Sermon  March 8, 2015   Rock and Redeemer by Rev. June Fothergill

Psalm 19, 1 Corinthians 1: 18-23

He wandered out on the balcony of the palace.  And looked up and saw the stars.  He sighed and remembered nights when he and just a few loyal men had camped under these stars.  In them they had seen their dream of a kingdom under God.   The people united and at peace.  He had wanted to be a good king, a just king.   He looked out at the road before him and remembered how he’d come down that road dancing with glee, dancing before the ark of the covenant. Coming to make Jerusalem his capital, the religious center of  this realm. He had hoped that people would come and find God here. That he would find God here.   He sighed deeply and watched the lights of the armies camped around his capital.  Now everything he had built was threatened, not from the outside but from his own household, his own son turned against him.  Oh Absalom, OH Absalom, King David cried into the night.

Tears  in his eyes, he looked up again and this time the stars seemed to sing.  Their unheard song reverberated in him and he felt a song well up in him-  “ The heavens are telling the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.”    Then David remembered that he was part of something bigger than himself.  He was part of a covenant people, a people called to bless the earth.  He was connected to the stars, the land, the people, to his God.

He went inside and sat down to recall  some of the ancient teachings of his people.  As he recited to himself the words he had learned, he sensed a peace in his heart.  God was with him.  These words of his ancestors provided a grounding in faith that he needed that night.   AS he recited them he realized that he had not always kept them well. He had been proud, he had committed adultery and murder, he had deceived others and certainly coveted. He had not always humbled himself to make worship of God first in his life and actions. Yet, his old friend Samuel had said that he was God beloved.  Oh God he prayed,   “ Help me.”  Your law is perfect but I am not.  Clear me from even my hidden  faults.  Surround me with people who will be honest and true, and help me live a life of integrity from this moment on.  May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to you  O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.

That night David rested and the next day he did want he needed to do to keep this kingdom God had given him safe.

When we face struggles in our relationships. When we face challenges to our faith and life. When we are dealing with difficult transitions.  When life delivers to us a basket full of suffering.   We are not without resources.  We have psalm 19.   With its reminder to look to the heavens and listen.  With its joyful declaration that scripture can be a source of life renewing ideas and inspiration. With its prayer  directly to God asking for help and direction.   May the words ofmy mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in our sight O my rock and my redeemer!

Our rock.  The solid ground beneath our feet.

The place to land when we’ve over reached our daydreams

And  tripped over our foolish visions

A seat by the river that gives  nuance and rest

A place to receive the sparkles and wonder handed out by the sun

And to  throw down our stones and sticks for the river to consume with its flow

Our redeemer.  Who sets us free by exodus miracles and the foolish cross

from  the morass of bitterness built layer by layer

from the betrayals, the grudges and the hidden injuries of the heart

from the illusions of control and self reliance

from  all that keeps us from peace and wholeness

Who sets us free to dance, to love, to feed the hungry and pass out cups and cups of wonderful fresh, living water.

Who sets us free to dream and listen to the flow of God’s river

To build bridges of compassion

And to live and to die in the arms of Love.

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