At Friendship Presbyterian Church where I am the pastor we are starting our second year on the Narrative Lectionary offered by the good people at workingpreacher.
com. Eachweek I’m hoping to post notes, a bit of liturgy and, after it’s preached, my sermon (if it’s of the manuscript variety). This Sunday we kick off the fall season by going back to the beginning, to the genesis of our story…
We will hear two portions of the epic and ancient flood story (Genesis 6:16-22 & 9:8-15), it is a story about life and loss, about preservation and destruction, about a wild God and God’s wild creation. So come, come and stand in the mud with us and wrestle with this promise: “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
How do we stand in the mud and live, hope, and believe this promise?
In the midst of beheadings and war zones, in the face of fear and hatred and with the ugliness of racism, and xenophobia on display all around how do we participate in this covenant? How do we recognize our own part the world’s destruction and human despair? Wouldn’t it be easier to blame the divine? Wouldn’t it be easier to hide our heads in the sand, than to put our hands in the muck and mud and plant seeds of a new creation?
What is our part to play in making God’s promise a reality?
For starters… We Tell The Truth About Ourselves (At Friendship this is how we describe our time of Confession.)
Fear rises like the floodwaters of ancient days,
We turn inward,
absorbed in our own pain,
groaning in our suffering,
groping in our anger,
the darkness of despair threatens to wash over us.
If we look outward the world seems to be going under with the tide,
The complexity of power goes unacknowledged,
it is brandished and misused,
We struggle to love well,
to resist deceit, hatred and violence.
Rising, rising waters of hopelessness threaten to engulf us.
Make good on your promise O God; do not let these floodwaters consume us.
And this will be our Blessing:
You are made in God’s image,
you are beautiful creatures of wisdom and promise,
you are forgiven
and you are chosen.
But God’s promise isn’t for you alone; it is for all of creation.
Carry this blessing with you,
let this promise inspire hope in you,
and all whom you encounter,
make it a symbol of freedom,
flying in the face of indignity, pain and injustice,
make it a call to action, for justice and peace,
until all of creation can breathe the deep breath of God’s promise.
If you would like to use my words please feel free, but give me a shout out! Something akin to © Shawna Bowman at shawnabowman.com is perfect :)