Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Matthew 11 "Sermon" - 4th Sunday after Pentecost

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
A "Translation" instead of a Sermon 
July 6, 2014 - 4th Sunday after Pentecost

Roles:
Liz Floresch – Judgmental Onlooker, Active Listener
Lindsay Kremer - Yoke Carrier, Light Shiner

Both stand up in the front of the church, 
one looking on in judgement through the whole reading, 
one struggling with a heavy load. 

Jesus spoke to everyone who had gathered around him,
those desperate enough to listen,
for whatever reason each one of them showed up.

He said some things like these:

What is with... people?
What is with us?
What is it with all these grown-#$% men and women?
What is is with this “generation?”

He said:

It's like we're a bunch of whiny children.

Each one is mad at the other one, saying:

He won't play the game I wanna play!”

Tell her it's my turn. She already had one!”

It's not fair! It's not what I want!”...

[stomp off pouting]...

[pause].

John—the prophet who baptized me,
lived out in the desert.
He fasted.
He abstained from almost everything.
From food...
From drink...
And all folks could say about him was:
He's nuts!”
He's mentally ill!”
He's a stupid head!”

He has a demon!”

Then,
I come along, just somebody's son.
And I go to the feasts, and the gatherings...
I go to where the people are! I don't even make them come to me!

And I get accused of enjoying the fine things in life,
just a little too much.”
He's not holy! He's just one of us!”
He's friends with that guy that was hustlin' over by CVS.
I saw him hangin' with some gang bangers
and some bar flies outside of Bernice's.

He has a demon (Matthew 9, 12)!
He's a stupid head!

That guy's nuts!

I'm sure glad we're not like him!
[fist bump others who agree we are not like him, and are grateful for that.]

[pause].

Well,
Stupid is as stupid does.”

Wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.

[pause].

Now, Jesus' words were unsettling.
And his actions were even more unsettling.

At the same time,
the results of his ministry among the people could not be disputed.
People were healed, cured, given new life.. People were re-born, resurrected...



Out of nowhere,  

Jesus did something quite unexpected.

Mid-conversation,

While everyone was still gathered there listening,

Jesus looked a way from them,

looked up to the heavens, 

and began to pray.


God,

You're a Parent to everyone.
[point to the judgmental onlooker, the burden-carrier, as well as the congregation, emphasis: everyone]..

At the same time, you are ruler and maker of the entire universe.

Thank you.

Thank you for what remains a mystery,
mysterious even to folks who who think they're super smart,
Or super wise.

Thank you.

Thank you for revealing your mysteries,
especially to helpless infants,
to newborns,
to the newly alive,
to the resurrected.

To those who do not yet have language.
To the newly baptized into Life with You.
[point to the baptismal candidates, Betty and Sophie)


Often, what you reveal, it seems, is received easily by those who don't claim to already “know” everything about you.

Sometimes your word is a difficult Word 
for those of us who don't see that we,
too,
need resurrection.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Amen.”

Then Jesus said:

All I have
I have received from my Parent
alone.

No one knows a kid like the parent of that kid.

And no one really knows a kid's parents like that kid,

except, of course, everyone to whom he goes around blabbing all the family secrets.


Come here.

Let me tell you one of those family secrets:

Come here,

Come to me.

Especially if you are tired or worn out.

Come to me,

if you're not sure where else you can go.

You're welcome to come here.

To our house.

To my Father's house.

Come here,

Come,

And I

will give you

rest.”

[pause].

And not only that.

I'll give you something new
to pick up.
Try on a new teaching,
a new way,
a new direction,
a new “yoke.”

[Replace the heavy stick of a yoke with a baptismal candle from near the Christ Candle]

A yoke that is gentle,
whose heart is earthy,
gritty,
humble,
from-the-dust—the same dust that you're made from.

Take up a new—no, a different yoke.

Find in it rest, even rest for your
spirit,

your soul.

My yoke will lift you up.

It won't weigh you down.

My burden will lighten your load.

It will make your spirits

soar.

Come.

All who are weary and heavy laden.

And I will give you

rest.

Amen.




[Sermon is followed by Hymn of the Day and Baptism—the Christ candle is carried to the font!]

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