...it might be crazy enough to work

...it might be crazy enough to work

I won’t pretend to know how the Spirit is moving here today. I don’t know what windmills God has given you the vision to see, what giants you are called to conquer in order to make our community and world more just.
But here is what I do know:

God is not done with the world, and God is not done with us. No matter how bold, how audacious, how crazy and impossible it may seem.. God’s vision for the world is clear.

Giants will be confronted and conquered, New Life and resurrection will be preached and brought to our neighborhood, our village, our county, our state, our country, and to the ends of the earth.

The question is,
If this is God’s vision for us
Are we willing to appear to the world as though we are drunk?

Are we willing to be seen as crazy enough to follow the spirit, 

bold enough to dream God’s impossible dreams courageous enough to charge against giants?
I surely hope so... Because this is our Pentecost calling...

I Love You; Grow Up

I Love You; Grow Up

I think that’s a lot like what Paul was trying to tell the Philippians, what God is trying to tell us in this scripture. Success is not about all the credentials, about pedigree, about accomplishments; in fact, all of that is worthless compared to what really matters. Knowing Christ, living in him, being like him. 

What matters most, a wise soul once said, is “how well and gracefully you are able to give and receive love.” 

You just can’t do that if your own life is the center of your universe. You can’t. You won’t find it if the only path you’re following is your own. You just won’t. If all you believe in is yourself, well, that’s just lonely. Incredibly lonely. 

We need to know we are loved – every child needs that –unconditionally and completely – just as we are. But that’s just the starting place. God has so much more in store for us than that. God has a path towards life – a mature, full, rich life – where we can be truly great – by loving as Christ has loved us. 

Sharing Suffering, Sharing Joy, Sharing Christ

Sharing Suffering, Sharing Joy, Sharing Christ

What Paul hopes and prays for his beloved is that they will come to see their experience the same way, and that it will help them grow in love. Not “love” that’s sentimental or easy, but mature, and strong. One that faces head-in to the truth and has ”hard conversations,” a love that probes and discerns, that puts itself to the test in real-life situations and making moral choices in matters that count.” In other words, he prays that God will keep working in their lives, and they will let Christ do this work in them, so their lives will reflect the love of Christ. 

Philippians is full of joy, but it’s not an easy or facile word for them or for us. This isn’t, “Don’t worry, be happy.” This is down-and-dirty, real-life faith, written from the hardest of times and places. And it’s beautiful; it’s so beautiful. 

Next week we’ll look further at Philippians. If you haven’t read the whole letter yet, I encourage you to do it. It isn’t long – just a few pages. And if you have read it, then read it again. Let it sink in. Let it soak into your skin. Let it fill your heart. 

Let it fill your heart with joy. 

Finding Voice

Finding Voice

We live in a world just as confused and confusing as Paul’s was. And if we talk about our faith openly, we may get shot down, too. Christianity doesn’t have a lot of authority or credibility in some circles. Speaking faith to critics and skeptics can be scary. It’s just easier not to speak out.  

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can find our voices, too; and our Confirmands have given us a head start. They have given us their words of faith, words that others can easily understand: about the One who sought out those who were considered lost, and loved them, the One who restored people’s hope, the One who showed just how far God’s love can go. They know the challenge ahead – for them, and for us - can we spread God’s Word by living and loving the way Jesus taught us?

With God’s help, we’ll find our voices, too. 

Head Full of Doubt, Heart Full of Faith

Head Full of Doubt, Heart Full of Faith

I think if we are being honest, we are all like Thomas.
And even if we don’t always have a skeptical questioning personality,
I think we all have our Thomas moments, where we struggle with our belief, and have doubt. It doesn’t matter how pious we may be, or how much we seem to have figured out our faith, we all struggle with our belief.
I think we all can relate to him, and I think that is exactly why we have this story.

Because we won’t necessarily get to see Christ as Thomas did in this life.
we won’t get to actually stand with him face-to-face, to touch his wounds, and see that he was once dead, but now lives.
We won’t get the physical evidence in order believe.
We are counted among those who must believe without seeing.

But because of Thomas, we know,
that even in the midst of our doubts, even in the midst of our questions
Christ will show up bearing his peace.
Christ will show up, and meet us with the very things we need to believe.