buy Lyrica 75 mg online The Sunday Sermon – October 25, 2015
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So here’s where we start this third Sunday of our Stewardship Season. Not with a plea, not with a catchy rhyme, not even with new verse of the song I’ve been singing you. No, this morning, we’re starting with a reminder: We are a God-intoxicated group of people … we are God-intoxicated.
That’s not a new expression to most of you, I don’t think. I’ve talked about this before, if you were listening, and you may have come across it in other writings. God-intoxicated. Now, I’m always curious what that expression, that phrase, that description, conjures up in the minds of those that hear it? No doubt there are negative images running through your minds. We quickly associate “intoxication” with some negative imagery.
But it’s a good thing, in this case, if also a perplexing thing. You see, we may consider ourselves to be God-intoxicated, when, in spite all the questions we may have about wickedness and evil; no matter what doubts we harbor about how God is present in the world and in our lives when so much seems to be going wrong; no matter how many different ways people “of reason,” including our very selves, have to explain away the reality of this sacred, this Holy, this “More” in our lives; In spite of all of that, we are God-intoxicated when we cannot dismiss our experience of something other, transcendent, and beyond all our limits.
We are a God-intoxicated group of people because we know, even when we can’t describe or explain it, perhaps especially when we can’t describe or explain it, that there is “God” at work in our lives and in the world. We are “God”-intoxicated. Let us begin in that identity this morning and keep that particular self-understanding in mind as we continue in the moments ahead. But first … let’s pray …
(God-intoxicated … remember that … And listen for the Word of God …)
Read Psalm 84:1-4, 10-12 …The Word of the God …
Psalm 84 is one of, perhaps the most, expressive and beautiful of all the songs of Zion. Of all the psalms that celebrate Zion and its Temple as God’s dwelling place, the eighty-fourth is certainly a favorite. Its joy in the place where God dwells and the comparisons and experiences used to illustrate that joy make it one of the most highly expressive poems of all times, biblical and beyond.
From the opening exclamation (How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!) to its closing beatitude (Happy is everyone who trusts in you, O God.) the psalm celebrates the joys afforded by the dwelling of God with us, with mortals. This “dwelling place,” the Psalm tells us, is not found in distant, external height images that locate God far apart from us, but in immediate, even internal depth images that find God right here with us, dare we even suggest deep within us.
This psalm, this song, was most probably sung by pilgrims as they made their way toward, arrived at, and walked about Jerusalem. As they arrived they sang out: “God is here, in the Temple court!” As we arrive on Sunday morning, we sing out, too: “God is here!” In the gathering and in this place because of our gathering! For now, for this short hour, we are here … we are together! “Our hearts and our flesh,” our bodies and our souls, our minds and our Spirits “sing for joy to the living God!” One day here with God and one another, one hour here, is better than a thousand anywhere else.
This psalm places incomparable value on being present in “the place of presence,” even for the shortest time and in the most minimal way. Even birds, the swallow and the sparrow find the sanctuary a desirable and enviable place to rest! And this presentation of the “joy of worship in God’s Temple” of old, is meant to recommend that joy to us as we visit God’s sanctuary of today. Every visit to this Temple, to our sanctuary, should be a profound pilgrimage. We should come here, and others should travel to get here, not just for practical or personal reasons. We should come and go, and come back, because it gives us joy, because we, too, know that God – whoever, whatever, and however “God” is – is here … too. We should come to re-unite “God within us” to “God among us” and recognize with joy and hope that same God at work “far beyond us.”
We should come to this place, a “lovely dwelling place of the Lord of hosts” to confess our need for one another and to profess that our lives are not our own. Insofar as we are powerful, our strength derives from God and one another. Insofar as we have any worth, it is derived from what God has bestowed upon us as a church, as a gathered people, as brothers and sisters in Christ, together. Insofar as we are happy, it is because we have entrusted our lives and our futures to one another and to God, not because we have found solace in the material well-being that our other houses provide.
I think that’s why we do come … here. I know there’s obligation. But I think, we finally come because we get close to something in our gathering, in our singing, in our praying, in our being together. It’s joy, and hope, and promise, and love, and grace … tinged as they are with the presence of all the other more challenging facets of human relationships, joy and hope, love and grace, abide in this place when we gather together.
The words of our Psalm proclaim that the presence that resides in this place is “our King and our God,” a double title that means this One, Love itself, is the sovereign power of the universe and the center of our personal and communal lives, the Love who makes all things cohere for the life we have to live outside of these walls when we step back into the world. So, pilgrimage to this place, to God’s house, is a profound symbol of the centering and direction of all of life! And that’s why we’re here … And that’s why two or more “God-intoxicated” men and women first gathered on this site one hundred and fifty years ago.
In a few short weeks, we will begin a yearlong celebration, a recognition, really, a weekly, monthly remembrance of those who sang this same song. Next week, on All Saints’ Day, we’ll place the names of those in our own lives who have passed through these doors, or doors in similar sanctuaries across our lives, and who led us to Temples such as this one. And so it seems proper – not just seasonal – this week to note the obvious: The stewards of our past, in this place and across our lives – allowed, and expected, the stewards of the present, us, to sing this song of joy in order to provide for the stewards of the future. The stewards of the past, the present, and the future.
We gather in this place in the middle of time, between past and future, to play our role in the history of one of the dwelling places of our God. We are, in our time, God’s doorkeeper’s, Doorkeepers in the house of our God, as the psalmist writes, doorkeepers in the middle of time. I want us this year, and always, but I’m pointing it out very specifically this year, I want us to accept and embrace that beautiful identity: God’s doorkeepers. And embracing that title means accepting its duties: That we ourselves wait at the door to enter the sanctuary and that we encourage and enable everyone who desires entry to cross the threshold. Doorkeepers in the house of our God.
We are smack dab in the middle of time and in the middle of our Stewardship Season 2015, on the third Sunday of five whose minutes for mission and sermon messages are exploring our call as God’s stewards, God’s doorkeepers. We are hoping that our gatherings on Sunday morning are not simply reminding us of our obligations to this church, but more importantly inspiring us in our imagination for our church – buildings, ministries, and people: Who is God calling you to be in this time and in this place? What is God calling you to do between the past and the future of this community called “the church” in Pewee Valley?
We are Gods doorkeepers, those of us here this morning and all those members of Pewee Valley Presbyterian not here this morning, called to honor those who provided for us and called to provide for all those who will come because we are here today, singing the song we learned so long ago.
How lovely, Lord, how lovely is your abiding place
Our souls are longing, fainting, to feast upon Your grace.
The sparrow finds a shelter, a place to call her nest;
And so your temple calls us within its walls to rest.
We are doorkeepers in the house of our God. Please stand with me and let us sing of our joy and our promise … Amen.
Reverend Joel Weible, Pastor / Pewee Valley Presbyterian Church / October 31, 2010