In pm's words
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April 30, 2017, 7:03 AM

the one about the basics


Sermon from Sunday April 30, 2017

Text: Luke 24: 13-35

Grace and peace to you from God our Creator and our Risen Lord who is the Christ – will y’all pray with me? May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer; amen!

So, who here has heard that sometimes the simplest solution is the best one?

Y’all know that I love technology. Not only do I love technology, but over the years, quite a few people have come to me for advice and tech support and I’ve been able to help them out. I know technology. And if I don’t know the answer, there’s a good chance I can figure it out.

This week the mouse I use with my computer – this one right here – stopped working. My computer would recognize it; all the lights would turn on, but my cursor wouldn’t move. Frustrating.

I went through all the logical steps. Maybe the newest beta build of Windows 10 I just installed broke the connection or perhaps there is a bug in the Bluetooth stack in this latest build. After numerous times unpairing and pairing the device and more time than I care to admit perusing the support forums. I discovered that it wasn’t my computer or the operating system’s fault.

Maybe it was the mouse? Maybe water got into the inner workings the most recent time I cleaned it? Maybe, just maybe at almost two years of life and constant and consistent use throughout those years that the mouse finally died.

However, just before I hit the buy button at Best Buy, I decided to check one last thing. I’ll just change the batteries. Though, I knew it couldn’t be that. I’m too smart to be foiled by batteries!

Well, I got the mouse to work. Though, I’m not not going to say it was the batteries.

Y’all ever do something similar? Whether it be with some sort of technology, a math problem, your car? You overlook the simplest fix because it couldn’t possibly be that one. Happens more than we care to admit, doesn’t it?

This morning we get to read my absolute favorite Jesus story from scripture. I love this story because it is such a good analogy to life in faith.

Sometimes the best solution is the simplest one.

At this moment in which our gospel story takes place, the disciples are in turmoil. They are confused and scared. Their teacher, their messiah, their friend has been wrongfully accused and executed by the powers and authority of the land. Not only that, but three days have past and stories and rumors have emerged that his body is no longer present in his tomb.

Anyone and everyone would be confused and frightened by this. Dead men are not supposed to get up. It isn’t how it’s supposed to be. You die and you stay dead. It’s just what we know.

We meet these two disciples as they travel away from Jerusalem. They are traveling away from the pain and heartbreak they’ve experienced that weekend. They are traveling away from the confusion that surrounds them. In their travels they meet their friend, but for whatever reason they don’t recognize him. Within this crisis of faith, Jesus enters into space with them.

Sound familiar to anyone’s life right about now?

Life itself is confusing and scary at times. We are thrust into situations that we don’t know how to handle. We encounter issues in life that confront and challenge our faith. We become scared because of where our minds could possibly go as we travel those paths.

When you’re confronted by those huge obstacles and hurdles in life where faith shakes, it’s scary.

How will it get better? Where is my hope to come? How can I grow? Where can we go from here? Where is God in all of this?

When I was in seminary a professor had a ‘heart to heart’ conversation my classmates and me. He wondered why we weren’t attending chapel as faithfully as he would’ve hoped and thought for future leaders in the church.

We explained that we were stressed, stretched with work, and worried about the future.

His response? If that is so – where is the one place you could go and be reminded of God’s presence in all this, hear that you are loved and not alone, and be fed to be strengthened and sent into the very world that we worried so much about?

When life turns us towards sorrow and we seek to pull ourselves out of the hopelessness we tend to turn away from the very things that remind us of hope. Much like the two disciples on the road we turn and travel away from those things that draw us towards God.

Then, in order to ‘get back’ to that place, we expect a big miracle and life altering course correction, a big, bombastic, and unforgettable encounter to steer us back towards our faith.

Jesus meets the disciples on the road and he opens scripture to them. He tells them all they had known again and again – beginning with the prophets and leading up to the death and resurrection of their friend and Lord. I assume that in their travels and companionship on the road they shared prayers and blessings with and for one another. As they came to the end of their time together, they shared a meal – and it was there that they remembered who it was that had been with them the whole time.

Folks – sometimes the simplest answer is the best one.

Together in community, reading through scripture, sharing prayers with and for one another, and sharing in a meal – it all just might be what we need to change the batteries of our own lives of faith. Perhaps in those simple ways our hearts too will burn within us. Where that fire in our souls will compel us to run and share this good news to all we meet.

Sometimes, maybe, perhaps we overthink our lives of faith much like I tried to find every complicated solution to my mouse problems when all I needed to do was change the batteries.

I fretted and doubted my abilities as a techie and geek, I became frustrated by how I couldn’t solve this issue. It should work – it’s all right there in front of me. It has to be something ‘big.’ Yet, I could’ve saved myself so much unease and sorrow if I had just ‘gone to the basics’ from the beginning.

I think that applies to us in our lives of faith as well.

When we become rocked in our faith, we doubt ourselves. We question God’s love for us. We doubt the Spirit’s presence and ability to move through us. We walk in darkness and we feel we can’t get out unless something ‘big’ comes along to shake us up.

Though, it just might be those simple things that move us into that deeper place we wish to be.

Gathering together in worship, surrounded by our fellow sisters and brothers reminds us that we aren’t the only ones who struggle in all of this. We are reminded that we aren’t alone in our thoughts and hurts. It is good to be reminded that this life of faith involves more than just ourselves. This is bigger than just us. It is good to gather in community.

We read scripture – often and daily – and see God’s work in the life of those who came before us, but also discover that they too are not that much different from us. God appears to and walks with them in countless beautiful ways. We are reminded in those words of scripture that God stays true to the promises and covenants that have been made and how those promises continue and are extended to each of us. We read that God does and will walk with us through all of this and that there is not one thing that can separate us from God’s love. Not one thing!

We share in meals together. We share in this meal that is given for us each week and we are invited and share in meals with one another throughout the week and in our lives. Building and deepening relationships with those we know and love and inviting new friends into our lives through meals as well.

It’s the basics of our faith. Gather. Read. Eat. Share.

In all of that our hearts burn within us and we invite others to gather. To read. To eat. To share.

Amen.

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