strattera no prescription The Sunday Sermon – September 13, 2015
So, at another of our endings, we find ourselves at a new beginning. It’s “Rally Day” 2015. It won’t take us long to embrace and settle into the newness that our Sundays now bring, again. And soon enough the ten o‘clock hour of worship will seem the oddity, and summer schedules will fade. For this is the hour chosen, now, for us to sing our song, an ancient new song.
As we begin these moments and prepare to read our scripture passage, let’s pause to pray …
Now listen for the word of God … read Psalm 33:1-9
“God spoke and it came to be …” The Song itself, our song, and the singers – you and I …
Our Rally day every September reminds us of the song that is ours to sing to the world. As we “gear up,” if only a little bit more, we are reminded that our discipleship to Christ means more time spent singing, not less. It will be a bit more disruptive to our comfortable schedules, it will include a bit more pouring out of our lives for others by teaching or leading a Sunday School class; by sacrificing and caring not for the self, but the larger community, through preparing and serving a mid-week meal; by participating in Youth Group, and; by truly discovering the “other” in our time together in fellowship around the coffee pot in our gathering space. Anyone who contemplates singing the song of Jesus without a bit fear and trembling has not understood true discipleship. And here we are again.
I’m going to read something to you that I’ve read to you before. There is a trilogy of poems that I received as a gift way back at the beginning of my ministry. They are by a man named Calvin Miller and are entitled The Singer, The Song, and The Finale. They’re a beautiful rendition of the Gospels and the Book of Revelation. I’m going to read the first chapter of the first book, the first poem, only I’m going to make all the third person singular pronouns, first person plurals. I’m going to change all the “he” and “hims” to “we” and “us.” I’m also putting this all in the “present tense,” for this is our song, too, no matter how much we’d rather have Jesus alone sing it somewhere in the past.
When we awake, the song is here.
It’s melody beckons and begs us to sing it.
It hangs upon the wind and settles in the meadows where we walk.
We know its lovely words and could sing it all, but fear to sing a song whose harmony is far too perfect for human ear to understand.
(But) still at midnight it stirs us to awareness, and with its haunting melody it draws us with a curious mystery to stand before an open window.
In rhapsody it pays among the stars.
It ripples through Andromeda and deepens Vega’s hues.
It swirls in heavy strains from galaxy to galaxy and gives us back our very fingerprint.
“Sing the Song!” the heavens seem to cry. “We never could have been without the melody that you alone can sing.”
But we draw back, sighing that the song so desired is higher than the earth.
And always in our agony of longing and reluctance, the atmosphere around us argues back.
“You, too, are higher than the earth! You sang the higher music once, before the oceans ever crashed their craggy coasts.
We brace ourselves upon a precipice above the canyon floor, and with the wind full on our faces, we cry into the sky:
Earthmaker, (God, our God), tell us if we have the right to sing …”
But then our final words trail off into gales.
The gull screams.
“No,” we think, “Only God is everlasting. God alone must be the theme from which sprung the world we stand upon.”
And so we only love but never sing the song.
Full well we know that few would eve see us as a singer of so grand a piece.
We know that they would say to us:
“You are no singer! And even if you are you should sing the songs we know.”
And well we know the penalty of law. A dreamer could be ostracized in hate for singing songs the world (hates to hear).
Such songs have sent a thousand singers to their death already.
And the song which dogs our aching steps and begs us pleadingly to sing it is (too) unfamiliar.
Only the stars and mountains know it. But they are old. And humans are new, and chained to simple, useless rhymes; thus we can not understand the majesty that settles down upon us.
But daily now it plays upon our hearts and sweeps our souls, until the joy explodes our awareness – crying near the edge of sanity,
“Sing … sing … SING!”
With all apologies to Calvin Miller for making his poem ours and changing his past tense to our now, I get chills when I read that. This past week, as we’ve all been preparing, not only for this new time of worship together, but for all the celebrations, recognitions, and new starts that this year’s Rally Day brings, I’ve been wondering more deeply once again, when will we sing our song to the world? Not just to ourselves in this comforting and comfortable community, we do a decent job of that, but to the world? How will we go beyond the pastoral walls of our intimate sanctuary with our song?
Every day in the newspapers, all day in the political ads and news flashes, and every evening on the nightly news, we hear the world’s song “out there.” What about the love, hope, joy, promise, faith, and life that is a part of the song we are all supposed to sing? I don’t think the song of “Love” is tied to Christianity alone. We find all of those realities – love, hope, joy, promise, faith, and life itself most fully revealed in Jesus, but I believe with all my heart that the reality we call “God” is at work in the world in many more ways, too! When does that make headline news? I’m more and more afraid that it won’t, not because we are afraid to sing it, but because we think it doesn’t make sens in the world. We have bought into the discord and division and suspicion and fear that are the lyrics of the world’s song.
Those lyrics start at the very top of our society and trickle down to us so insidiously that we are barely aware there are other songs to sing, anymore. Our nation’s leaders, at the highest levels – Presidents, Senators, and Congressmen and women – don’t just disagree with one another, they demonize each other. Our State and Local governments follow suit. Our civic leaders and law enforcement agencies assume guilt and act with force before, and beyond, reason. And in our own personal lives, we take sides and act first for ourselves and our own benefit, securing what is “rightfully ours,” or ought to be, for our families and friends, and leaving others to fend for themselves, including those who simply cannot fend for themselves in this dog-eat-dog “world song:” refugees, the homeless, the poor.
But that is not our song, not the song that beckons and begs us to sing it! Our song is not “out there” in the thunder and fire and violent wind of terrorist regimes, political parties, or community fears. It is right here within and among us, being whispered every second we are together. Maybe most on Sunday morning, but any and every time we gather in Christ’s name. And even when we’re alone in the world.
“Sing the song. The world cannot ‘be’ without our melody.”
Let me tell you another familiar story that illustrates our dilemma:
Two friends were walking down the sidewalk of a busy city street during rush hour with all sorts of noises in the city: Car horns honking, feet shuffling, people talking, vendors shouting, brakes squealing, and bus engines roaring.
Amid all this noise and commotion, one of the friends stops and asks, “Did you hear that?”
“Hear what?” the second responded. “I hear plenty, but … hear what?”
“I hear a cricket,” the first replied.
“No way,” the other responded again. “How could you possibly hear a cricket with all of this noise? You’re imagining it.”
“No really, I hear a cricket. I’ll show you.”
And the first friend led the second across the street to a big cement planter with a tree in it. Pushing back some leaves she found a little brown cricket who only then stopped it’s chirping.
“That’s amazing!” said her friend. “ How in the world did you hear that? You must have some sort of super-human hearing, or something.”
“There’s no secret,” came the reply. “You hear what you listen for. Watch, I’ll show you.” And she reached into her pocket, pulled out some loose change, and threw it on the sidewalk.
Amid all the noise of the city – car horns honking, feet shuffling, people talking, vendors shouting, brakes squealing, and bus engines roaring – everyone within thirty feet turned their head to see where the sound of the money was coming from.
“It’s all a matter of what you are listening for.”
That little cricket in our story didn’t, and the song of our lives doesn’t, silence the honking horn or the squealing brakes, or the shouting heads and overt hatred of our world. The shouts and accusations rarely, if ever, stop when a cricket sings. But knowing that the cricket is there, being aware of the sound of something different that calls us to pay attention to what’s most important, does give us a reason to try and quiet the noise that seeks to drown our trust and our hope. It does give us a reason to try to calm our spirits, to hear the song, and to sing it new every day.
Now, lest you think I’ve totally gone off the deep end and forgotten what this Sunday is about, wondering what in the world any of this stuff has to do with Rally Day 2015, I’ll tell you know. New songs this year, as we begin again. Or more accurately, new “ancient” songs. Our song: Our intentional Christian formation through Sunday School has begun again. What a beautiful cricket sound in the midst of every other noise reaching our ears. “Sing the Song.”
Wednesday evening dinner, fellowship, and sharing is happening again every month. What a beautiful cricket sound in the midst of every other gathering we’re scheduling this Fall. “Sing the Song.”
Our Chancel Choir (fresh off their annual overnight retreat) is gathering again once again filling our loft. We’re bringing more crickets together to sing. What a beautiful sound in the midst of anything that seeks to pull us apart. “Sing the Song.”
Youth Group gathering together on a regular basis to remember all that has been this past summer and to imagine all that might be in the year ahead – The Bridge, service, Walks for Justice. What a beautiful cricket sound in the midst of a crazy weekly schedule of deadlines and competition. “Sing the Song.”
The lyrics of our song include life, hope, promise, joy, faith and love. And it begins, again, for us this morning. We listen in a different way to God’s call for us as disciples of Christ through our church and for the world. We listen to the cricket songs in our midst and not to the horns and brakes and shouts and accusations. And we remember the lyrics we are truly called to sing.
“May God give us faith to sing always …” Alleluia!
Reverend Joel Weible, Pastor
Pewee Valley Presbyterian Church / September 13, 2015