Trinity News and Sermons

2017/3/26 On the 23rd Psalm

Theme to Cheers to begin sermon (sing it, not too high)

 

Makin’ your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got

Takin’ a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.

Wouldn’t you like to get away?

 

All those nights when you’ve got no lights . . .

THE CHECK IS IN THE MAIL

And your little “angel” hung the cat up by its tail

And your third fiancé didn’t show!

 

Sometimes you wanna go:

WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME

AND THEY’RE ALWAYS GLAD YOU CAME

 

You wanna be where you can see, troubles are all the same

You wanna be where everybody knows your name.

 

You wake up in the morning, Mr. Coffee’s dead –

Your morning looking bright.

And your shrink ran off to Europe, and didn’t even write

And your husband wants to be a girl

 

Be glad there’s one place in the world

WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS YOU RNAME

AND THEY’RE ALWAYS GLAD YOU CAME

 

YOU WANNA BE WHERE YOU CAN SEE, TROUBLES ARE ALL THE SAME

YOU WANNA BE WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME

 
For what are we seeking?

What keeps us up at night?

Where can we find meaning and purpose in this world?

 

 

So many in our world are feeling lost, afraid, even hopeless.

 

We can’t seem to make sense of the starvation, the homelessness and this never ending cycle of violence across the world and our land.

 

And even our political situation leaves people restless and afraid.

 

I’m told by some of our folk who work in higher education that they have students in their offices sobbing – afraid for themselves and their families and the future.

 

People want purpose.  People want meaning.

 

PEOPLE WANT TO FEEL THEY BELONG.

 

Kind of like the theme song from “Cheers”.

 

Psalm 23 expresses that there is ONE who gives us purpose, safety, and most of all love.

 

We sang a hymn today in place of the psalm, so now I’m going to read the psalm to you – but will pause after each phrase.  As you listen, as you reflect: think about what images come to mind for you.  This psalm is quite descriptive.  What does your mind’s eye see when you hear these so familiar words?

 

 

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;

 

He makes me lie down in green pastures

 

He leads me beside still waters;

 

He restores my soul.

 

He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

 

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

 

I fear no evil;

 

For thou art with me;

 

Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

 

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

 

Thou anointest my head with oil,

 

My cup overflows.

 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

 

All the days of my life;

 

And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord . . . . forever.


 

What did you think of?

What did you feel?

Was there a sense of the presence of the Holy as you heard this?

Did you experience God’s promise to you?

 

 

A relationship with God, while it does not take away all our fears and does not solve all our problems, can give us an assurance of God’s presence with us – in the good times and the bad.

 

God is not cold and distant – even when we don’t feel God’s presence and wonder if he is listening or cares.

 

God knows us so intimately, because God in Jesus came to live as we lived, feel what we feel, experience life as we do:

 

Jesus knew anger.

Jesus knew disappointment.

Jesus experienced being misunderstood.

Jesus felt the pain of broken relationships.

Jesus felt powerful loss and grief.

 

In the Garden of Gethsemanae, Jesus felt insecure about the future.

 

On the Cross he cried out to the Father, at that moment feeling abandoned and alone.

 

Jesus was fully one of us!  God, one with us.

 

 

The words of David’s psalm were well known to Jesus.

 

While the bible doesn’t tell us that he chanted or spoke it, one can imagine that he did – perhaps alone, perhaps even with his disciples.

 

Jesus, the Great Shepherd of the Sheep, knew full well that the Father is a shepherd that is there with him (and with us) at ALL times, but perhaps in the Valley of the Shadow most powerfully.

 

 

Jesus came to demonstrate most fully this love that will not let us go, this shepherd that calls his sheep to him.

 

This voice that calls and we hear and can find peace for our troubled souls, for our wandering spirits.

 

 

And he has called out over the centuries to his children.

 

 

Dan Graves, writing about the Confessions of St. Augustine

 

Our Hearts are Restless

Behind Augustine are a succession of desperate searches for fulfillment: excessive pleasures, false religions, philosophy, dissipation and distractions—futilities that left him so weary of himself he could only cry out, “How long, O Lord, how long?”

At the very moment when he uttered that cry, circumstances led his eyes to a passage in Romans that showed him he could be freed from sin. Shortly afterward, he was baptized.

Now, a decade since his baptism, after long musing upon the transformation that took place in him when he finally believed,

he begins a unique autobiographical and philosophical prayer to God,

a book which will become one of the most original and famous works in all of literature, the world’s first psychological “autobiography.”

The Confessions will be his testimony of God’s interaction with a soul that has found rest in its Creator.

Heart bursting with the reality of God, he addresses his manuscript directly to the Lord as one long prayer and meditation—a prayer and meditation that will take him five years to complete.

He dips his quill and begins, “Great are you, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is your power, and your wisdom is infinite.”

In contrast to God, he muses, what are humans? Yet there is a connection between the two. Humans, such a small part of creation and short-lived as they are, still find a need to praise God.

In spite of sin, each feels the longing to reach out to his Creator. Why is this? He realizes it is the doing of God. “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.”

That line summarizes the theme of Augustine’s life and will not be bettered in all the writings that lie ahead of him, in which he will wrestle with the deepest issues of theology.

From Manhattan diakonia when they reflected on Psalm 23

 

Table in presence of enemies – they get to sit at the table

 

Even though in valley, goodness and mercy follow me

 

Cup runneth over- that means there is so much goodness, I’m trailing it behind me; it’s more than I can use myself

 

 

A relationship with our Great Shepherd can bring a sense of purpose, love, peace.  A SENSE OF OUR TRUE HOME.  For the shepherd KNOWS us fully, and all that we experience and endure on this earth.

 

Makin’ your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got

 

Be glad there’s one place in the world

WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS YOU RNAME

AND THEY’RE ALWAYS GLAD YOU CAME

 

YOU WANNA BE WHERE YOU CAN SEE, TROUBLES ARE ALL THE SAME

YOU WANNA BE WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME

 

 

GOD KNOWS YOU, AND YOUR NAME.

 

REST IN THAT CERTAINTY.

REST IN THAT LOVE.