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Monday, June 10, 2013

I say to you RISE


6/9

It's Sunday. Stephen is here ready to do whatever is needed. Jay is helping to move tables, sweep the steps. get ready for worship. Soon enough, the service begins. 

Today we are dealing with two primary passages, I Kings 17: 8-24 and Luke 17: 11-17. 

I say to you rise.... So says Elijah to the young man, son of the widow in 1 Kings. 

Whenever we think of rising from the dead, our thoughts always automatically go to Easter and Jesus' resurrection. But it's not just Jesus’ resurrection that confronts us. We have these stories as well. 

We are looking at,and looking for, nameable moments when God’s power is visible.

First, this much is clear: our God is the God of life.

I give the back story of Elijah. Of the paradigmatic characters Ahab and Jezebel. The worst King ever of Israel, marrying Jezebel and adopting the worship of Baal.  And out of the backwoods of Gilead comes the Rastafarian sounding prophet with the name that means Yah is my God. Come to challenge Ahab. 
Needing to hideout for awhile, he comes to the home of a widow with  barely enough to eat, he asks her for a cake. She has virtually nothing but  takes what she takes what she has and shares with Elijah and then.... more comes...it never runs out....

With Jesus, when he comes to the widow of Nain, what Jesus feels...in the Greek, is compassion...not just feeling with, but passion with....in the Greek, it's a deep passion,  literally feeling in his bowels, his  guts...so we’re called to gutsy compassion....

Again, the bottom line is, Our God is a God of LIFE

There were economic implications in both cases..when a widow's only son dies, she is left dependent on the charity and compassion of the community...what we are looking for is not dependent charity but compassion, community, justice....in both cases,the  child returned to the mother. (Of course I always have to wonder about what we don't know....what happened in  the rest of their lives? )

Jesus is called a prophet because his raising of the widow's son  he reminds them of Elijah.

The messages for us are clear: 

God wants us to live
God wants us to rise
We are about the business of reclaiming lives
If we are willing to be gutsy, and risky, (the widow risked ALL she had....)more will come.....

It is there if we believe it, what we have to do is claim it....to name it, to will it....

Afterwards, people talk. There are people who were moved to tears. People whose lives have been reclaimed. And there others. With names. The nameable moments,the nameable people, are already there. With us. In our circle. They know it is real.  That's why we are here. God is saying to us, Rise....we just have to believe it. Yes, again, and will it.

Our congregational meeting goes well. John agrees to bring his ministry of service into the office of Deacon.  Hugo agrees to become an Elder again, and for the first time Stephen and Don accept the call.

There is passionate discussion about the sale of the manse. There is agreement to proceed IF there is an agreed upon strategic plan. IF there is guarantee that we won't just spend the money but have an agreed upon way of moving forward. 

It's what I want.

After hours of discussion and discourse, we are of one mind.  Hugo and Arcadia invite whoever wants to come for for pizza and cold beer at a nearby place. We sit around the table. Feel the warmth of the sun. The coolness of the breeze. The warmth of each other. There is a shared feeling. Its one of hope.

I say to you, Rise....



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