Lectionary Year B
June 11, 2000
Step VI: Contemporary Address
(JFC) A. DESCRIPTION OF THE AUDIENCE
This sermon would go well for the congregation I frequently get to preach to for their preacher when he goes on vacation. They are a quite healthy suburban congregation of some few hundred members. Their pastor is a former camp director in our Presbytery. His theology might be relatively shallow but his spirit is soaring. He is a volunteer chaplain for the local police force and regularly rides with patrol cars at night. He conducts to choir of the church and is still young enough to lead the youth groups. Some of the members are long timers and others are relatively new comers having moved out from closer in the city and/or from other parts of the country and world.
(JFC) B. GOALS
We can attempt to introduce God as this Psalmist seems to have discovered the Great Creator of the sea, etc., and then move on to show how the Psalmist could have gotten to know God well enough to conclude the Psalm so praiseworthily.
(JFC) C. ADDRESS
Once a little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was long trip to where God lived. He packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey. When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her a Twinkie. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered a root beer. Once again she smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, without ever saying a word.
As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old woman and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile yet. When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy?" He replied, "I had lunch with God." Before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? She's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!" Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face. He asked, "Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?" She replied, "I ate Twinkies in the park with God." Before her son responded, she added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected."
By Julie A. Manhan, A 3rd Serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Copyright 1996 by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. So, how does Psalm 104 lead us to discover God and to find such a God who brings smiles to faces nowadays?
I. God as Creator
Creator par excellence. References to Genesis 1 and 2. A personal illustration might help here, like when I served as Boy Scout Camp Director of Nature, teaching merit badges and learning lots about the beauties of the created order.
Provider par excellence. Food and gravity and water’s buoyancy and air to breath, etc. How often we take for granted the gifts of gravity, food aplenty and air to sustain human physical life.
Food timely given, breath that brings life, God’s Spirit that offers life everlastingly. Have you ever had the breath knocked out of you?
The face of God, the breath of God, the look of God and the touch of God. Have you ever discerned the face of God while just sitting on a park bench watching people and/or starting a conversation with a stranger? Is that part of the strategy we used to call, “Stop and smell the roses”? Is it still good advice? Why not try it and see if it is?
III. Our Responses
Waiting for God, quietly sitting on a park bench, noticing that a partner thereupon might appreciate a Twinkie and/or a root beer shared.Notice what God has been doing since before anyone ever took note of it.Christopher Morley (1890-1957), U. S. novelist, journalist and poet, wrote in Fons et Origo, “God made man merely to hear some praise of what He’d done on those five days.” Perhaps.
Bless the Lord and praise God. Surely, God knew long before Calvin Coolidge said, “It is only when men begin to worship that they begin to grow.” Surely.
God creates all and gives us to it, calls us to exercise responsibility with it and we discover God therein.
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