Subject: Memo for Jan 24
Date: January 19, 2010 7:35:27 AM PST
To: "Paul burrow"
Memo for Sunday, January 24.
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6,8-10
A return to Watergate
When the people returned from exile to find the temple in rubble, no wall around the city and Jerusalem less than golden, there was something of a merger of church and state--a rebuilding of city, temple and people. The governor, Nehemiah, and the priest and scribe Ezra got together for a very special occasion. In an earlier repairing of the temple someone had found an old scroll--they took it to Hulula the Prophetess to determine if it was authentic, probably Deuteronomy, and Hulula declared it authentic. (Do you find it interesting that Israel had women in such high places of authority )?
Ezra will read the law to the people gathered before the watergate from early morning until mid day. They were hungry for story. There is weeping, rejoicing and that day was declared holy because an exiled people had found their story again.
All of this is to say when the people lose their story they are no longer a people. Preaches are custodians of the story. That is why biblical preaching is so important.
And that is why we are not free to ride our favorite hobby horse too often.
Luke 4:14-21 First Sermon
In the Gospel for the day Jesus preaches his first sermon. Do any of you remember your first Sermon? I certainly do. I came home from two years in the Army ready to enter the ministry. The committee, remembering me from MYF days, was not so sure about me. That committee did its work with great care in our church. They wanted to hear me preach. In that first sermon I told them about the prodigal son, the ten commandments threw in a bit of Revelation and looked at my watch and five minutes had expired. I sat down. The committee was gracious so they let me in.
It was was not the same with Jesus. He was from Nazareth, and according to some scholars Nazareth was such a bad place that it is seldom mentioned except in derogatory ways. “Can anything good come out of that place”. Jesus read from Isaiah, verses well known, but then he goes too far. He wishes for them to know that the long wait is over--the Messiah is here. Can?t you just hear them saying to each other, “isn?t that Joe and Mary?s boy”? What has be been smoking”? Well we need to wait until next week for the rest of the story...
The call: " We were dreamed for a long time before we were born. Our souls minds and hearts fashioned in imagination. Such care and attention went into the creation of each person.... The great law of life is: be yourself. Though this axiom sounds simple, it is often a difficult task. To be your self you have to learn how to become who you were dreamed to be. To be born is to be chosen. There is something that each of us has to do in the world. The call is to find it." To Bless the space between, by John O'Donohue Doubleday, New York 2008 , p.135.