Sunday, August 25

God in Our Presence: Sermon for the 21st Sunday after Pentecost year

Jeremiah 1:4-10; Psalm 71:1-6Hebrews 12:18-29; Luke 13:10-17

What is it like for God to be in our presence? Perhaps that sounds odd? We usually talk about being in God's presence.  However, what we find in he Hebrew prophets and in Jeremiah's account of his call as a prophet is that god come into the prophets presence - the word of God comes into the prophet's presence and speaks.  God comes and tells Jeremiah who he is.  before this moment , Jeremiah thinks he know himself, a boy , a youth  an inexperience male human.  The Word of God called Jeremiah out of this false and limiting knowledge and awareness (false, though it had a certain truth to it).  The truth of Jeremiah is given when God come into Jeremiah's presence.  Jeremiah is shaken and finds that he is in transit, to know himself when God comes, is to be sent. Jeremiah is unsettled by god's coming to him, but in this movement of being sent Jeremiah knows himself fully.

God comes in the human Jesus of Nazareth.  God comes into the presence of a woman bent over, her body distorted by a spirit, disease, and she stands straight up. cod comes into our presence and we are healed.

God comes and we are unsettled. Healing, being given ones true self isn't comforting, or at least not always so.  Jeremiah and the woman bent over are suddenly thrust into worlds and new life they didn't know before. Suddenly the center of controversy, over truth, being, and identity.  Sabbath observance a key point of the torah and Israelite identity.  Going to church may identify us but what if God Cosme?  Not our coming into God's presence, but God comes to us and speaks, "...you are free of your ailment!" What then? change from one identity to another, in transit, transformed!

God comes into our presence and won't leave us alone, thrusts us into whole and healthy situations. We might find ourselves then in controversy, as some around us complain that this isn't how things should be, preferring the debilitated and dilapidated world they know. They may complain that God should have more propriety than to just show up, come into our presence and shake things up. this was the complaint of the president of the synagogue  on that day Jesus healed the woman bent over and burdened.

God comes into our presence, and things are shaken. This is what the author of Hebrews tells us, while recounting in brief for us the story of the delivering of the Torah to the people of Israel, of their encounter with God at Mount Sinai. god comes into our presence and there is shaking and fire. God comes into our presence and we may not want to hear what god speaks to us in our presence.

God comes and we are in danger, in danger of rejecting the one who comes and the word spoken to us.

god comes and we are presented with a choice and decision. When God comes into our presence God brings much that is unknown and byeon our control. God comes into our presence an we often want to put up barriers around the unknown and uncontrollable.

When God comes into our presence we find healing and wholeness, we are given our truest selves, and we are shaken. We are consume by fire.  What is unsound, rickety, and flammable is consumed and removed, when God comes.

God comes and we find we are moved. God comes into our presence and we find we have come to a mountain, to mount zion, Jerusalem.

When God comes into our presence we find we are in transit  When comd comes into our presence we are sent, ware transferred from one role, place, or status to another.

The author of Hebrews tells us that this movement , this transgransgression (Healing on the Sabbath) brings us to the unshaken, and the unshakeable.  Our movement, our upheaval when god is in our presence is to remove from us and remove us from that which is unstable  unsound, and rickety. When God comes into our presence we are transformed , and we find ourselves come to a strange and magnificent place, transcending the rickety, and condemned structures all around us.  Those invested in these shaky and shaken structures reject the word come to us and would condemn us to a twisted life divided from ourselves, condemned.

God comes into our presence, transgressed the divide and heals us given to us our unshakeable selves. When God comes into our presence we are sent continually to be in transit between the unshaken and the unshakable kingdom and a commandment rickety world, so that in our presence Gdo may come into the presence of others.

When God comes thing get shaken, things will be messy and out of control. When God comes we and those around us are made whole transcending hat binds and crushes and is condemned.  When God comes we eat bread and drink wine, and find ourselves in God's presence whole, comforted, and unshakeable.