Sermon Notes

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Sunday, august 2nd

Sermon Notes 

 

Fresh Starts #1

Genesis 32:22-31, Psalm 17:1-7 & 15, Romans 9:1-5 and Matthew 14:13-21
As we encounter our passages this week, let us pray for the presence and
guidance of the Holy Spirit.
1) Proclaim. Read the passages aloud. This will help us hear the word
proclaimed.
2) Picture. Read the same texts again, this time picture ourselves
somewhere in the narrative. Where do we find ourselves in the drama
that is unfolding?
3) Ponder. After a third reading, ponder what these words might be saying to
us today. What insight is gained about ourselves, God and neighbor?
4) Practice. Following a final reading of the passage, resolve to translate
your experience in the meditation into action. What action of grace is
present in this passage? What action is God calling us to take in
response?
We are going to be talking about “Fresh Starts” the entire month of August. How
many of us like “Fresh Starts”? How many of us had the magic slates growing
up? These were writing tablets, by lifting up the page, everything was erased,
giving the user a fresh start.
Jacob spent a long night wrestling with God. Up until then, Jacob had isolated
himself away from everyone, and making lots of enemies. After hearing the
news that John the Baptist had been murdered, Jesus left in a boat to go to a
remote place. In the midst of Jesus’ own stuff, crowds began to gather searching
for a fresh start. Jesus stepped out of the boat and met them with compassion.
I believe that we can easily connect our lectionary texts around humanity’s need
for a fresh start and that God meets us where we’re at in life.
In Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s poem, “Who Am I?” he writes, “Who am I? They often
tell me I stepped from my cell’s confinement calmly, cheerfully, firmly, like a
Squire from his country house…. Am I then really that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself? Restless and longing and sick, like a
bird in a cage, struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my
throat, yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds…Who am I? They
mock me, these lonely questions of mine. Whoever I am, thou knowest, O God, I
am thine!”
Some say this poem is about the great gulf that exists between what “they” see
(confidence, courage, and faithfulness) and what Bonhoeffer knows is going on
inside him, weakness, dread and inner whispering. Perhaps we are reminded
this week, that we have to be willing to step out and embrace the gulf of
ourselves. May we discover that our God is a liberating, listening and gracious

Creator who yearns for us a fresh start. Perhaps a fresh start does not begin
with the question, “Who Am I?” Maybe our fresh start begins in realizing that we
are more than we realize in the eyes of God?
I hope you will join us Sunday for in-person or online worship. Please feel free to
reach out to me or the church office with prayer concerns, joys in your life, or
ways in which we can help.
Blessings,

Pastor Tom