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IT ALL DEPENDS ON OUR FAITH: CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE at CLC, El Cerrito, CA, December 24th 2016

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IT ALL DEPENDS ON OUR FAITH:

CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE at CLC, El Cerrito, CA, December 24th 2016

For the Christmas story, which is so familiar to us that we do not properly fathom it, everything depends on our faith. Now don’t get crushed by taking that as an obligation to believe. According to Luther, your faith is ultimately a gift of God. You can consider it a Christmas gift from God to you. So the reason I place myself right into this story, acting it out with gestures and facial expressions is in order to convince you to trust God completely and believe that God came to be with us in this story about the Christ-child, Mary, Joseph, the Angels, the shepherds, and everybody in Bethlehem.

     Many years ago, I was in Bethlehem and I walked down from the city to look for the shepherd hills, to find the fields where the shepherds watched over their flocks by night. After I had walked a good while through the fields I became lost, and believe it or not there were shepherds there in the area and I walked up to them and asked them for directions on how to get back to the city. Among several paths, they pointed out the direction and the path I needed to take. As I climbed up that path, because it was uphill, suddenly the night fell down hard around me and it was so dark I could not see my hand before my face. But after I walked only a short distance farther, the whole city suddenly appeared completely lit up. The saying of Jesus occurred to me: “A city built on a hill cannot be hid.” (Mat 5:14) And clouds framed the city so that it looked like an impressionist painting. It was as beautiful as Christmas tree.

     It seemed as if the city of Bethlehem itself was witnessing to me that in it was born the Light of the World. And when we light up with faith in the Christ-child, then shining brightly, we will also hear Jesus say, “You are the light of the world!” Then we can understand Isaiah: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light and those who lived in a land of deep darkness, on them light has shined.” (9:2)

     When in Bethlehem the Christ-child, Mary’s Son was born, the angels first proclaimed the Good News to the shepherds. An angel of the Lord appeared before them and the glory of the Lord shone round-about them and they became really afraid. But the angel proclaimed the Good News to them, which filled them with joy.

     How dark the world becomes when we hear and read about all the bad news of today. I remember as a child getting cereal boxes, which on the back had only good news and even the weather report was all sunshine and blue skies. But those are not the kind of news that we read in the newspapers these mornings. The light of Christ, however, still shines in our world and the darkness will not overcome it!

     That’s because the crown of the whole creation,

the One the whole universe and all

could not contain, became a baby, small

in that manger in Bethlehem.

And that is why we sing about the city of David, Belen, Bethlehem, Bethlehem. When I pastored in Philadelphia, a church downtown had a plaque that read, Phillip Brooks (1835-1893), who wrote “O Little Town of Bethlehem” was a pastor here.

The angel also brings those glad tidings of great joy to you and me because the angel says that the Good News is for all people. “For unto you and me is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord! That is the Good News, the Gospel for us.

     That’s why Phillip brooks composed his song and why we sing so much about Bethlehem, because Christ the Lord, God’s Son himself came to us human beings in that little suburb of Jerusalem in order to save us.

Isaiah points out that this Savior will break the burdensome yoke and the iron bar across our shoulders and the rod of our oppressors. Christ frees us and then envelopes us in the freedom of Christians, to use Luther’s words. With the freedom of God’s Son we experience real joy. The Prophet Isaiah already long ago foretold how much joy we would have singing Christmas carols and how much joy would fill them, because

unto us a son is given; unto us a child is born! And the authority rests upon his shoulders and he is named: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah gives the Messiah four throne names. Many of the Pharaohs of Egypt had four throne names, along with their birth names. For example, Ramesses VII was named UsermaatRa, Meryamun, (which meant beloved of Amun), SetepenRa, and Ramesses, that is, Ra-Moses. Moses of the Exodus was brought up an Egyptian prince, and thus his name “Moses.” Ahmoses had liberated the Egyptians from the Hyksos, the way Moses later liberated the children of Israel from the Egyptians. The Messiah breaks every yoke and rod of oppressors. Thus Isaiah, too, gives David’s royal Son four throne names.

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (I studied the names in Hebrew as well, but I’ll spare you the Hebrew.)[1]

Isaiah continues:

his authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and righteousness from this time onward and forevermore.

Isaiah is referring to God’s promise that a successor on the throne of David would never fail. (1Kings 9:5-6) God was keeping his promise for David in his royal city.

That’s why the heavenly hosts of angels flew up from the earth into the open heavens and back down to the earth and back up into heaven, ascending and descending, while rejoicing:

“Glory to God in the highest, Peace on Earth, God’s favor to all!” Jesus is God’s gift to humankind.

But it all depends upon our faith. The angel of the Lord first proclaimed the Good News to the shepherds, then the shepherds proclaimed it to Mary and Joseph and all the astonished people around the Jesus’ manger, and then the shepherds changed into pastors and spread the heavenly word to everybody they came across. And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them and what pastors today are telling you. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.

     If we also keep these words and ponder them in our hearts, like Mary, then our hearts will be moved and we too will be amazed by the words of the shepherds. In one of the German carols we sang in the German service, Mary asks Joseph to help her rock Jesus’ cradle.

Joseph, dear Joseph of mine,

Help me rock this child so fine

And Joseph answers

Gladly, dear Mary mine

I’ll help you rock your child so fine.

Because after the Virgin Mary’s Son is born in your hearts and mine, we rock him in the cradle of our hearts because he needs sleep and needs good rest so that the Christ-child can grow up and mature in us and become strong and powerful and we can move other people’s hearts with the Good News, too. Yes, let’s gently rock the cradle of the Christ-child in our hearts so that he can sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.

     Then we can also hear and rejoice in the Good News of Isaiah:

“for unto us a son is given; unto us a child is born!”

This birth of the Christ-child is your and my new birth, for which the whole creation has been waiting with eager longing,[2] yes for the birth of the children of God. And keeping God’s words in our hearts and pondering them, brings about the birth of the Christ-child in us.

And we are the children of God gathered together in this congregation and the way we will light up each other’s candles, so the fire of faith will ignite in and fill each one of us until we shine together as the Light of the world. And our church, lit up by the Light of the World, will itself turn into the shining city of Bethlehem, built on Mt. Zion, God’s Holy Mountain, so that it cannot remain hidden. Because one does not light a candle and place it under a bushel, but on the lampstand of the public church, Christ Lutheran Curch, so that all the people in the whole house, in all of El Cerrito in the state of California, and the whole country see our joyful light.

Post script:

It has been such a privilege and such a blessing for me to be able to preach and minister among you. I am so very grateful to you all. You gave me another much needed chapter in my ministry, because it was particularly difficult retiring from unemployment. Now another church has given me a call, a preliminary telephone call, that is. I will still have to talk with the bishop about it and try to discern if I should take it. I was the interim pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in 1992 before Pastor Sharon / and I have had many interim ministries and even calls since then, but after them I have always returned to Christ Lutheran. The fact that there will be an interim even before the new pastor makes this separation somewhat longer. But no matter. We are one in the spirit and Christ, the namesake of this congregation, will remain the real pastor, because we believe Christ is really present and will continue to be with you and me during this short intermission. Did you know I worked on the Luther Musical for many years and if it hadn’t been for Christ Lutheran, Mark and I couldn’t have finished it. It even gave Bertha and Lars a chance to renew their wedding vows when Soren played the young Luther; Lars, Professor Luther, and Bertha, Katie von Bora. So I’ll ask Mark if we can dedicate the Musical to you, CLC. We have one production in the works and we’re hoping for another one. And you can be sure that you will all be invited. Amen.

___________________

[1] In Hebrew: Wonderful Counselor: Pele Yo-w-es; Mighty God, El gibbowr; Abi’yad, everlasting Father; Sar Schalom, Prince of Peace. You may remember that Sarah means princess, so Sar is prince in Hebrew. Thus Sar Schalom, Prince of Peace.

[2] Romans 8:19.

Written by peterkrey

January 5, 2017 at 5:59 pm

Are You a Martha or a Mary? July 17, 2016

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Ninth Sunday after Pentecost – July 17th 2016

Lectionary 16 / Proper 11, Year C

Genesis 18:1-10a psalm 15 Colossians 1:15-28 Luke 10:38-42

Avoiding all the bad news in the world today, I’ll concentrate on the good news and preach the Scriptures. May the Word of God illuminate what we are going through and rescue us. Amen.

Are You a Martha or a Mary?

We go all the way back to Abraham and Sarah with their tent pitched before the Oaks of Mamre. In ancient days, the church and worship took place under trees. According to Luther Adam and Eve worshiped under the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. Often it was an oak tree. Boniface, the missionary to the German pagans in the eighth century chopped down their sacred oak tree, where Thor was worshiped. Tiu, Woden, Thor, and Freia are still remembered in our names for the days of the week. Boniface was converting the northern tribes from these gods to Christ.

In our lesson, Abraham gives hospitality to three men, whom he calls Lord, because they are a theophany. That is why André Rublev painted his icon of the Holy Trinity as three men looking like angels. So when we provide hospitality, we may be waiting on angels unawares. But appearing to him under the Oaks of Mamre, Abraham knew it was the Lord of Hosts. And when he prepares a feast for them, they give him and Sarah the promise that they will have a son. It is hard to fathom the ache in the heart of an infertile couple, who desperately want to have a child, but can’t seem to conceive or bear one. (We had so many children in our family, who would want a child?)

In God’s presence, our dear Lord God fills our greatest need, whatever that may be for each of us. For Abraham and Sarah it was to have a child. Host and receive the Lord your God into the home of your heart! Just pray: come Lord Jesus be our guest and we will be forever blessed. God promises to fill our deepest need and launches us on the promised life.

Our Colossians lesson is placed before the gospel lesson, because Mary and Martha are hosting Jesus, the One who is heaven sent, visiting and now present in their home. Christ is the Son of God, the visible image of the invisible God, the first-born of creation, for in him all things were created and in him all things hold together. In him the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. Read Colossians several times and try to fathom the mystery of Christ. The Creator of the whole universe became a human being in Jesus Christ to come and die for us on the cross to forgive us our sins and make us righteous, fill us with truth and integrity. Let’s strengthen our faith together: Lord, we believe; help us overcome our unbelief! Amen.

In Luke’s account, Jesus comes to Mary and Martha’s house and the Christ is receiving their hospitality. Scriptures may say, “Don’t forget to share hospitality with strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”[1] But Mary and Martha are hosting the King of all the Angels, the Lord Christ himself.

Back in Genesis Sarah was baking bread from the finest flour and a servant was preparing the choice calf, while Abraham, very much like us men, was leaning against a tree listening to their words.

“Where is Sarah?” they ask. She is of course being a Martha and getting all the food prepared for the guests. Abraham doesn’t do something; he just stands there, leaning against a tree. Sarah like Martha has to hear God’s words: “Don’t just do something, stand there.” Be an Abraham. Be a Mary.

But Martha takes the opposite tack. She fixes her eyes on Mary with reproach. “Mary, don’t just sit there listening to Jesus, do something. You’re letting me do all the work.”

The iconic three men were calling Sarah to come out way back when. The promised Son was not Isaac, it was Jesus the Christ and Mary was Sarah come out of the tent and listening to the Word of God coming out of the mouth of the Savior of the World. He may have been Mary and Martha’s guest, but he was the host providing them with a heavenly feast that fills the hunger of the heart and the thirst of the soul and Mary was receiving it, while Martha was fixed in the subservient woman’s role and could not get out of it.

Martha had an excuse, of course. She had no servants like Abraham did. She was not the president of the United States in the White House. She did not have an illustrious crew and world renowned chef, like the president and his family have in the White House, to take care of all the arrangements for hospitality down to the smallest detail. Did you see that special on TV?

I had nine sisters and some were really Marthas and some were Marys. And it brought friction. I was a Mary. I would be reading a book and a sister would say: “Get up and do something!” Like reading a book was not doing something! She never read a book. My sister Hannah was a real Martha and only when she retired did she start to read books.

Do you ever sit down and read a book? You need balance of course, if you only read books. You don’t want to become a leaf or a flower pressed between the pages. You have to become a living leaf or flower out there on your branches swaying in the breeze or have your blossoms and pedals bedecking a meadow alive and out there in the world. What is a leaf pressed between the pages of a book? The life of the mind is complemented by life and work out in the world.

Last week Jesus championed a Samaritan, maybe like today a Moslem Syrian refugee. This week Jesus is championing a woman and saying “Where are you?” Sarah, Martha, why are you fixed in a subservient role we men try to keep you in? Jesus has Mary sitting at his feet. Those are code words for studying to be a Rabbi like the men. “Mary,” he says, “has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Of course, we men quickly erased Jesus’ words. My sister Phoebe was one of the first women accepted in BU Medical School. Pastor Mary Rowe stood up with me celebrating her ordination, back in 1975 and she was one of the first women to become a pastor in our time. We kept women down for almost 2,000 years after Jesus said we couldn’t take the better part away from them. I wonder how long it will still take the Catholic and Orthodox churches even today!

We want to lock some people, like women, workers, immigrants, and Americans of African Descent into servant roles. They have to know their place! The Gospel of Jesus tells us all, you and me, to be servants. Jesus said that he did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.[2] We have to balance being Marys and Marthas. I can’t make my wife into a Martha and fix her in that role – like Abraham three and a half thousand years ago, standing under a tree while Sarah is working away in the tent.

You know my jingle about doing and being: to do and to be. Do be, do be, do.[3] We need balance. Sometimes we have to say, “Don’t just stand there, do something.” Sometimes, “Don’t just do something, stand there.” Meditate, think, take it in.

When a team is cutting a path through the jungle, a leader is someone who has the presence of mind intermittently to climb up a tree to ensure that they are going in the right direction.[4] That’s a Mary.

When we work hard, we also have to become quiet, rest and hear the Word of God. Otherwise we too, like Martha can become distracted by many things – but there is the one thing needful and we should not miss out on that and try to make other people miss out on it, too.

We have to become conscious of the only thing we need – the one thing needful. We can live our whole lives and miss out on it and die finding out that we never lived.

That is what Jesus is pointing to: getting at the real meaning of our lives and beginning to understand ourselves and our human condition. Because when we die, our life is like a sentence, after which death places a period and people then ask what did your life-sentence mean, what did your life mean? You, too are a Word of God.

Luther says, those “who hear the Word, we become like the Word, pure, good, and just.”[5] We trust God and become love letters, living leaves and blossoming flowers. We practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of love,[6] when we keep sitting at Jesus feet, and getting the living words that help us keep on keeping on.

I’ve got to cook some meals. Marthas have to stop and get some rest. We have to listen to Jesus and balance our roles. We all have to be Marthas as well as Marys, Marys and Marthas.

Luther put it this way: A Christian person is a free sovereign above all things and subject to no one, (let me add) because of faith. And at one and the same time, a Christian person is a dutiful servant in all things, subject to everyone[7] (because of love.)

We don’t shirk work, nor work and work and then get drunk on our off time, because we don’t want to think about our lives and our sorry human condition, where murder and carnage flout God’s purposes. That’s because we don’t live in the Word of God. So we pray: Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, as your host, we’ll be forever blessed. Be the Lord and master of our souls. Amen.

__________________

[1] Hebrews 13:2.

[2] Mark 10:45.

[3] Dewey said to be is to do. Sartre, to do is to be. Frank Sinatra said, dobe, dobe, dobe, do.

[4] Moneim El-Maligi, Leading Starts in the Mind: A Humanistic View of Leadership, online see: He is comparing leaders and managers.

[5] From Luther’s Freedom of a Christian in Philip and Peter Krey, Luther’s Spirituality,  New York: (Paulist Press, 2007), page 268.

[6] Anne Herbert, Sausalito, California, 1982: cf. Random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.

[7] Philip and Peter Krey, Luther’s Spirituality, page 70.

Written by peterkrey

July 17, 2016 at 7:00 pm

Keep Your Hand on the Gospel Plow, Søren’s Affirmation of Baptism June 26th 2016

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Søren’s Affirmation of Baptism June 26th 2016 Christ Lutheran Church

1 Kings 19:15-16, 19-21 Psalm 16 Galatians 5:1,13-25 Luke 9:51-63

Keep Your Hand on the Gospel Plow

What a wonderful Sunday, one where we can celebrate Søren’s baptismal affirmation. We remember the blessing of Sophia’s confirmation, with those confirmands of our cluster of churches up at the seminary on Pentecost. (If we consider ourselves a fleet of churches, wouldn’t it be something if we became the flagship and called a youth pastor together? Imagine all the God-Out-There experiences the youth in our churches could have!) In the old days one church had many confirmands. A picture in my bookshelf has my father, a pastor, standing with eleven confirmands from his church. Yet because of the cooperation of our four churches and pastors, thanks to Pastor Barbara, you enjoyed being together with a good number of young people studying confirmation together. Now their confirmation took place on Pentecost, but today we have this lovely Pentecost bulletin cover for your service.

flame

The verse I would like to highlight is “Jesus said to [one disciple]‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God.’” Now after a reading we say “The Gospel of the Lord, even though that is really the law. So it is rather rough when you contemplate your discipleship, Søren, and then the Gospel lesson has three disciples, who get reproached by Jesus. But just look at the positive way the Psalm balances the gospel lesson out.

“LORD, you are my portion and my cup; it is you who uphold my lot. My boundaries enclose a pleasant land; indeed, I have a rich inheritance.

My father gave me his white Cadillac as my inheritance. It had angelic wings it seemed where the tail lights swept back, push button windows and a real fine radio. When I drove it out of the garage, because it had been standing for a long time, the tires went, pop, pop, pop: four blow outs. My father said, “There goes the devil again!” The real inheritance that he left me was divine. Psalm 16 continues:

I will bless the LORD who gives me counsel; my heart teaches me night after night. I have set the LORD always before me; because God is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. My heart, therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices; my body also shall rest in hope. For you will not abandon me to the grave, nor let your holy one see the pit. You will show me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy, and in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

How do you like that for a confirmation blessing? Who could ask for more? You might want to choose a verse from that for your very own confirmation verse.

But you are not only celebrating today, you are also affirming baptism and baptism means means a washing, a real scrubbing of forgiveness so you become pure, pure in heart so you can see God. Baptism can also mean drowning to the old self and being raised up a new self. Dying to your old self and coming alive to God, becoming the new being that God created you to be.

Now baptism would be unbearable, except that, even the psalm shows us why we can glory in the cross. That’s because of the resurrection. “Christ will not abandon you to the grave; nor let his holy one see the pit, but show you the path of life.”

That is the wonderful gospel promise that paints the colorful arch of the rainbow of God’s covenant over you. Rainbows are water droplets refracting white light into all the colors of the spectrum.

Was it you who put these words into the confirmation liturgy? “We give you thanks for the laws of physics and science that operate in our world?” Mark, Josh, and I were talking about black holes. If all these stars fall into them and add their gravity to the black hole, do the stars of the galaxies swirl and revolve around them like our planets around the sun? I wonder. I like Satchmo’s song: “What a Wonderful World!” You young people will learn more than we’ll ever know.”

But gravitational waves do not keep us together. The love that we receive as brothers and sisters in Christ does that. And like the spiritual says, “We have to keep our hands on the Gospel plow.” “Keep your eyes on the prize and hold on!”

That does not mean that you have to become a pastor, although I wonder if you have considered it. But we believe in the priesthood of all believers. You receive God’s calling in whatever vocation you receive from God. Doing science is also a calling. God knows we need more good scientists. The word “vocation” means calling. Right now your vocation, your calling is studying, so you can make your contribution and become the blessing in God’s kingdom, that God needs you to be.

So keep your hand on the gospel plow and hold on. Perhaps Jesus was thinking of the story of Elisha when he talked about putting one’s hand on a plow.

And Elisha must have been a rather prominent farmer plowing behind 12 yoke of oxen. When Elijah throws his mantle around him, Elisha says, “Let me first kiss my father and my mother and then I will follow you.” The old prophet rebukes Elisha by saying, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” But Elisha slaughters the oxen, uses the plow to have wood for the fire to cook them, calls together a huge feast for the whole village and leaves and follows Elijah to become his servant.

Jesus did not give the three disciples a second chance, but Jesus is setting his face to Jerusalem, where he will be taken up, taken up on the cross. Like in disaster movies, when there is a life and death situation, you often don’t get a second chance.

But look at what Elisha was doing. He was turning back, he burning his bridges behind him. He was giving up the plow on the farm to put his hand on the prophet’s plow, like we put it on the gospel plow in any vocation that God chooses for us. listen to St. Paul:

“For Freedom Christ has set us free.” says St. Paul. “Stand fast therefore and do not submit to the yoke of slavery again.”

Elisha was pretty high and mighty if he plowed with 12 oxen. But then he became Elijah’s servant. You may know what Luther said in “The Freedom of a Christian,” after all, you played the young Luther.[1] “A Christian person is a free sovereign over all, subject to no one.” That’s because of faith. But at the very same time, “A Christian person is a dutiful servant, subject to everyone.” That’s because of love. A popular song long ago put it this way: “If they made me a king, I’d still be a slave to you.” That’s what love and passion do.

You have to slave away in your calling. Our faith lifts us up giving us the strength to love and serve God’s people. Elisha became the great prophet’s servant in order to learn how to be one himself. Are you now a junior? When you become a senior, don’t get senioritis. Studying is slavery; but we can endure it because of the freedom we have in Christ. So we have to work hard. I think people hate immigrants because they work so hard and we have gotten very pampered and rich and we don’t like hard work and there is a lot of work we won’t even bend our backs to do. So to follow after Christ we have to work as hard as immigrants and stop rejecting them.

The old spiritual talks about the gospel plow. When Jesus says, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” You have to realize how wonderful God is. God makes us fit to put our hand on that plow. God forgives us more than any human being could or would until we become mature by God’s grace and mercy. It is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ that you become fit to handle the plow that turns up the earth in straight furrows so that it can grow a harvest.

So keep on keeping on. It takes our whole life to get there. On your life’s journey Christ will always accompany you and be the closest to you when you think God is not even there. Now that you follow, don’t look back. Hate traps us in the past, while love opens the future. If we plow a field looking backward rather than straight ahead, the furrows are going to be crooked. If you already drive a car: it’s better to look forward through the windshield. Like Elisha, you can glance at the rear view mirror, but you can’t drive a car and you’ll be sure to crash if you only look at the cars behind you in the rear view mirror, instead of the way and everything in front of you.

In Revelation it says, “Be faithful until death and Christ will give you the crown of life.” By grace Christ will make you fit for the kingdom of God, for your calling, for the contribution that you will make, for the blessing that you will be.

Christ will keep your hand on the gospel plow and help you hold on. Keep your eyes on the prize and hold on. God bless you for following Christ, who will show you the path of life, and hold you in his presence for the fullness of joy.

The first thing you did right,

was affirm your baptism in God’s sight!

So keep your hand on the gospel plow

   and hold on! Amen.

________________

[1] Soren played the young Luther and his father Lars played Professor Luther in the preview of our Luther Musical on Reformation Sunday, October 25, 2015. Soren’s mother, Bertha played Katie von Bora.

Written by peterkrey

June 26, 2016 at 2:05 pm

Posted in Selected Sermons

The Perichoresis of the Trinity, The Holy Trinity May 22nd 2016

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Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31 (RSV) The Gifts of Wisdom

Does not wisdom call,

Does not understanding raise her voice? 

On the heights beside the way,

in the paths she takes her stand;

beside the gates in front of the town,

at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud:

“To you, O men, I call,

and my cry is to the sons of men.

Wisdom’s Part in Creation

22

The Lord created me at the beginning of his work,

the first of his acts of old.

Ages ago I was set up,

at the first, before the beginning of the earth.

When there were no depths I was brought forth,

when there were no springs abounding with water.

Before the mountains had been shaped,

before the hills, I was brought forth;

before he had made the earth with its fields,

or the first of the dust of the world.

When he established the heavens, I was there,

when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,

when he made firm the skies above,

when he established the fountains of the deep,

when he assigned to the sea its limit,

so that the waters might not transgress his command,

when he marked out the foundations of the earth,

then I was beside him, like a master workman;

and I was daily his delight,

rejoicing before him always,

rejoicing in his inhabited world

and delighting in the sons of men

 

Divine Majesty and Human Dignity

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.

Psalm 8 

O Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is thy name in all the earth!

Thou whose glory above the heavens is chanted

by the mouth of babes and infants,

thou hast founded a bulwark because of thy foes,

to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at thy heavens, the work of thy fingers,

the moon and the stars which thou hast established;

what is man that thou art mindful of him,

and the son of man that thou dost care for him?

Yet thou hast made him little less than God,

and dost crown him with glory and honor.

Thou hast given him dominion over the works of thy hands;

thou hast put all things under his feet,

all sheep and oxen,

and also the beasts of the field,

the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,

whatever passes along the paths of the sea.

O Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is thy name in all the earth! 

Romans 5:1-5

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.

John 16:12-15 (RSV)

12 “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

 

The Holy Trinity May 22nd 2016

Proverbs 8:1-4,22-31 Psalm 8 anthem v.2, Romans 5:1-5 John 16: 12-15

The Perichoresis of the Trinity

If you look at the Gospel lesson, you would have to say, “I declare!” The word “declare” comes up three times. The word “rejoice” comes up four times in two lessons and the gospel lesson gives us reason to rejoice. If you read the Romans lesson carefully, you will see that every sentence, almost every phrase packs a sermon. “The grace in which we stand,” “Rejoice in suffering!” “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us… these are just a few examples.

But because it is the Sunday of the Holy Trinity, it is with awe that we need to contemplate the triune God of creation, whose wisdom, Sophia drew the circles in space, so that all the planets circle the sun, the moon circles our earth, and our galaxy, the Milky Way swirls around our black hole, like all the galaxies around their black holes in the universe. The universe is created by God through the handiwork of divine wisdom, Sophia, in Greek, causing all children of humanity to rejoice, even as St. Paul bids us rejoice, and Jesus tells us to rejoice because he is leaving to us, i.e., bequeathing all to us that his Father God gives to him. “Rejoice in the Lord always and again Paul says, rejoice!” You know the song.

When I look at thy heavens, the work of thy fingers,

    the moon and the stars which thou hast established…

 Did you notice the sun-rise lately? I watched it on Thursday at 5:30 am from my Chicago hotel room and while the sun was rising it seemed that a bright full moon was rising beside it. In the Internet it says two suns were rising. How could a second sun be rising? Our sun is no twin. Tonight we will have the full moon, so I would wager it was the moon rising beside the sun. I have never seen that before. I guess Sophia just drew another circle in the sky for us to see.

Our Psalm for today, Psalm 8 is filled with awe and wonder. “What are we that God is mindful of us?” Our New Horizon’s spacecraft is sending pictures back to us on earth of the dwarf-planet Pluto and one of its moons Charon. It has taken ten years for the spacecraft to get there, because Pluto is over four and a half billion miles away. While no life could exist on Pluto, we now know that billions of exoplanets are in goldilocks zones, which are just the right distance from their stars for liquid water and life to exist. They are orbiting their stars like our sun, but they are circling in other far-away solar systems lightyears away from us.

Contemplating the universe is very humbling and imagine how magnificent and beyond conception our God must be to have created it all!

Thou whose glory above the heavens is chanted

    by the mouth of babes and infants,

thou hast founded a bulwark because of thy foes,

    to still the enemy and the avenger.

Our psalm says that God chose infants and little children filling them with trust and faith to protect us from those who doubt and become adversaries of faith in God. Just like God is enthrones on the praises of Israel, God’s people, – so ever anew God fills babes and children with pure faith, trust and wonder to witness to us that God is in heaven and sends children like gifts of love as examples of faith for us to love and follow. Oh, what are we that God is mindful of us? But out of the mouths of babes and children, God defends us from doubt and unbelief.

So God is as simple and wonderful for our faith as the little kid who told his parents, “Heaven is for real!”

rublev1b

But at the same time the maker of this universe is more complex than anything in the world, because God is the source of the whole creation. In graduate school my theology professor gave me the assignment to tell whether the immanent Trinity preceded the economic Trinity in the philosophy of Hegel. The immanent Trinity is God in Three Persons per se apart from the creation. The economic Trinity is like we heard in the Proverbs lesson, all involved in creating and sustaining this world, sending the Son, raising him from the dead, and sending us the advocate, the counselor, the Holy Spirit to be with us.

Dorothy Sayers, the mystery writer, wrote a book about the Holy Trinity called The Mind of the Maker. She compared the Trinity to authoring a book. So the three persons were one, the idea for the book by the author is the Father, the concrete book itself is Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit is everyone reading the book and getting the same idea first had by the author God. It is all one book, conceived by the author, the book itself taken in hand as the Son, and the whole gist and story received by the readers, the Holy Spirit, one God in three persons.

St. Patrick of course took the shamrock, a three leaf clover and said like it was one plant with three leaves, so we believe in One God in three Persons. My brother Johnnie, a chemistry teacher, liked to show that all of nature and science are triune and can be classified in threes: for example, matter comes in solids, liquids and gases. The great Philosopher Hegel of about 200 years ago, who was a Lutheran pastor, also classified all of creation into threes. When his colleague, the theologian, Schleiermacher, in the University of Berlin hardly believed in the Trinity, (He considered it irrational.) Hegel had his whole philosophy and creation proceed out of the Trinity. Then he used his threefold way of thinking, called dialectics: the thesis, antithesis, and synthesis to think through the whole world, and then his philosophy and the whole creation returned into the Trinity, God becoming all in all.

We have to approach the mystery of the most Holy Trinity, the triune God with awe. Maybe it was because the mystery writer Dorothy Sayers saw the Trinity as a mystery that she wrote a book about it.

William James in his book The Varieties of Religious Experience claims that we are not external to the Trinity, outside looking in, but we are internal to the Trinity. Thus we too can rejoice, because we too are invited to dance in what is called the perichoresis, the dance of the Three Persons, each with fervent and steadfast love, each for the other, standing in for the other, and, participating in the concern and work of the other. The Small catechism, which separates the work of each Person in the articles of the Apostles’ Creed gives us the wrong idea. And also it does not make us mindful of the continuous creation, in which God is sustaining and renewing the whole creation. The creation is not just an event that took place in the distant past. God is not finished yet. God is not finished with us yet.

What awe and wonder the choreography of the divine dance of the three persons of the Trinity inspires in us! Our God is one, but what we call the perichoresis is the communion and mutual indwelling of the three persons of the Trinity. Peri means around and choresis means dance, like choreography, means making a dance. The word chorus and thus singing can also be heard in the word perichoresis. So peri is going around and choresis is the dance of mutual, indwelling love of the three persons of the Trinity.

So we ourselves in the communion of our Trinitarian community can participate in the dance of the Trinity and we can sing the praises of the Trinity because of the witness that God has provided for us by the faith of little children. As the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father and we are in Christ and Christ is in us, so we ourselves become one heart and soul together in a communion that is greater than mere empathy. We are invited to join in the dance of the Three Persons of the One God of all creation, the continuous creation, filling us with creativity. We are invited to dance with the Son to save the lost in God’s great plan of salvation, and invited to dance in the procession of all the saints, who witness to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Blessed Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, invited to dance enraptured by the Holy Spirit, filled with awe for the majesty of God’s Holy name. Yes, how majestic is the name of the Blessed and Most Holy Trinity over all the earth. Amen.

The Risen Christ Sends us to Share the Good News, Easter II April 3, 2016 Christ Lutheran Church, El Cerrito, CA

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Easter II April 3, 2016 Christ Lutheran Church, El Cerrito, CA

Acts 5:27-32 Psalm 118:14-29 Revelation 1:4-8 John 20:10-31

The Risen Christ Sends us to Share the Good News

Those who had the closest and most loving relationships with Jesus are those to whom he appeared as the risen Christ. That kind of love places us in Christ and provides us with the power of the resurrection. But notice that the appearances of the risen Christ are not just for their own or the disciples’ sake, but always involved in sending them to continue the proclamation of the Good News. In the first appearance, Mary Magdalene hugs Jesus feet, but he tells her to let him go and tell the other disciples that he is risen. In our story to day, Jesus tells the disciples to spread the forgiveness of sins; they can, however also retain them. He breathes the Holy Spirit upon them and sends them out to confess Christ. By his sending them, the risen Christ changes the disciples into apostles. The word “apostles” is related to “epistles.” [The epistles are not the wives of the apostles.] Epistles are letters that are sent, apostles are those who Jesus sent. Our hymn of the day should be, “You send us, honest you do.”[1]

Notice that because Christ arose on the first day of the week; that is the day we gather together for worship, just like the disciples did. We are not all huddled together frightened with locked doors, although that day may come after the coming election. FDR: we have nothing to fear except fear itself. So let us be afraid of fear-mongers.

The disciples must have been fearful of the Jews. We know that the people of the way, as the Christians were first called, were persecuted by the Jews: think of Saul hunting them down and becoming changed into St. Paul by an untimely appearance of the risen Christ. Then in the Roman Empire wave after wave of Christian persecutions took place, where hundreds of thousands of believers were fed to the lions and torn apart for the entertainment of the Roman public. But after Christianity became the official religion of Rome, after Constantine, Christianity came into power and began persecuting others. History changes and of late we have persecuted the Jews. So we cannot use these texts in the Gospel of John to allow for anti-Semitism.

Back to the story: although the fearful and distraught disciples had locked their doors and were praying fervently, suddenly Jesus appears to them, saying, “Peace be with you.” Just like we still say: “The Lord be with you; and also with you.” The real presence of Christ brings shalom, empathy, harmony, and the oneness at heart, filled with the love among us with which Christ loved us. Here before his Ascension, he shows the disciples his hands and side, showing that he was the one pierced as the prophesies had foretold. And they rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Now notice the sending: “As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit upon them, because John always goes way back to the beginning, when God breathed a living soul into Adam and Eve. The risen Christ fills the disciples with the living new breath of the Holy Spirit and tells them to spread the forgiveness of sins, so that the new humanity conformed to Christ, his brothers and sisters, the children of God, could arise and worship God the Father in spirit and in truth.

Now we all know the story how Thomas is not with them in this pre-Ascension appearance of Jesus revealing his spiritual body. We confess the resurrection of the body in our creed, so it must be some kind of a heavenly body, appearing even though the doors were shut. Mary Magdalene had tried to hold his feet and he asked her to let him go. Here he lets the disciples touch him. Later at the barbecue on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he eats fish with them. The text wants to assure us that he was not a ghost, an apparition, but he had some kind of a new physicality.

Thomas could be counted on with questions for Jesus. In a farewell before his crucifixion, Jesus says, “You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas says, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, how can we know the way?” Jesus answers, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Thomas asks Jesus to show him the Father. Jesus answers, “I and the Father are one.” In today’s text he won’t believe the other disciples unless he has his very own experience of the Risen Lord.

“Unless I put my fingers into the holes of his hands, my hand in his side…” I had to teach critical thinking for many years. Thomas was one who felt that reliable knowledge comes only through the senses. “But our senses deceive us,” as one of my physics teachers used to say. Our sense of sight tells us that the sun, moon, and stars revolve around the earth, because they rise and set. But they are only right about the moon. It is the exact opposite for the sun. Since Copernicus we know that our planet earth revolves around the sun and the stars only appear to rise and set because the earth is a planet spinning like a top. When you look out of the windows of a bus, the telephone poles appear to be moving, but really you are in the bus.

Now because of science, we know that often we cannot trust our eyes, and because of our faith, we listen to the Risen Lord saying, “Blessed are those who without seeing believe.” Through the proclamation of the living Word of God, Christ becomes really present in our worship, and we receive a fresh encounter with Christ. Because of our theology, we know that faith comes by hearing.

But Jesus loves Thomas and for his sake he appears again and said, “Reach out. Put your finger into the holes in my hands and place you hand in my side. Don’t be unbelieving, but believe.”

In his online commentary, Brian Stoffregen explains that there are many Greek words for doubt, but none of them are used for Thomas. This is really a fine point. Pistos is the Greek word for faith and ­apistos is used here: meaning without faith.[2]

Stoffregen uses this fine point, however, to describe how our faith can mature. First like children we have that complete trust and faith that has not yet been tried and tested by what goes on in life. (You may have seen the sports commercial in the Giant’s dugout. “Trust fall!” They fall backwards trusting they will be caught. He lets him fall. Sorry, you’re not a pitcher.) When we learn that not everybody can be trusted, we ask, “Is God trustworthy?” So we can enter into a questioning stage of our faith, where we have to get our head in line with our heart. We can’t afford to come to church with our head under our arm. A more mature faith brings the heart and head together. Thomas is the model for that stage, the questioning faith. He is a faithful seeker. But he stays with the other disciples, who do not exclude him. He stays in a faithful relationship with Christ, and that leads him to a more mature faith, which is not by our strength and effort, but it’s a gift of God, worked by the Holy Spirit in us.

Paul Tillich, who spoke of Thomas in terms of doubt, said, “The old faith must die, eaten away by doubts, but only so that a new and deeper faith may be born.”[3]

This new and deeply maturing faith becomes ever stronger until we completely surrender to God. Faith means there can be no evidence – not even the empty tomb, just pure trust. Mostly evidence is all to the contrary, especially when we are dying. But we thank God when we notice the answer to our prayers, the joy in our hearts, and the transformation the resurrection brings. Like the disciples were not the same!

Thus Thomas experiences the appearance of the Risen Christ on that second Sunday of Easter and he utters the confession that becomes the whole climax of the Gospel of John, “My Lord and my God!” Then talk about being sent! St. Thomas goes all the way to India confessing Christ and preaching the Good News. The churches that he founded still flourish in that Hindu country, in the Southwestern most tip of the peninsula in the Indian state called Kerala. That is the kind of evidence the Holy Spirit gives us. You cannot see the wind, but you can surely see the trees moved and swayed by it.

Just one more comment: look at the power of language frozen into the written text. John’s words give us a window into the experience of the first disciples way back then and how the appearances of the Risen Christ bid them and us to tell others, spread love and forgiveness, sending us out with the good confession on our lips: Jesus is my Lord and my God!

I love the way we read Acts of the Apostles for Old Testament lessons after Easter. John could not write down all the signs and acts of Jesus because we still perform them in Jesus name. Somebody still has to write the book of Acts of the Disciples of Christ Lutheran Church in El Cerrito. I’ll just mention Ernest and Ethyl Jacobson. I have the 1991 directory here. We could write a book merely about Mildred Bradfield! She led a lay-renewal movement visiting other churches to activate the lay people. And just wait and see what the Holy Spirit will accomplish here, where we are changed by the real presence of the Risen Lord and where our hearts become strangely warmed!

Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed, Alleluia!

[1] Should you want to hear Sam Cooke sing it on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pX6QlnlMqjE

[2] Brian Stoffregen, CrossMarks, http://www.crossmarks.com/brian/john20x19e2.htm

[3] Ibid.

Written by peterkrey

April 4, 2016 at 9:46 am

Posted in Selected Sermons

A Memorial Service Homily March, 2016

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A Memorial Service Homily delivered March 21, 2016

The Texts:

Psalm 23 The Divine Shepherd A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
he leadeth me beside still waters;
and restoreth my soul.
He leadeth me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff—
they comfort me.

Thou prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Romans 14:7-9 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

John 14:1-6 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Jesus the Way to the Father

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many mansions. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

The Homily

I know that the deceased loved the scripture verse John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” This verse is the good news in a nutshell; the good news that our faith in Christ promises us eternal life, which begins with our baptisms. This is also the promise of God for the deceased and in which promise she lived and died. As the scripture states, she may have died, yet shall she live, because with Christ she will be raised up from the dead and become alive in God, who is not a God of the dead, but of the living, for all who entrust themselves to our heavenly Father.

That is why even while walking through the “valley of the shadow of death, we fear no evil” because we will dwell in the House of the Lord forever. Now the “shadow of death” is the fear that it casts over our lives. But when we believe in God, then we exclaim: “Christ is raised from the dead! So death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? So rather than living in the shadow of death, we live in the sunshine of the Resurrection, in which goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives, while we anticipate the joy of dwelling in the House of the Lord hereafter.

Now we should not think that Jesus’ Father’s House, as we imagine a house, is filled with mansions. Maybe houses could fit inside mansions, but mansions? How can they be inside a house? Jesus uses the word “house” to designate the whole realm of heaven in which God reigns. We might think of it like the White House standing for our whole country. The title “Pharaoh” is old Egyptian for the house of the king, meaning his reign over all Egypt. Think of the house of David. A house can stand for a dynasty, a rule, a realm. So Christ has gone before us to his Father’s heaven and there he is preparing a place for the deceased and for you and me. While on earth, Jesus complained that “foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man had no place to lay his head.” And that is why he prepares mansions for those who believe in him up in heaven; mansions to which those in Piedmont cannot compare, nor Trump’s Mar-a-lago, his mansion in Florida, because eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor can any heart imagine, the home Christ is preparing in heaven for those who love him and are called to his purpose.

Christ compares suffering and dying to the labor, the contractions of a woman in child-birth. We suffer and die, but then experience the birth, which is made out of trust and faith, by which we enter heaven. Martin Luther of old says, that that is why the death of God’s saints is called Natale, or their birth. Now compare the experience of the baby in its mother’s womb to the great big world it enters when it is born. The baby in the womb cannot imagine this world, this heaven and earth that a-waits it. Martin Luther said that this world is as small as a mother’s womb when compared to the incredibly more spacious new heaven and new earth in the mansions of God’s heavenly house, the place where God reigns.

So let us not live to and for ourselves or die to ourselves, but point our whole lives toward Jesus Christ and our neighbors. When in faith we point our whole lives to Jesus Christ our Lord, Christ becomes the life of our lives, the strength of our strength, the light by which we see light.

When we belong to Jesus Christ our Lord, God lives our lives, and that means here and now after our baptisms. How wonderful that the deceased was baptized. How wonderful that she accepted communion. The day before she died, she still gave me a great big smile and waved goodbye.

Therefore she also stands on the rock-solid promises of Christ and she also lived and died in the promises of God. Because Christ died and lived again, so that he could be the Lord of both the dead and the living. So the deceased may have died in that room of the nursing home, but she is now alive in God and someday we will all be reunited again. ““For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Dear God, our heavenly Father, we love you and are called to your purpose. We thank you for this your promise. Amen.

Written by peterkrey

March 22, 2016 at 9:26 pm

A Memorial for a Biker and Rogie Ray’s Biker Song

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Memorial Service for a Biker in 2016

with a Biker’s Song

Text Mark 12:18-27

Believing in another life after we die is very difficult for some people, but not so much for others. One old pastor told me, “It will just be turning a page in a book and coming to a new chapter.”

In the Bible times when Jesus ministered, there were two parties, the Sadducees and the Pharisees. They were somewhat like our Republicans and Democrats, but they held different religious beliefs, our parties are political.

The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection and life after death, while the Pharisees did. As children in Sunday School, we learned: the Pharisees believed in the resurrection, but the Sadducees did not – that’s why they were so sad-you-see.

Really it all depends on our belief in God. If we believe that God created us, called us into existence, then God can call us into existence again. We say, “Dust to dust and ashes to ashes,” but God made us from the dust; we are made out of stardust, and he was as well – and like the objection of the Sadducees in our text, he didn’t have seven wives. And to whom we are married in that life is no trouble at all, because marriage is no more. After we die we become like the angels of heaven, Jesus says.

Now Jesus is special and when he says there is an afterlife, then he should know, because he came down to us from heaven. He left the house of heaven with its many mansions to be with us. (Here “house” stands for the whole kingdom.) In our text he says, when God spoke with Moses from the burning bush, God said, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And he is not a God of the dead, but of the living.” Today we would say, “The God of Abraham and Sarah, the God of Isaac and Rebekah, and the God of Jacob and Leah and Rachel.” And Jesus says that they are alive in God.

So make God your God, so that Jesus can talk about the God of Joe and Liz, the God of Jane and Bob, the God of Barbara, Shawn, the God of Billy, because it is not only a matter of life after death, but also a wonderful life lived in the light of God right now, from this day on.

We thank God that he was baptized into Jesus Christ in God’s name! So he also lived his life in the promises of God. That is why he could be such a loving father and why he is loved by so many friends.

Don’t let the strange stories in the Bible put you off. They can be hard to understand. Like Jesus walking on water? We can ask, “What is that all about?” Well, water stands for chaos and if you have seen the damage a flood makes, you’ll understand how water, the sea, the ocean stands for chaos.

But Jesus walked on that chaos and brought peace and comfort. Jesus overcomes the chaos in our lives.

Whenever I tried to overcome my sins myself, I’ve never been able to. But Jesus can do it. Jesus can overcome our addictions, our failures, the trouble we bring on ourselves or get into. Everybody has got to be trouble for somebody. When we are trouble for Jesus, we don’t have to despair, because Jesus knows how to get us out of trouble.

When I was at the end of my rope and I cried to God, “Where are all the promises you made to me? I don’t see any of them coming true.” And I listed all my failures. Nothing in my life was coming out right. I remembered what a counselor said to me, “The resurrection is our business.”

Well, I got up out of bed and it was not by my own strength, because I realized that when I had come to my end, I could live out of the strength of God. So when life has pushed us as far as we can go and we can’t take another step, then because all of our strength is gone, we have to live out of God’s strength, who is the strength of our strength.

Sometimes we have to cry out to God, “Where are all the promises you made to me?” crying out in prayer from the anguish of our hearts, to hold God to them. That way God keeps them to us. And God keeps his promises even though we are sinners. For God must have loved sinners; he made so many of us.

But when we start praying to God, trusting God, and realizing that God loves us, is rooting for us and searching for us, if we are lost, then you just watch how things change for you and how wonderful things start happening for you.

So among all you Harley Davidson bikers, it’s wonderful that we celebrate his life. And we trust that he is now alive in God and that we will all meet again someday. Thus let’s grieve, but not like people who have no hope.

“On Christ the solid rock I stand!” “Put you hand in the hand of the Man who stilled the water! Put you hand in the hand of the Man from Galilee.” And Jesus will lift you up and you will be so glad that he lifted you and me! God is unimaginably greater than we are and the way God made us out of dust, God can take his dust and ashes and raise him up again on the other side of the Jordan – on that beautiful shore. Amen.

This is a Biker song that I first heard sung by the Sun Mountain Fiddler, Dick Solberg and it was written by Rogie Ray. These words are the censured version in the way I changed them, figuring this must be the way the censored version would go:

“Ride Hard for the Sun” by Rogie Ray of Nashville

My Daddy was a jockey-shifting biker

My Momma was the leader of the train.

I grew up with my right hand on the throttle

And my left hand full of pipe-dreams JID.[1]

But I never in my life went looking for trouble,

but trouble had a way of finding me.

Refrain:

But when I ride, I ride hard for the sun. (Yea!)

And when I die, I’ll die hard by the law of the gun.

And you know

It makes no difference to me,

no difference to me.

Bury me with my brothers, (Yea!) bury me with my colors

in this old Harley D. (Repeat)

So I pierced my ears and tattooed my arms

And wrote, “Back off” up under my lip.

Now you might think that’s crazy and you might think I’m hip.

But if you think it’s tough that’s your tough luck;

If you don’t, get out of the way,

Because the school I went to

Didn’t teach us how to play.

I really have nothing to lose,

but the scars, my dues, and the rules

I choose to die by or just live one more day. Refrain.

_______________________

[1] I have no idea what “JID” means or if I misheard the words. Can someone help? I heard this song from Dick Solberg, the Sun Mountain Fiddler Bootleg Tape, “No Holds Barred.”   peterkrey

Written by peterkrey

February 24, 2016 at 1:27 pm