Sunday, February 27, 2011

belly laughs.

Thankful for the opportunity to laugh today....and here's an attempt to share that joy....

Worship @ 10:45....the third service with the bulletins printed upside down.  It was operator error...when the printing you could either read it on your head or just flip it over...

We had to tweak the slides for the hymn of the day, because in the ELW Praise to the Lord the Almighty has two versions.  The left side of the page is with the music and the right side of the page is just lyrics...and it was lyrics on the right side that I wanted to use...but the other number was in the bulletin and on the between the two services today, a colleague updated the slides. 

We have the children's message, then begin the hymn of the day with one typo after the first verse we sang praise to the Lord the Almihhhty The lord of creation.

And it just went goofy from there....There was a typo on every slide...after a few I got the giggles and so did the senior pastor....he said, I just want to see if you can still preach...then another typo...and I just keel over laughing...I can't keep it in...and neither can he...I'm not even looking at his family, thank heavens...because they sit in the front row and lost it too! Then my colleague snorts....probably because praise was spelled priase twice on the same slide. I can no longer keep myself if I was together up to that point...
Finally 4th verse....make it through two lines...and head to the pulpit to preach....and I think okay...this has always been my favorite hymn...bust out the final few lines and regain composure and you're good...and bam...I have to sing about the poeple. I'm standing in front of everyone...and I'm like no way....
The hymn ends....I'm in the pulpit....and I just look, take a deep breath.....and laugh...and everyone laughs....then I try to pray and it took a few breaths to get focused...I've never laughed to the point of tears right before preaching....

Luckily I made it through the opening prayer and was able to talk about how comforting Jesus words are when our bulletins are upside down...and when there are like 7 typos in the hymn of the day....and the sermon went smoothly from there. Phew....

Here's the rest of the sermon:

February 27, 2011
Epiphany 8A

Isaiah 49:8-16a
Psalm 131
1 Corinthians 4:1-5
Matthew 6:24-34

Please pray with me,
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O God, our rock and our redeemer.  Amen. 

What a comforting passage from the gospel today, right?  Do not spend time worrying…those little details are being taken care of.  Do not worry about tomorrow…

Don’t worry…or as Bobby McFarrin sang in the 80’s Don’t Worry, Be Happy. 
In every life we have some trouble, but when you worry, you make it double, so don’t worry, be happy. 
Ain’t got no cash, ain’t got no style, ain’t got a girl to make you smile…but don’t worry, be happy. 

Don’t worry…be happy…but as soon as we hear this passage…we begin to worry.  Isn’t that the case?  That as soon as you’re told not to think about something….bam! You can’t seem to get it out of your mind. 

Yet, Jesus encourages us, tells us, not to worry.  Wouldn’t you like to live a life with no worries…a life with no stress, easy days, everything you need is right there for you…it almost seems as if this worry free life is some place removed from life as we know it.  That it is unrealistic. 

Unrealistic….that’s how it is for one familiar character who tries to live a worry-free life.  Perhaps some of you have seen the movie The Lion King?  The future King, Simba, faces a tragedy in the loss of his father and pretty much runs away from life as he knows it, where he bumps into two new friends…Timon & Pumba who teach him their motto: Hakuna Matata.  Which means, no worries.  They tell Simba to forget his worries and troubles, to just enjoy the carefree life that they live and love. 

So that’s what Simba does, he leaves the life that he knew, for this care-free, easy living with his new best friends.  No worries…what a great life to live, right? 

But for Simba, he lives this life because he chooses to leave the past behind him.  He chooses to walk away from his responsibility as King of the jungle.  He doesn’t want to worry about how others will see him and what they will think of what he has done…so he pretty much begins a new life. 

Now here’s the thing, I think we, too, have that tendency to be like Simba…we long for a life with no worries, anxieties and stresses.  And from time to time we have the opportunity to get away….to vacation, to be away from work, school, and sometimes we get away from family and loved ones, just to be able to breathe and find ourselves.  Which can be a good thing, but not a permanent thing. 

  How can that be…in the world in which we live.  Don’t worry…be happy….that can sound shallow, frivolous and unrealistic.  How are we to live lives that are worry free?  

It seems like an impossible task. 

But Jesus knows us….and Jesus reminds us that living lives of faith does not mean a simple care-free life…like the one that Simba

We still face setbacks, delays, failures, frustrations as well as joys, triumphs, victories and accomplishments. 

The point Jesus is making is that when our lives are focused on God’s call for each of us, then we have no room for worry.  Because it is all in God’s hands….and we are assured that we can handle whatever may happen to us…because God is in control and God’s faithful people belong to one another.  We are not alone. 

In God’s community, people look out for each other and share what they have; people take what they need and leave some for others.  In God’s community we think about each other…we think about our neighbors, their needs, worries and anxieties. 

God’s community is here and now. 

Few of us are exempt from worry and anxiety.  Most live with chronic anxiety, and we are scared of everything…of losing our homes, our jobs, not having enough for retirement, caring for our children until they reach adulthood, and sometimes helping to support them after that, avoiding danger and fear of terror attacks.  Those who have little, fret over having adequate shelter, food and water; finding a decent job; taking care of their families; having enough money to survive.  All of us – rich and poor – privileged and exploited – have legitimate reasons to fret and worry, even through we know such actions do not change the realities we face.  

Jesus understands this; his call to worry-free living is not based on unrealistic views of the world.  His words are for those who understand that God will not leave us without resources or support.  We can face life with all its uncertainties and contingencies with the assurance that we are not alone – that God hears, sees, and cares about us and our situations.  “Don’t worry, be happy,” because God is in control. 

And now may the peace, which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus and let all God's people say, amen.  

Folks at the end of worship asked if we did the bulletin and the hymn on purpose... :) yeah, no.... :) just a few God moments of pure and utter joy....

After worship, we got news that a parishioner....passed away this morning....the highs and lows of ministry continue...but I am truly thankful for the joy that we experienced in worship....and felt free to share....for that strengthens us for the rougher, tougher times ahead.  We were reminded in our worry-free lives of faith that the sorrows and struggles do not leave us...but that God doesn't either....thank heavens.

Until the next set of tears....from joy or sadness....

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