Sunday's Sermon -
The Rev. Scott Duane Grossmann.
Vicar of Mt. Olive
I have a brother, one year older, his name is Steve. My mother says: Oh Steve is so special, so beautiful, so talented, so wonderful and unique. And you are as well my second child special, beautiful, talented, wonderful and unique it's just that you are special and unique in your own way, yet you have talents that Steve possibly wouldn't have and vice versa
“You see my little buck-a-ru’
Every child of God is special and yet no child of God is any more special than the other.
Let me point out Jesus said
I don't have anything you don’t have, its just, I don't have anything else.
Criticism, self-centeredness, hatred, gossip, jealousy, betrayal, self-obsession, fear,
This got me thinking
Which is one of the worst places for me to go in my mind by myself
Its in my thinking My self will, running the show
Many times my thoughts turn into heavy emotions, my emotions in to feelings turn in to criticism, and criticism into judgment, and I feel dis -ease, and discomfort.
When thought truns in to emotions, emotions in to EGO edging God Out, Ego
It like the train of thoughts leaves the station and I have to go all the way around to get back to a healthy peace in my mind
It can be exhausting
I remind us
Nothing that I don't give any situation I cannot receive in any situation.
What I don’t give, I can get. Like, love, compassion,
A hero of mine Helen Shookman auther of a “Course in Miracles” writes
We become a giver of peace
As surely as God, who gave you peace.
Your release is certain
Give as you have received And
Demonstrate that you have risen far beyond any situation that could hold you back and keep you separate from God
whose call you answered.
In the Scripture today the definition of sheep and goat plays in our consciousness
The goat is stubborn cranky messy and the sheep are caring loving compassionate
However the goat can be caring loving and compassionate
And be sure the sheep can be stubborn cranky and messy
Am I both a sheep and a goat
The answer is yes
And the answer is no
For I am human
I am human first, beautiful, talented, wonderful, and unique, and a child of God who is no more special than any other child of God
I am a human person, with human emotions, that come with the lease of being human.
I did not pick or choose to be human with or without emotions or do I decide what feelings to have or not have
How many times have we wished for these feelings to pass
Yet I choose
To stay in guilt, shame, criticism and judgment and self righteous misery or give the power to God letting go of the peanuts to freedom seeking God's will for me and the power to carry it out.
We are all familiar with cycles and
We are all in some form or another seemingly always in a cycle
The weather seasons are cycles
A school year is in a cycle
The church year cycle is another
Addicts find themselves in cycle’s until hitting a bottom
Athletes find themselves in a cycle one day they're hitting a home runs,
The next day only base hits, then grounding out
To striking out, and back to home runs, with the help of steroids in some cases
Cycles are part of our life and when we are in one we say
This too shall pass
The cycle I want to elevate today is the cycle given to us in the biblical promise of our inheritance through Gods word to us as spiritual beings
Spiritual beings while living a human experience
Peace, rebellion, trouble, repentance, deliverance, back to peace cycle
This Peace rebellion trouble repentance deliverance back to peace cycle
We will never Not be in one in our life
It is in our DNA as Christians
As we look at this cycle we start with peace that peace we knew as a baby and as an adult that peace that surpasses all understanding, you know the peace of comfort I’m talking about, less anxiety, less fear, less hyper, less anger
We experience less lack, less thoughts of darkness; we love and live for this peace.
However as sure as the sun rises and sunsets
We will experience what the Bible calls rebellion.
An attempt to overthrow Gods power.
Become separate, isolate, disconnected,
Abuse our authority.
And trouble a condition of distress
Anxiety, when the bills start to come in we thinks we are in serious trouble
Accidents, injury, judgment, gossip, brokenness
A Sheppard goes out of his or her way to find that one lost sheep
When found The shepherd carries the sheep back to the flock over his shoulders we've seen that picture, right?
However the myth goes in this story that when the sheep is found/ the Shepherd breaks the leg of the lost sheep, so the sheep will learn to stay and not stray from the flock.
As harsh as that story is,/Whether we want to believe this or not the image is resonating with how we live in the cycle /
living as a spiritual being having a human experience of God's love for us.
When we wonder a way from peace/ we experience the rebellion and trouble
Through this brokenness we get reminded that
God you brought me out, to bring me in, so I believe so my faith my be built up
Peace rebellion trouble
The kingdom of God is near repent and believe the good news
Our cycle continues to the Repentance, awareness, cry out
Recognize the wrong,/ old ways and habitus start to change.
Awareness/ having knowledge of something/ being awaken and able to hear, see, and feel the pain.
Admitting hopelessness/ ask God for strength, once that need is recognized/ your prayer is heard above all the music of heavens.
The last part of the cycle is the deliverance/ God can I be with you? You are always with me can I come back to you/
Prayer, rescue, invitation, from hardship, deliverance from evil
I pray / send my voiceless cry for help out into the void/ that I may feel certain that it will be heard somewhere somehow, deliverance through God’s Grace.
We feel safe once again
Gently and many times with a hard landing we are Returned to Peace, a Case of freedom from war raging inside me, we empty out to experience freedom to be of service, freedom from conflict or disagreement among people/ a mental calm, serenity/ and peace comes upon us.
We love and live for this peace
And what’s really funny is we don’t or can’t even understand it. it surpasses all understanding
yet we constantly seek it, in some form or another
Is this peace…. the kingdom of God?
Peace, rebellion, trouble, repentance, cry out, deliverance, back to peace.
What part of the cycle are you in today, this month, this year, this decade?
in todays gospel Matthew tell us Jesus began his story with the words “the kingdom of heaven’ while other authors use “kingdom of God” both are one and the same.
Mark says: Jesus came to make the kingdom available to everyone.
John says; Jesus takes away the sin of everyone who trusts in him.
Trust is a decision, consent, and good intention, is a choice, this is our self will.
Part of my wonderful meditative practice is called Centering Prayer/ that has been established for the community of God by practicing monk Thomas Keating/ when he says it is in the consent and intention to just sit, be quite, and listen.
God tells us trough Moses and Abraham “be still and know I am”
Claim your inheritance, meditate and pray make connection for we are drawn into the power and presence of God.
Just the consent and a good intention of crying out and asking God's deliverance to God's promise of peace is enough to get out of rebellion. God hears you.
We must believe this/ for on the Day of Judgment we have the choice/ to be in repentance and deliverance
to step the right of the pack with the rest of the sheep where we are promised our inheritance. The gift of eternity.
On the day of judgment, however you look at that day/ through the sky’s opening up, God sending Jesus from the heavens to judge and place the sheep on the right and the goats on the left or is it just another day of seeking peace/ moving through rebellion and trouble into repentance crying out to be delivered as promised back to peace
However you visualize that judgment day, its your image, neither right or wrong/
Owever recognize that it is an inside job between you and God, it is in the interior not in exterior/
or how many pies you serve, although pie serving is good thers a special place in heaven for those who serve pie yet not any more special then the other.
In your faith as a spiritual being having a human experience, we live by faith alone Luther says by faith alone I am loved and saved we believe through our Lutheran heritage.
The eternal life punishment comes when we stubbornly ignore/ the repentance and deliverance that is allowed us
The goat was concerned only for his stomach not realizing or caring that eating the root system would mean starvation for other goats.
Today those who take and use all the natural resources/ taking the oil/ taking the redwoods/ yes we 1% to the 99 % claiming wealthy vs. poverty
The great division is universal in the creation used to divide the sheep from the goats.
Every sheep, goat, child of God is special and yet no sheep, goat, Child, God is any more special then the other.
Jesus cut right through all religions
Jesus cut through confessions and professions, theology and philosophy, through liturgy and ritual, through institutions and organizations, through pretense and self-righteousness
Where is Jesus? Who is Jesus today?
I tell you Jesus is all of us,,,,,,,, Jesus includes all
Christ with in
Jesus identifies with the poor/, with us who have no advocate/ and who are unable to help themselves,
This does not just mean/ money poor/, or hungry poor, humans.
But/ all poor spiritual beings, having a human experience/
This cycle of biblical promise of Gods word is for all.
We all go through the cycle.
Spiritually poor means, you may be rich in money, but broken in spirit/
Blessed are the poor in spirit for they shall inherit the earth/, have eternal life/, seek and find emotional sobriety, empty me to fill me up dear God
How are we living in our days leading up to human death?
……..It is then said our judgment usually lies on feeding the poor, clothing the poor but when we flipped the coin what does feeding the poor look like in a rich society
We feed the rich/ with God's word
We cloth the wealthy/ with the love of God, yes, and yes,
We pray for the extremist on religious condemnation
We wrap our brothers and sisters in gentleness to be clothed in righteousness, right-thinking, we visit and pray for the 1% as well as the 99% those isolated and alone as for we all can occupy the kingdom of God.
All of us with rich finances, and all of us marginalized and oppressed, all of us fighting for human rights, and all of us poor without monetary or material wealth
We do not get out of here alive… not one of us …. people
We are all in this together
There is not a poor or rich class when it comes to Jesus
For we all are poor spiritually at one point or another throughout our lives here on earth.
How do we feed this hunger, how do we quench this thirst, how do we cloth and keep warm the naked, how do we engage, and uplift the lonely imprisoned
To those who think they are entitled, we live by taking care of all the special people
Yet no more special then the other
So in our cycle of a spiritual being, living a human experience we can only see the
The kingdom's eternal punishment as a figurative language, if not,
We cannot comprehend in our own mortal, third dimensional thinking what judgment day could be like
And every one of us will be in some question of fear, we are human and it is an emotion we live with.
Yet our spiritual being as we nurture our soul in God's word and love will be stepping confidently to the right, not the left to the right, to our promised inheritance,
Where the sheep graze on into eternity
Tradition says hell is eternal fire
However the proceeding parable from last week Matthew 25:30 Jesus used the phrase:
Outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Homeless in San Francisco on my seminary cultural experience doing night ministry a preacher preached this weeping and gnashing of teeth message
And a toothless lady in the front pew interrupted and asked what if you have no teeth,
Without missing a beat the preacher responded, teeth will be provided. No one will be excused.
For this outer darkness and judgment can it be figurative language for our absence of a relationship.
The sentence is in verse 25:41 depart from me, Hell is the absence of relationship, hell is outside the grace, outside the rule of God.
We will cycle in an out of giving and taking and receiving and giving it is in our consent and our intention if we truly believe in Christ the king,
The king in our hearts assures us to be a sheep of good intentions on Gods service to all our brothers and sisters.
Some days we give the dollar to the beggar some days we don't have the dollar to give
Some days I can visit you and some days I need you to visit me
We desire to be instruments of thy peace where there is hatred, may we sow love, where there is injury pardoned, where there is doubt faith, where there sadness joy, where there is darkness light,
Where there is Hunger may we feed and be fed
Where there is Dryness may we bring water and quench the thirst
Where there is Naked and Cold may we be clothed
Where there is Loneliness and Isolation may we be visited?
We seek not so much to be loved as to love, to be understood as to understand to be comforted as to comfort.
For it is in the giving that we receive and it is in the forgiveness that we are forgiven and that it is in the dying of old self that we are born to eternal life.
My prayer to each one of you as a spiritual being, living a human experience is, you live longer periods in peace and quickly move through the cycle of rebellion and trouble, while receiving and learning your rewarding message
Be assured through your awareness, repentance, in your cry out to God, you will be heard and delivered back to that special, beautiful, talented, wonderful, unique child
God’s own child of Peace.
With no more separation, may all of us, as one, be delivered and brought back to life eternity
In God’s power and presence of peace through Christ the King, forever and forever and ever living all together, my little buck a rue’s with each other in the kingdom of God.
Be it for me and be it for you
The Rev. Scott Duane Grossmann
Vicar, Mt. Olive Lutheran Church
Santa Monica, California
Sunday, November 23rd, 2014
My little buck-a- rue’s
Sunday Sermon written by Rev. Scott Duane Grossmann