The Elephant in the Room

“We fall down

But we get up

We fall down

But we get up

We fall down

But we get up

For a Saint is just a sinner

Who fell down

And got up”

Grace and peace to you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, as we struggle to allow ourselves to be open, receiving freely the refreshing rain of forgiveness and grace falling down upon us, poured eternally out by God, Our Creator and through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Our Savior and Lord. Amen

(pause)

This song by Gospel singer Donnie McClurkin

Is our answer to our Romans text this morning

Is our battle cry

Touching the depths of our brokenness

And bring us, as children of God, comfort

We struggle in our faith

To be footstep followers of Christ

But Sin is continues to be the elephant in the room

We hate to acknowledge

That we are sinners

As people of God

Unfortunately, we will commit sins

Against our loved ones

Friends

Against our community

So it is no wonder that we find ourselves weeping

When our sin has been brought to the light

No one wants to be labeled

Unworthy

Unrepentant

Our sins causes us to be outcast from the beloved community

Judged and punished.

Yes, everyone here could name a sin that has been hurtful

Sins that we wrestle with,

The damage that sin leaves us with

With no direction even how we can

Begin to heal from sin

Sins that do have consequences,

Sins punishable by our own man-made laws

(pause)

But what I am trying to express is that this struggle with sin

Does not have to be something we journey with alone

And so Paul’s letter here in our Romans text,

His testimony and witness reached out

To those who perhaps had not been in Christ’s presence

Or even aware of His ministry

And what Good News imbedded in Christ’s teachings

That even though they were sinners

The condemnation and finality of the law was not the end

For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under the law

But under grace.”

So that hearing this, should have brought comfort to the people

And promises of freedom through being connected

To the cruciform life of Jesus Christ

The key into freeing oneself from sin

Was putting their trust into the hands of God, Our Creator

(pause)

We are left wondering if that simple solution

Even made sense to these ancient people

And even more so, to some of those first followers

Because the only way to master sin, this excess of desire

Was through rigorous work, self-control, self-discipline

By adhering to brutal exercise or self-inflicted punishments

(pause)

Trust God?

So simple, and even to us, we are hesitant

How can we overcome sin without some work involved?

It says clearly here in Romans

“Therefore do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies

To make you obey their passions”

(pause)

Paul’s words and teachings here surely left them and us

In a state of bewilderment

As if the battle against sins

Sins of greed and lust

Sins of gluttony and pride

Could be overcome so simply

Through trusting in God and leaning on Faith

Paul’s message to these people

Were that God’s promises were not just for God’s chosen people

But that God had revealed God’s righteousness through Jesus Christ

So Forgiveness and mercy and righteousness

Would not just come through the laws,

And in no way, was God undermining these ancient Laws, the Torah

But that now, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ

God revealing God’s righteousness, created a new nation

That would be a model of righteousness

Through the power of the Holy Spirit

For all of the world

(pause)

We know that our old self was crucified with him

So that the body of sin might be destroyed,

And we might no longer be enslaved to sin.”

(pause)

The problem of sin today is convoluted

Because even as we strive to be footstep followers

Of What Christ has given to us

“Love one another as I have loved you,”

Has been replaced with

“Hate the sin, love the sinner”

(pause)

We commit a sin

When we take the Word of God

And allow to be influenced by this world, who does not know God

Or trusts God’s promises

And uses it as a weapon for condemning

Instead of using it to Transform and liberate those

That do not understand what it means, to love one another

So following Christ’s commandment, we open our doors

And our hearts to those who are LGBT

We welcome them into our churches, to follow their calling

Of being Pastors and Leaders

Instead of telling them they need to prostrate themselves

Before the Cross and repent

By humanity’s standards

(pause)

God’s Word is supposed to bring comfort and closure

To those who are suffering

But time and again

Pastoral leadership sees those who are hurting in our pews

Slumped down, weeping, hiding the signs of abuse

Who are waiting to hear a word that God knows their pain

God sees, God weeps, God is angry that someone who violate their life

And instead, unfortunately, uses God’s word as a catalyst

To send that person back into a hellish situation

And turns a blind eye

Not advocating, lifting up those that Jesus Christ commanded we help

The widow, the orphan, the abused spouse, the molested child

(pause)

Christians today are so quick to quote Scriptures

About what the Law of God says

And how the Law condemns

That they forget the Mercy and Grace that the Word of God

IS!

This is our Good News!

We cannot conquer our shortcomings, our sins

Ourselves

The Good News of Jesus Christ is so clear

Jesus Christ sacrificed of Himself

So that there might be New Life

For us

That through Christ’s death we might be made whole

And all we have to do

Is Trust God, Our Creator

Trust God, and have Faith

No matter how many times we stumble

And Fall

The Good News is that God sees our stumbling in sin

And forgives and loves us anyhow

We need to Trust God

And have Faith

When we are in the midst of being Loved by God

We then see God reflected back from one another

And Loving One another, as God has called us to do

Even wracked by our sins

We can also Forgive and empower one Another

Surely as God continues to forgive us and empower us

To be a light and hope to one another.

(Ending the sermon, bring out the butterfly box and mention briefly how Barbara Schutz used it for the Sisters Sabbath where we were to place things in the box, that would get in the way of enjoying Sabbath time. Instruct the congregation during the meditative time of intercession, that we bear the burden of sins when we come into the sacred space, and never leave them here, at the foot of the Cross, so that the risen Christ can and does eradicate this from our lives. Sin will always be present, but we do not have to bear these sins alone, and so invite them to write a sin, just a sin, that perhaps they are struggling with and place it in the box).

Thanks Be To God.

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