Sunday, June 09, 2013

9 June 2013 ~ Pentecost 3 ~ Sermon "The God of surprises"


The Rev. Peter M. Carey
9 June 2013 Sermon
St. Paul’s Memorial Church, Charlottesville

Our God is a God of surprises. 

Today’s reading from Kings is rather long and rather involved, and is rather surprising.  However, of course, we dip into the story of Kings for a bit, and we may miss out on the lead in to the story, and we may also miss out on the end of the story.  In today’s reading, we get just a bit of the story, and we may miss out on the context of this most surprising account of God’s work in the world around us. 

So, what is the story behind the story?  What is the story that happens before the story? 

The people of Israel had, if you remember, spent all those 40 years in the wilderness, and then, finally were brought to the Promised Land, where God promised them that his blessings would overflow.  There, in the Promised Land, as long as the people followed, God would send his blessings.  There, in the Promised Land, the people of God interpreted this story as one which gave them a deep and abiding sense that they were the “chosen people” of God.  Of course the danger with being chosen is that one can feel like those outside the boundaries are not chosen.  Have you ever been a part of a team that gives awards to one or two members?  Have you ever been a part of a faculty that gives out recognitions to a few at the end of the academic year?  Have you ever gone to a business conference where it seems that a few are chosen, leaving the rest to (perhaps) feel unchosen.  Have you ever come in second place, have you ever not made “the cut,” have you ever been relegated to the kids table, to second class, or to a waiting list?  If so, you perhaps feel like you are not chosen.  I imagine we all have had that feeling from time to time, and perhaps more often than not.

But, here, in this passage from Kings, the story addresses those who feel chosen, and who have fallen into that dangerous sense of acting with the hubris of “chosennness.”  Of course, it is very hard to embody humility when you have been chosen, when you win, when you get the coveted position, when you carry the trophy, when you are on top of the podium, in the corner office, or when you are nailing the plaque to the wall.

What we all need to know from the passage from I Kings is that Elijah is being sent by God outside the bounds of the Promised Land...

read it all HERE at my sermons blog

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