Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Eternal Life and More Prayers:

Soren Kierkergaard, a 19th century Danish philosopher, theologian, poet and social critic once told a parable about a duck church.  You heard me correctly, a duck church. 
You see, there was this community of ducks who waddled off to duck church to hear the duck preacher. 
  • This duck preacher spoke eloquently of how God had given the ducks WINGS TO FLY. 
  • With these wings, the duck preacher proclaimed, there was nowhere the ducks could not go. 
  • With those wings they could, each and every one of them, soar to new heights and see the world differently than they had ever seen it before!  
  • Shouts of “Amen” were quacked throughout the duck congregation at this good and truth-filled news. 
  • There was excitement in the air.  And, at the conclusion of the service the ducks left commenting on the message of having wings. 
  • They collectively rejoiced at the good news as they waddled back home.  BUT, they never flew.
It seems our duck community was a little STUCK in the status quo.  Stuck in what they had been doing, maybe for their entire lives.

They heard the good news of having wings, and heard what this gift could do for them.  The heard how that gift could change their lives.  They even rejoiced in what they heard!
  • But, did they truly understand the good news? 
  • Did they take seriously the invitation to fly? 
  • Did they truly comprehend the encouragement to get un-stuck and soar in such a way that their world could literally be turned inside out and upside down? 
It seems our duck community is missing something.  Something between hearing and understanding.  Something of importance.  Something of life.
In the Gospel lesson for today (John 6:35-51) Jesus proclaims that all people, all of creation, has been given to him from God, the Creator.  And the will of God is that Jesus not lose a single piece of the cosmos as Jesus moves into the drama and passion of saving the world. 
  • God gives Jesus you,
  • God gives Jesus me,
  • God gives Jesus the questioners by the sea,
  • and the men, women and children,
  • and the past, present and future,
and Jesus has all intentions of accepting, embracing, and engulfing all that God has given him.  Instead, Jesus will do whatever it takes to save every single soul, and ensure that all of creation
  • has the opportunity to LIVE into the love of our Creator. 
  • has the opportunity SOAR in grace of God
  • has the opportunity FLY as one named and claimed by God ... looking at life from a different perspective ... the perspective of ETERNAL LIFE WITH GOD.
Why?  Because eternal life with God is both about the here and now and about our futures.  It promises that we will never remain STUCK in this life without the promise of being UNSTUCK eternally with our God who loves us beyond our understanding.

Eternal life is a promise to be with God beyond this life, AND it is a promise of God being with us throughout our life here on earth!

Does that mean we will never have hardships or illness or unemployment?  No.  But it does mean that God is with us in our stuggle and our healing and our job-search.
  • Eternal life promises that God laughs with us, suffers with us, celebrates with us, and cries with us.
  • Eternal life guarantees that God sits with us in our fear, stands with us in our justice seeking, encourages us when we are stuck, and delights with us when we soar!
  • Eternal life proclaimed by Jesus in this text is pure gift, given by God to God’s people, IN ORDER THAT, we can live life in right relationship with our Creator. 
  • Eternal life is a gift of wings, in this life and the next.  It is a promise come true that God is with us today, tomorrow, the next day and forever. 
Do you hear the proclamation from our Lord?  Can you comprehend the true presence of our God?  Do you understand that God makes good on God’s promises, and truly is with each and every one of us, day by day. 

Oh what joy, to know that you are near me
When my burdens grow to great to bear
O what joy, to know that you will hear me
When I come, O Lord, to you in prayer
Day by day, no matter what betide me
You will hold me ever in your hand
Savior, with your presence here to guide me
I will reach at last the promise land.
                                                                      (Day By Day, With One Voice, #746 verse 4)
Friends ... God help us to soar on our wings of eternal life, today and forever.
So be it. Amen.
More Prayers from Our Community
(written in worship on July 29, 2012)
Love of God that is shared in Bethel be shared in our community. The peace that we have been taught be passed throughout the world. May the struggles that we have in our families be given the love of God.
Church: strength and growth for service.
Community: love and understanding for all.
Country: to let God into our lives.
World: peace.
Thank you Lord for life, my family and friends. I would be nothing without you. I humbly ask for your forgiveness for the sins I have committed and pray that you may forgive each and everyone else. I am grateful for all you do for this world. Your love is never ending. Guide us and protect us now and forever. Amen.
I pray that we at Bethel will be able to seek out those in our community who are in need of a variety of goods/services. Help us to build new relationships with those neighbors and to tell them about how Jesus has brought fulfillment to our lives. Help us also to ask God every day to bring peace to our broken world. Help us to overcome the evil forces that keep us from peace.

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