Monday, June 08, 2020

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of June 7, 2020

Link to Worship Video for 6/7/20 – HERE
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Link for printing Sunday’s Bulletin for 6/7/20 – HERE
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Link to Bible Discovery Resources for 6/7/20 – HERE
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11 or 12 weeks ago we entered a time that we agreed was a Psalm 46 moment.  It felt like everything was crumbling!  Since then we’ve seen markets fall, personal economies collapse, individual lives in upheaval with job loss, increases in depression, abuse and despair.  Of course, we’ve also seen vile, criminal behavior that undermines the noble calling of policing and taints law enforcement officers.   We've also seen vile, criminal behavior that undermines the noble cause of protesting injustice that taints law abiding protesters.  Little did we know 11 or 12 weeks ago that the Psalm 46 moment in which we were living was going to be truly become the Psalm 46 moment in which we are living today.

The words of the 46th Psalm are a source of strength during our weakness, a shelter from the whirlwind around us, and a solace midst devastation because the God who spoke them, who fills their promises is our strength, shelter and solace midst the turmoil around us and…our world is in turmoil.  
The Psalmist writes about global events that have deep, powerful and disruptive personal impact.  True if the Psalmist were writing today he may have juxtaposed the “gladness of the City of God” with the sadness filling the cities of men.  He might have noted not only an earth that melts but hearts that melt at the sins of racism and radicalism that can leave one to wonder what is happening to humanity…we can hear the uproar, will the kingdom fall?  Hearts are melting.  

The Psalmist bookends his analysis of anarchy of the days with these words, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help.  After recognizing a world filled with rage, tottering and melting the Psalmist concludes with the assurance that the Lord is with us; that God is our fortress!  Yet, in the middle of the Psalm, the author quits talking and God Him speaks:  “Be still, and know that I am God.”  Be still!  When everything is shaking it seems and sounds counterintuitive - but there are two takeaways that are essential for our days, we acknowledge them when we began this journey and it’s fitting to remember them today!

First, God’s got this moment! He has before and He shall again.  God’s got this moment, but what will be the enduring images of this moment?  Yes, we’ve all seen the horrifying, criminal act of one sworn to uphold the law - kneeling on a man’s neck, ending the life of one he was sworn to protect.   We’ve also seen officers kneeling for a moment of prayer with protesters and guard members marching with those crying out for justice and change.  We've seen protesters attempting to protect property that did not belong to them from looters and rioters seeking to criminally claim for their own that which did not belong to them. We've seen strangers become neighbors by showing up with a broom and bucket helping clean up, joining to stand up and raising a voice to speak up for others.

God is in the midst of this moment...and one of the most powerful ways He is in the midst of this moment is through the actions of His people.  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 a people after His heart…that’s you.  People who will step up and speak up for others, even those they’ve never met and may share little with others than being created in the image of the same God, given life by the same Spirit and redeemed by the blood of the same Savior’s. 

Second thing to embrace in this call to be still…don’t miss this…this is a moment for you to get God!   When the world is SO NOISEY, when there is so much coming at you all at once, when you are close to feeling defeated and depleted He shall yet be exalted.  He is the one who is rock solid and true in an unstable world, and He is the one with you.  He is the one who moves us to join the Psalmist and say…we will not fear!

In these Psalm 46 days we are a bookend for someone’s tumult!  We are their source of stability.   Because we are His and we trust that He’s got this moment and in Christ Jesus we know we’ve got Him.  

A Prayer for these Days:
Almighty God who spoke in a whisper, hear our cries; cries of despair perhaps barely even audible, cries of pain so loud they echo.  Lord as You wept over Jerusalem, we know even now Your heart breaks over the brokenness sin and injustice cause, may it break our hearts as well.  Lord we look at outward appearances, You Lord, look at the heart. Give us new eyes to see as You see Lord.  Send Your Spirit to root out the seen and unseen sins of ignorance, intolerance, hatred, apathy and racism in our world and even in the Church.  May we celebrate each individual, created in Your image and redeemed with Your blood, as our brother and sister and make us a more complete people as we stand together.  Almighty, Triune God we pray that You would restore order to our streets, our communities, our homes, our minds and hearts. Restore civility to our conversations, deliberations and actions.  May Your justice overflow and bring healing to our madness. Restrain the forces of anarchy, violence and destruction. Quench the fires of anger and rage that burn within us. Drive from our hearts the evil by which we dehumanize others. Rally us, who believe that all people are created in Your image, to speak boldly that all people might receive equal justice and treatment.  Restore the dignity of our humanity, won by Your Son, and teach us to embrace one another regardless of color or creed or class even as He has embraced every nation, tribe, people, and language in His all-reconciling Death. Have mercy upon us all, for the sake of your Son, the Prince of Peace and the world’s Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

To read statements from both the President of the PSW District and LC-MS regarding these Psalm 46 days click HERE and follow the links.

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Pr. Kevin Kritzer

Worship Resources for Sunday, June 14th     
will be up on Bethany’s website by midday Saturday, June 13th!


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