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, October 04, 2009

World Communion Sunday

October 4, 2009
Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

World Communion Sunday

Job 1 and 2

Job was blameless and upright; he feared God and turned away from evil. – Job 1:1

My sermon outline:

• (during scripture reading: “Satan” in this instance is not the devil, more like a “devil’s advocate”...) While my messages are generally delivered to believers, it would be instructional for me to deliver a message to a non-believer, to see whether it flows, whether it makes unjust assumptions or leaps, etc. The book of Job has such a character, an accuser, a critic, part of God’s heavenly court. This character is referred to as “the satan”.

• Today’s reading from chapter two is very similar to chapter one, which we skipped, in which the satan challenges God, saying that Job’s righteousness is a result of all that he has, his family, his possessions, etc. God allows the satan to take his family and his possessions, but not to touch Job. Job’s sons and daughters and livestock and properties are all destroyed, and Job responds, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrongdoing. (Job 1:21-22)

• Once upon a time... Ancient story of a man who is not like everyman but is the paragon of man, the ideal. Over-the-top righteous (not self-righteous). Perfectly wealthy in family and in materials. Not leave-it-to-beaver (everyman) but more like a hero, like Tom Hanks – has it all, has it good.

It’s a story of a good man and his response to life, his response to unwittingly being made a guinea pig.

The story poses the question Why do bad things happen to good people? We get to see the accuser in this story, but that’s rare. We can be bombarded with instances of innocent people suffering and dying, without knowing any cause. Thousands of poor people that have their homes and lives swept away by a typhoon or a tsunami. (UMCOR, by the way, is actively providing relief to folks in Indonesia, South Pacific, Philippines...) Lives shattered by natural disaster and by disease. Individuals and families wracked by course after course of cancer.

• As you read through the book of Job you’ll find plenty of reasons that don’t cut it... and ironically, you’ll find few if any reasons that bring satisfaction.

Instead, reading the book of Job can give you insight into how you view God, and how you speak to, speak of, and interact with God. Job is righteous, that is attested to, and when suffering happens in his life he does not blame God but praises God, but he also allows his suffering to consume his view of God... he becomes focused on his own righteousness, and loses sight of the forest for the trees... loses sight of God.

• Over the next few weeks we’ll work toward hopefully an understanding of God and ourselves through the book of Job. Your understanding will be greatly increased if you take the time to read through Job... (in addition to the daily readings from James... there is no relationship without commitment... )

• Today is World Communion Sunday, and though there is not a message about it per se, WCS arose out of a time of suffering in American history, the Great Depression, between the great world wars. A Presbyterian pastor from Pittsburgh sought to do something both real and symbolic to proclaim that God is God indeed, in spite of politics, economics and future shock... in spite of suffering beyond our comprehension. The idea spread slowly but grew as its message of interconnectedness in Christ was picked up by churches and nations. Through a unique kind of suffering, Jesus Christ offered himself for the reconciliation and redemption of the world, and across denomination and border and time we proclaim together that God is worthy of our praise, and that in all that we do, we, the children of God, need God every hour.

• 397 I Need Thee Every Hour

- Pastor Kerry

This Sunday: 72 in worship.


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