Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of March 22, 2020

From Sunday’s Worship for March 22, 2020:

Link to Worship Video for 3/22/20 – HERE
*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser: http://www.bethanylutheran.org/sunday-worship-resources-march-22-2020/
 *Direct link to Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/399257277

Link for printing Sunday’s Bulletin for 3/22/20 – HERE

Message: “God is with Us”
Sermon Text: Psalm 46
Holy Gospel Reading – John 9:1-11

For the choir director; a song by the descendants of Korah; according to alamoth.[a]
God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in times of trouble.
That is why we are not afraid
    even when the earth quakes
        or the mountains topple into the depths of the sea.
            Water roars and foams,
                and mountains shake at the surging waves. Selah
There is a river
    whose streams bring joy to the city of God,
        the holy place where the Most High lives.
God is in that city.
    It cannot fall.
        God will help it at the break of dawn.
Nations are in turmoil, and kingdoms topple.
    The earth melts at the sound of God’s voice.
The Lord of Armies is with us.
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah
Come, see the works of the Lord,
    the devastation he has brought to the earth.
        He puts an end to wars all over the earth.
            He breaks an archer’s bow.
            He cuts spears in two.
            He burns chariots.
10 Let go of your concerns!
    Then you will know that I am God.
        I rule the nations.
        I rule the earth.
11 The Lord of Armies is with us.
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah

The words have been for generations a source of strength for the weak, a shelter from the whirlwind, and a solace midst devastation.  Such was the case for the leaders of the Reformation for whom Psalm 46 became a bedrock Bible passage…theirs were not easy days.  Insults were often exchanged between leaders and their followers, assaults upon individuals and institutions were common place, wars and riots abounded, too many had too little, and to top it off pandemics spread across the region.  Sound familiar?   

Upheaval is what the Psalmist is describing. The picture the Psalmist paints is that of total instability. The author writes about global events that have deep, powerful and disruptive personal impact.  We are now living in a Psalm 46 atmosphere:  true if written today the psalmist might say: though supply chains tremble and social interaction melts. Though shoppers rage and financial markets totter, though hospital bed capacity gives way…  

I’m not sure what has you rocking most right now…The status of your 401k or toilet paper supply but we are all feeling the instability of this moment. Look at the Psalm once again and not how the anarchy of the days … “troubles and trembling, roaring and fomenting, raging and tottering and melting” is bookended with the promise that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help and that He is our fortress! Though circumstances might be tumultuous, our God is unwavering. 

The beginning and the ending of the Psalm is He who is the Alpha and Omega, who in an instable world is the one absolutely, positively and stable One….and check this out…in the middle of the Psalm the author quits talking and God Himself speaks: “Be still, and know that I am God.”  Be still!  When everything is shaking seems counterintuitive but there are two takeaways that are essential for our days!

First, God’s got this moment! Many of us have been telling our children, “This is something you'll be asked about for the rest of your lives...what were you doing when coronavirus pandemic tossed everything into upheaval and simultaneously brought everything to a stand still?”

What will be the enduring images of this moment?  I'm sure we will recall doctors and nurses and researchers working unbelievable hours...caring, seeking a cure...grocers and restauranteurs and staff remaining at work when most were asked to remain home.  Teachers using new technologies to and methods to keep instruction going and assuring children that the Master Teacher is always with them even when their classroom has become their living room or bedroom.  God is in the midst of this moment...be still does not mean do nothing...rather it means trust fervently that God's got this...AND He will manifest Himself in this moment…through people who step up and care for their neighbors, shop for shut-ins, form a virtual community and connect with old technology like land lines and hand written notes when needed.  People who will trust that God is faithful and who will themselves continue to worship faithfully albeit remotely.

Second thing to embrace in this call to be still is that you got God!  A quieter world can be a more eerie world, being inside can lead to anxiety inside…don’t forget that this moment of isolation is one in which we take the opportunity to simply be still before God. Let Him speak into this moment, let Him speak into your heart, soul and mind – reminding you who He is in Jesus Christ and all of His promises that are yes in Christ… He is the one who is rock solid and true in an unstable world, He is the one with you, with us! 
-Pr. Kevin Kritzer

Please note that Worship Resources for Sunday, March 29, 2020 will be posted on our website on Saturday, March 28.


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