The Lighthouse Keeper

Greetings from Pastor Kerry, former pastor of Spring City UMC. This blog contains my sermon outlines and/or manuscripts from my pastorate among the people of Spring City PA, from 2006 to 2011. Pastor Dennis is now the lighthouse keeper. Come and worship on Sundays at 10:00 a.m.!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Making Amends

August 9, 2009
Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Making Amends
2 Samuel 18:33

The king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, he said, “O my son, Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would that I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” – 2 Samuel 18:33

My sermon outline:

• Poignant passage, heart wrenching. (recall death of David’s unnamed son).

• We’ve skipped much... Absalom is David’s 3rd son, son of Maacah. In the six chapters we skipped, Absalom kills his oldest half brother Amnon, the heir to the throne, who had fallen in love with Absalom’s sister Tamar... When Tamar refused Amnon’s advances, Amnon raped Tamar. In a scheme of revenge, Absalom (which means “my father is peace”) then kills Amnon, and, for fear of his father David, runs away.

• (put yourself in David’s shoes... Your oldest son has raped your daughter, and your third son has killed him for it.)

• Absalom runs away, and after a few years, David has grieved the death of his son, and longs to have meaningful relationship with Absalom. David’s general Joab persuades David to grant Absalom’s safe return, but when Absalom returns, David refuses to see him for 2 years. Absalom finagles an audience with the king, and the king offers a formal reconciliation (but David the father does not participate meaningfully).

• Little surprise, then, when Absalom conspires to usurp the throne... (scripture doesn't really tell about Absalom's older brother Kileab)

Absalom decides that his father King David is no longer fit for leadership, so he shrewdly turns troops and people to him, and amasses a formidable army against the king.

David, aware of his estranged son’s doings, get out of the way, avoids conflict, runs away, with a few loyal troops.

• Recap: Absalom slew Amnon. David doesn’t speak to Absalom for years. Absalom rebels.
Who is responsible for the broken relationship between David and Absalom?

• Today: Absalom is killed by David’s men (by Joab, actually). And David weeps. Wish it were me, he says.

Frederick Buechner writes that when David wished he had died instead of Absalom, “he meant it, of course. If he could have done the boy’s dying for him, he would have done it. If he could have paid the price for the boy’s betrayal of him, he would have paid it. If he could have given his own life to make the boy alive again, he would have given it. But even a king can’t do things like that. As later history was to prove, it takes a God.” (quoted in The New Interpreter’s Bible)

• David’s grief occupies several levels.

• loss of life of son (perhaps the 4th to die. Kileab, Amnon, the unnamed son of David and Bathsheba)
the child is not supposed to die before the parent.

• the consequences of David’s sin being played out.
Who has ever played “If only”

2 Samuel 12 David’s told this isn’t over yet...

• unfinished business with Absalom. Grudge.
Grudges are held. Grudges are nurtured. It takes work to keep a grudge alive. Negative energy.

• David had opportunity to make amends, which woulda been terrific leadership, given glory to God. But he allowed the 2-way rift to remain untreated until it was too late. Challenge: break cycle.

I often say at funerals, if you have any grudge with the deceased, any unfinished business, if you need to forgive the deceased or receive forgiveness, take care of it now... make amends. Making amends takes work, too. But it's worth it, and it can give glory to God.

• Grudge not. Be humble, and give glory instead.

• 534 Be Still My Soul

- Pastor Kerry

This Sunday: 48 in worship. Rainy.


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