Sermon Notes for August 7, 2011

Sadao Watanabe- Peter Sinking-Save Me Christ

Scriptures for 8th Sunday after Pentecost (Year A, Proper 14)

Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
Psalm 105, 1-6, 16-22, 45b
Romans 10:5-15
Matthew 14:22-33

 

  • This a great week for storytelling.  The picture to the right is one of Sadao Watanabe’s prints.  Jesus walks on the water, Peter attempts it.  Jesus made it look so easy and Jesus calls Peter (and us) to do the same.  “Get out of the boat.”  The Gospel reads that Peter started moving toward Jesus, then fear and anxiety got in the way. The life of faith continues to call us out of the safety of the boat and into the rough and windy sea.  If you want a tame existence, better not follow the One who was Crucified, Died, and Rose Again.  He is bound to get you caught up in outrageous things like water walking, feeding multitudes, standing up against the authorities, and serving the outcast.
  • The other great story in today’s reading is from the Jacob chronicles.  This time we read about Jacob’s sons, especially Joseph, the Dreamer.  It is obvious that Joseph and his brothers do not get along. Too many dreams for their tastes.  They steal the long-sleeved robe (or the coat of many colors from other versions), and figure out a way to sell him to some Ishmaelite traders.  They concocted a lie to tell Jacob, while Joseph heads to Egypt.  This is a story full of deceit, jealousy, anger, and sibling rivalry. It becomes a lynch pin for God’s continuing salvation history.  I dare anyone to tell me that the Old Testament is boring.
  • I, personally, would not spend lots of time on the epistle for today.  But it is rich, and compliments the other readings.  The final verses of Romans passage are quite profound: But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (How beautiful you are for sharing the Good News!)
  • A nice little sermon starter from Sojourners, Aug 2008.  Laurel A. Dykstra writes-Lives and Fishes (read for Aug. 10–Here Comes Trouble)
  • Tired of reading?  Here is a 15 minute conversation about the readings for the day: Sermon Brainwave Podcast

A few random thoughts:

  • The stories of the patriarchs and forebearers of our faith are definitely not sugar coated or bleached.  The folks that God chooses to work out the salvation of God’s people are human and full of warts and flaws. Some folks look at the stories and conclude that they don’t want anything to do with that story.  On the other hand, I look at these stories and see great hope.  If God can use folks like Jacob, his sons and Joseph to bear witness to God’s love in the world, then it is possible for us.
  • Fear and anxiety are constant staples in this world.  If we are honest with ourselves, we are afraid and anxious a good bit of our lives.  The difference for those who live a faithful existence is that fear does not control us.  We get out of the boat on a regular basis.
  • I am not a sailor, but I am told by some who are, that being on the open sea is less frightening than being near the shore.  There are fewer obstacles, fewer other boats, fewer rocks and reefs waiting to sink a boat.  If you are a sailor, you welcome the sea, even the wind and waves, because it is safer than hanging close to port.

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