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God's Purpose

Sermon: July 12, 2020

Isaiah 55.10-13

10For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,   and do not return there until they have watered the earth,  making it bring forth and sprout,   giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;   it shall not return to me empty,  but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,   and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, a number of people of Trinity gather on zoom for morning prayer. We read this text from the prophet Isaiah.

The evening before, Pastor Luther Larson had died, and our hearts were, and for many of us, still are, are hurting. We are grieving for this beloved servant of Christ who has touched so many of our lives.

One of the participants in our prayer group, shared something along these lines, “That is just like Pastor Lu; he did not return to God empty. Think of the words of proclamation, and the lives he touched, all God accomplished through Pastor Lu.

All of us hope to accomplish what God intends for us. We hope to make a difference with our lives; to do what God intends, so that at the end of the day, we can know that we are returning to God having done what we can in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

I think that today is a good day to think of all God has done and is doing.

God speaks and things happen. God says, “Let there be light, and there is light. God speaks and waters cover the earth. God speaks and there are plants and animals. God speaks and you and I are created, in the image of God, no less.

And of course, there is Jesus, the Word of God. And think of all God accomplished and accomplishes with this Word; life and forgiveness and mercy and love and life forever!

Dear friends, maybe like me today, you are hoping that God is still speaking. There is so much happening right now: the Covid19 pandemic, systemic racism, anxiety and fear, divisions that are getting worse, and a rampant ‘me first’ attitude that seems to have taken control of our country. And in all of this we hope and pray that God is with us.

And may, like me, we hope and pray for us to have the strength and ability to be faithful to God in this hard time. There is a lot for us to be about, as people of God. And maybe we feel overwhelmed.

I can upon this short writing by Oscar Romero. Romero was the Archbishop of El Salvador, who was murdered in 1980. He was a servant of Christ who gave everything he had in serving Jesus. And he has given us a wonderful gift of perspective.

It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view. The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, It is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, Which is another way of saying that The Kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that should be said. No prayer fully expressed our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the church's mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, Knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produced effects far beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything, And there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, A step along the way, An opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results, But that is the difference Between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders, Ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future that is not our own.

Amen.

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