“Even Superheroes, Disciples and We need Rest”-8th Sunday after Pentecost

These Sermons through out this year and beyond, are the ones that I preach and share with my new community of Redeemer Lutheran Church, South Holland IL

Grace and peace to you

My sisters and brothers in Christ

As we struggle with this concept of rest

And we allow ourselves to be led

To that deserted place

Where we are face to face

With the One who has the power

To bring us healing

And newness of Life,

Jesus Christ

Our Savior and Lord,

Amen.

(pause)

Finding peace and rest

Being in that place where Our Creator God dwells

Does not always manifest in those perfect, picturesque places

Sometimes we find God among the desolate and the deserted

(pause)

Detroit is one of those places

Detroit could be the epitome

Of how desolation as we understand

Impacts and affects our connectedness in Creation

(pause)

Bleakness has infected this once vibrant, moving city

Leaving the echoes of blame

Of finger pointing

Bouncing endlessly off of those who were called to serve

Who failed

And who escaped, fleeing the city

While leaving those whom they were called to serve, behind

Who bear the brunt of the endless, accusatory questions

Of Why? How?

(pause)

Despair lingers and hovers over the atmosphere

Those places where education and learning

Should vibrantly be filling every nook

Instead they are left with nothing, with emptiness

That when this beloved collective community

reaches out their hands to touch

To pass the peace, and share God’s Love

With their neighbors (pause slightly)

Their neighbors are too far away.

(pause)

There are labels that are rudely plastered up

As signs of shame

For the wider community to peer and poke and ridicule

That the city of Detroit should be forgotten

A Godforsaken place

(pause)

Our Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton recently remarked,

And I am sure we would all agree

That is not how God sees Detroit,

Or any other place in this Creation

Which has suffered

Because humanity has forgotten to compassionately Love

(pause)

I speak of Detroit because this is where 30,000 of our Lutheran

Sisters and brothers, friends and youth are

They heard Jesus’s invitation to “Come away to a desolate place,

And rest a while”

This word for desolate in the Biblical Greek, Eremos

Has a different meaning than what we know

Of the word desolate in the vernacular

(pause)

Eremos means solitude

And it is in these places of solitude

God transforms these feelings of abandonment we carry with us

So that these places become havens of Rest

Sacred spaces where we are able to BREATHE

(pause)

I’m not sure if these 30,000 wonderful Lutheran youth are truly resting,

And by all of the news feeds and social media I would have to say no-

But the Good News has flooded this once deserted city

And this City is hearing how much it is Loved

Because those youth are speaking and actively living out this call

That Love Does.

(pause)

Think about your desolate place

An unlikely place where you can be refilled over and again

With Love

Because there is God

(pause)

Shall I share with you my desolate place?

It’s an untouched prairie

Full of wild thistles and beautiful irises,

Dragonflies and fragile bees.

The only sounds I hear

Are the hidden, tiny frogs which bellow in the rushes

And the giant trees which sing and echo

“The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want.”

(pause)

When we hear this invitation to rest,

Whether we willingly lay down in those green pastures

Or bypass the beauty of still waters

It is because our very beings are experiencing tiredness, right?

What was this desolate place that Jesus Christ called His disciples to

In our Gospel text this morning?

(pause)

The disciples we can imagine, also too, were tired

One day they are ordinary

The next they find themselves foolishly following the Son of Man

Just as many others who foolishly followed Him, hearing His Voice

Or seeing His Presence

Whether they went joyously, or were still questioning who He was

They followed Him into this space of Resting

Because only there, with Jesus

Their brokenness

Their hurts

Their suffering

Could be healed

By simply being still.

It’s no accident that the Psalmist laments

That GOD MAKES US LIE DOWN

How else can we be made whole,

If we have not rested?

(pause)

So the disciples are charged now with carrying many burdens

They are called to reach out and bring healing to those they know

And those who are strangers

But these burdens of people’s fears

Their sorrows

Their frustrations

Must have weighed heavily upon them as disciples,

As leaders

As teachers

Just like you and me.

Sometimes I think we as people of faith,

We hear these stories and forget

That these brothers in Christ were human, not superheroes

They were blessed with this gift to transform this World

Through the Power of the Word

That came not through their own will

But the WILL OF GOD.

(pause)

And so Jesus knowing their limitations and their burdens

Calls them back from their labors

To Rest.

To be renewed

To be reenergized

To them to have the experience too

Of God’s Mercy, Grace

(pause)

This invitation extends to us too, beloved

We have heard the call to bear one another’s burdens

To shelter those who are without a community,

A home

Where they are showered with compassion

Mercy,

Grace,

Peace

And Love

Regardless of how broken, or imperfect their journey has become

In those moments when we are too, carrying our own burdens of heartache

The Good News is that Jesus Christ

Calls us too into these desolate places,

Because that is where GOD DWELLS

It is in that shadow of the Cross

God Waits

God reaches

God Weeps

God TRANSFORMS

GOD DEFEATS DEATH

God claims US AS GOD’s OWN

God resides in the oddest of places

In places marked by death on the Cross

Where Jesus Christ bore the burden of our sins

Freeing us from any despair

That we are not loved

And that there is a place for all of us

Where we are always and eternally,

With God.

(use this time to invite them to the activity of writing down on the index cards, what keeps them from being in restful places-and what they can do or elimate out of their daily lives so that they do rest, and hear God, and are refreshed, renewed.)

Thanks Be to God.

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