Broken Memories
2011-08-25 by Rev. Dr. Dee Dee Haines

Don’t you wonder about what is really going on with Moses when God asks him to speak to the Israelites? Isn’t there more to this story than a simple lack of confidence? Is there more for Moses to consider than an inability to be a good speaker (as we hear later in the story)?  Could it be that Moses questions whether or not the people are fit for redemption? Does he question whether or not he is fit for redemption?

 

It seems to me that Moses is less concerned about speaking to Pharaoh then he is about speaking to his own people.  It is the Hebrew ear that concerns him.  He is telling them (as instructed) to draw upon a memory---the memory of their ancestors.

 

When God hears the groaning of the people, the text tells us that God heard their cry, and God took notice of them (Exodus 2:23-25), even though the text does not say that they specifically cried out to God. 

 

Have the Hebrew people ceased to tell the story of the God of their ancestors?  Have they, too, been so drawn into the culture of slavery under the oppression of the Egyptians that they no longer remember who their God is? Does Moses suspect that they have given up on the God of their ancestors?  Have they been worked so hard that they had no time to contemplate God? Remember, later on, after they are wandering in the wilderness, their memories take them back to Egypt and some of them conclude that it wasn’t so bad, after all.  (Exodus 16:2-3)

 

What do we do, when we have forgotten the God of our ancestors?  What parts of the story do we choose to remember, and what parts are forgotten?  What thoughts do we put into the cracks and crevices of our broken memories? What do we do with the knowledge that God will be who God will be?  How do we participate in ‘remembering’ afresh? Do we ever contemplate whether or not we are fit for redemption---ready for redemption?

 

Dee Dee Haines

 

Isle of Man

  



Sermon Idea for August 28 on Romans 12:9-21 from "Lectionary Homiletics"
2011-08-24 by David von Schlichten

Brett Younger has a helpful sermon in this month's issue called, "How to Act Like a Church." He starts by talking about guides to manners and the importance of having rules of proper conduct.

He goes on to talk about how Romans 12:9-21 provides rules for how to act like a Church. He notes that some people reject the Church because they get disgusted with the members not living up to the ideals of love that the Church teaches. Younger recalls David Roche, who teaches that most people are sincere 80% of the time (and that that's pretty good).

Among other points, Younger stresses that, "If we are to act like the church we have to have Christ's view of strangers" and concludes with a hypothetical scenario in which the hearer encounters a stranger. Younger invites the hearer to consider offering such a person a welcome.

What sermon ideas do you have? Feel free to email me or to submit a post for publication here.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Initial Thoughts for August 28, 2011
2011-08-22 by David von Schlichten

Exodus 3: The burning bush! I AM! What a text. Have you ever seen a burning bush? I'll bet you have. The world is full of them. When you see a burning bush, do you remove your shoes? Do I? 

What does it mean that God is who God is, will be who God will be. That's tautalogical. Or is it?

Jeremiah 15:15-21: God is so hard on Jeremiah. Jeremiah feels the hand of God upon him and also feels like God is unfaithful. God says that, if Jeremiah repents, God will take him back so that Jeremiah can continue to proclaim God's difficult message. Thanks, God. At least God promises to give Jeremiah strength against persecution.

Romans 12:9-21: This text is full of liberating challenges. Where to begin? The exhortation against vengeance is a smart place to start given how much we humans love Schadenfreude and revenge. As we draw nearer to the tenth anniversary of 9/11, it behooves us to relearn, "Overcome evil with good." Such an orientation is not only better for our "enemies" but is better for ourselves.

Matthew 16:21-28: When are we Satan interfering with Jesus? Who is Satan to us? How does God empower us to shove Satan behind us?

What thoughts do you have? Feel free to email me or to submit a post for publication.

Looking forward to back-to-school, I am

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Sermon Ideas for August 21, 2011
2011-08-18 by David von Schlichten

Exodus 1 and 2: Enslavement can last a long time. It may seem that God is not hearing us. God did eventually send Moses. What Moses does God send to us? Are you ever a Moses?

Isaiah 51:1-6: God gives us a rock-foundation and enables us to flourish. Salvation is forever. No matter how bleak the world may seem, God is with us, future, past, and present. What wilderness or exile are you in? How does God lead you out?

Psalm 138: I will praise you, God, with my whole heart. Whole-hearted praise! There's a sermon topic.

Psalm 124: We praise God for rescuing us. How has God rescued us, and how do we show our gratitude?

Romans 12:1-8: Your body is a living sacrifice, not in order to earn God's mercy, but because you have received God's mercy.

We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds is not a self-help, Osteen-ossifying sentiment, but is a statement about transformation that is made possible because of, not us, but God. This transformation is not self-help. It is theocentric-help.

Matthew 16:13-20: When are we in Caesarea Philippi? This district was known for paganism, yet here we have this declaration of faith in Christ.

How are we rock-like (because of God), and how does God enable us to smash the gates of Hades (death, paganism, evil)?

The keys to the kingdom empower us to bind and loose. What we do affects what happens in heaven. Amazing! In what particular ways do the binding and loosing appear in our lives?

What ideas do you have? Feel free to email them to me or to submit them to be published here.

Getting ready to resume teaching, I am

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Initial Thoughts for August 21, 2011
2011-08-15 by David von Schlichten

Exodus: We have the beginning of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery. God is our liberator. How does God liberate us? How do we function as Moses, the Israelites, Pharaoh? How does God use us to liberate others?

Isaiah 51: God as rock. God leading us home, restoring us. What kind of rock is God? What kind of rock are we because of God? 

Romans: We are to make our bodies a living sacrifice. We are not to conform to this world. God gives us gifts that we are to use for the good of others. How are we to be a living sacrifice?

 Note that we are not to sacrifice ourselves in order to earn a place in heaven; we have a place in heaven because of Christ, not because of us.

Also, sacrificing the self does not mean that we deny all our needs. We must care for ourselves and allow others to care fo us. Self-sacrifice does not require self-abnegation.

Matthew: The confession at Cesarea Philippi. When are we at that place? When are we Peter? What does it mean to have the keys? When should we bind? Loose?

The gates of Hades shall not prevail. Think about that. We are attacking the gates of Hades, and they are collapsing. Satan is running for cover!

What thoughts do you have? Feel free to email me or submit a post for publication here.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





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