Offering Song” by Jim Cole...
Man to God: What's $1M to you? God to man: a penny.
Man to God: What's a million years? God to man: a second.
Man to God: Will you give me a penny? God to man: In a second.
God is not Santa, indulging our wants.
Give me $1M... (not Santa, sorry). Cure cancer... (not Santa, sorry)
But what about “Ask and you shall receive!”
I never promised you a rose garden.
Okay, perhaps it's a leap to bring Lynn Anderson's 1970 country hit into the mix, but there are times every disciple has wondered, “God, there's a lotta rain here, is there no sunshine? Is there no rose garden? Is there a balm in Gilead?”
Can God be trusted?
Two keys for reconciling this passage...
Verse 11: if you know how to give good gifts to your children... so your Father.
and ASK (ask, seek, knock) is all about prayer; more about your position with respect to the Father, less about inform & petition.
God the Father is real, is alive, is in relationship with you.
God the Father is able and desiring to give you what you need.
No other god can make such a claim.
God the Father is the parent, the supreme divine parent... knows your needs... indeed, knows your future and what is best for you, knows plans for you.
No other god can make such a claim.
So what do you do when you “Ask and you don't receive”?
You have a choice: reject parent, or trust parent.
You have a choice: Decide God is not good...
or God may have other plan,
Submit to God who knows best, and praise God.
And God does promise a rose garden... in his timing.
And in the meanwhile God has gifted and empowered his church to be his body on earth, to be good news so no one needs to walk through the valley of the shadow of death alone... So if you are in need, the church is here. And if you are here, be there for one in need.
And in the meanwhile, God has given and continues to give the perfect gift of his Son, in whom we have life.

Into communion liturgy

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