October 5, 2014
We have a couple of celebrations today. My lovely wife Julie turns---today. And Gary and Rosie are celebrating 50 years of wedded bliss today. After getting through September and its 3 funerals, I thought we'd all be ready for a lighter day, and that's what I'm aiming for. With that in mind, a couple stories about Gary and Rosie in honor of their celebration:
Gary and Rosie do a lot of yard work for people. One morning Gary headed out to a big job and told Rosie his goal for the day, “I'm going to try to get twenty of those trees down today. He worked and worked all day long and could only chop down one tree. He was so tired that when he came in for supper he went right to sleep without eating.
So Gary takes his new chainsaw to the worksite and works all day and can still only cut down one more tree. He is beat red while he tells Rosie: "This here chainsaw is a piece of junk! I am going to get my money back!!"
He stormed back into town the next day to return the chain saw. He tells the hardware store owner: "This here chain saw you sold me is defective. You told me I could cut down twenty trees and I could only cut down one!!!"
The store owner looks puzzled and says: "oh?, let's see if it works OK." The store owner proceeds to start up the chain saw and it runs perfectly normal. BRRUMMMM....Mmamamamama.....BRUMMMMM..mmamamamama
Gary jumps back in horror and yelled: "What is that NOISE!!"
2. Gary and Rosie were at the kitchen table for breakfast and listening to a weather report coming from the radio. "There will be 3 to 5 inches of snow today and a snow emergency has been declared. All vehicles should be parked on the odd-numbered side of the streets today to facilitate snowplows," the radio voice declared.
"Oh, gosh, OK," said Gary, getting up, bundling up and heading outside to dutifully put his car on the odd-numbered side of the street.
Two days later, Gary and Rosie were at breakfast when the radio voice said: "There will be 2 to 4 inches of snow today and a snow emergency has been declared. You must park your vehicles on the even-numbered side of the streets."
Gary got up from his coffee as before. He bundled up, shuffled off, and put his car on the even-numbered side of the street.
A few days later, they were at the table when the radio voice declared: "There will be 6 to 8 inches of snow today and a snow emergency has been declared. You must park your cars on the ..." Just then, the power went out.
"Park it where?" Gary asked in the dark, "What should I do?"
"Aw, to heck with them, Gary," Rosie said, "Don't worry about it today. Just leave the car in the garage."
I could share some Julie stories in honor of her birthday, but then decided if I want to make 50 years of marriage I 'd best leave well enough alone!
I want to look this morning at the importance of taking time to enjoy---celebrations, time to reflect, to think and to thank and to be aware of God with us. Our psalm today, psalm 19 doesn’t' speak to these qualities as such. But it does speak about the heavens declaring the glory of God. The writer writes of the tales of the night and the sun like a bridegroom, rejoicing and spreading its light to the uttermost edge of the heavens. God's law, God's judgments are described as pure and to be desired above gold. And he closes with a prayer for freedom from sin and the last verse, one many preachers use before the sermon, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer.” We miss much of the poetic nature of the psalms because they have been translated and no longer have the rhyme and rhythm with which they were written. But I want us to think about the meditations of our hearts and how we choose to spend our time with our Lord and redeemer. Reading the psalms is one way to spend with God and to learn about God's love, and it was King David who wrote so many of them. I think it is important for us to remember that it was because he had time to consider and write--as a shepherd first, then as a wanted man and even as king that we have so many of the psalms. We need to make it a priority in our lives to find time and to celebrate and to be quiet in God's presence. We let the pressures of this world eat us up sometimes and we miss the blessings of God's presence and power—Judy spoke of our need for these in her sermon two weeks ago. And so many of the pressures we face are of our own making; our own minds convincing ourselves of the critical nature of our tasks.
Do you remember maybe a year ago, a daycare operator in northern Minnesota was arrested because she was found to be drunk at noon. She explained that she was under a great deal of pressure; she had a garage sale and a vacation coming up. We just get so caught up in the things of this world. Let's be reminded today that the things of God's world, God's kingdom are to be our main focus. Give yourself the opportunity to recognize God—the heavens declare his glory!
It's world communion Sunday-recognize God in Christ in the sacrament. We take just one hour a week to worship God. It probably is not enough. But while we are gathered and while we are sharing the bread and the juice, let's concentrate on the presence of Jesus in our midst—not in the bread and the cup but in his Spirit among us. In the community in which he dwells with us. In the love we share.
When we take communion today, I'm going to consciously slow down the liturgy to let the prayers and the praise fill our beings. Let's be a little like King David and his wonder at the presence of God. I will say its “our greatest joy to worship you in every place your glory abides.” Is that true for us? Are we recognizing God's glory at home? At work? In one another, family, children, strangers, the homeless,the orphan? God's glory abides throughout the universe. If you are missing it it may be because you aren't looking.
“therefore we praise you, joining our voices with all the faithful of every time and place.” We are part of a family that extends beyond these four walls. A family of praise. Now I know we are not usually vociferous in our worship here; the frozen chosen. But we don't have to be loud to be praising. In your heart, in our singing, in our prayers—consciously worshiping God is the way our praises are shared. The psalm: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork.” But our honest praise, our thanksgiving to God gives more glory to God than the heavens; the sun, moon and stars. More than the firmament--the mountains, the seas, the hills and trees. And our praise gives more glory because we have a choice. They are created and their mere existence gives glory to God. But we need an act of will to glorify God. Paul wrote, “I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” That is the attitude we are to have toward the things of God. The celebrations, the joys of this life are a precursor to the joy that is ours eternally in God's presence. And let's not make our celebrating all about us but remember to include our Lord and Savior. All of creation joins in praising God. Let's not separate out what is for God and what is not; God is a part of everything we do.
So let's use what's left of this hour of worship to be fully immersed in the glory of God. The celebration of an anniversary, a birthday, a holy meal shared by believers, a time of prayer and singing—by an act of the will you have chosen to be here; by an act of will we can choose to praise God or just go through the motions. Use your time wisely, include God in all things and let's glorify God in our hymns and our prayers and our communion; with our whole beings and in all things. We are part of God's creation declaring the glory of God. Are you doing your part?
Hymn: Take Time to be Holy 392 HLC