Sermon July 26, 2020    “ Partnering with God” by Rev. June Fothergill Scriptures: Genesis 29: 15-30; Matthew 13: 31-33    Rev. Hector Hanks, chaplain at Mills Hospital was on his way home one evening. Near his house, he saw a group of little boys sitting in a circle with a dog in the middle. He asked them what they were doing with the dog. Little Joey Bateson said, “We ain’t doing nuthin to the dog, we’re just tellin lies, and the one that tells the biggest one gets to keep the dog.”  The chaplain told them, “I am shocked. When I was a little boy, I would never have even thought of telling a lie.”  Right away Joey said, “Give him the dog fellas.”  (p. 67 An Encyclopedia of Humor, ed. Lowell D. Streiker)        Given who we are, is it possible for human beings to be in partnership with God?  On the one hand of course not, God is much greater than any of us and we can never phantom the depths of God our creator.  Yet, on the other hand it seems that God partners with persons all the time: calling Abraham and Moses, converting Paul, etc.   Yet, there is no doubt when we look at the history of humans THINKING they are partnering with God that we often get it WRONG!  Great preachers of early American history included racist ideas about blacks in their writings and preaching, theologians and Sunday School teachers justified slavery, the infamous Inquisition killed faithful persons who disagreed with it.  Those folks were so sure that they were right!  They thought they had heard it all from God.  This history makes me hesitant to claim too much about my own ideas. Yet, I notice that one of the common elements of those who I consider “got it wrong” was a lack of humility.        To truly partner with God, I think we need to pay attention to what God requires.   That is why Micah’s statement still resonates- Do justice. Love kindness and WALK HUMBLY with God.       Let’s look at the stories from Jesus today.  In the first one, it is the mustard seed, one of the tiniest of all seeds that Jesus says is like the Kingdom of God.  The kingdom of God is like this tiny seed which surprisingly grows into a big tree/ bush.  Jesus sees the potential in the small, the humble, the easily discarded or disregarded.        And then look at the next story.  This time it is the humble, often disparaged leaven- that a woman mixes with flour- kneads-so that it spreads throughout the loaf which points to the kingdom...

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