The sermon for week January 25, 2015
Where is Your Trust?Sermon “Where is Your Trust” January 25, 2015
Psalms 62:1-12 & Mark 1:14-20
This congregation has been blessed over the past several years with guest lecturers. Among those lecturers was Marcus Borg, New Testament scholar and theologian. Through his writings he opened a door for many to come to a new understanding of faith, for others who had left the Christian faith to reclaim it. In his own gracious soft spoken way, he invited folks like you and me to see with new eyes what is right before us.
Alan Jones, another one of the lecturers also did this through the telling of stories. He told the story of St. Brendan. St. Brendan was on a pilgrimage in search of paradise. He was longing for balance in his life. He was yearning for passion. He climbed into a small boat and set out on this pilgrimage. Along the way while he was out in deep waters, a small bird landed on his shoulder. The bird then whispered in his ear, “You are the veil that hides the paradise you seek. You are the veil that hides the paradise you seek.”
In addition to Marcus Borg and Alan Jones, another writer and scholar, Chet Raymo, helps me to remove the veil that is in me so that I can see with new eyes. Chet Raymo is a professor emeritus of physics and astronomy at Stonehill College in North Easton, Massachusetts. In his book, The Path – A One – Mile Walk Through the Universe, he describes the path that he walked for over thirty years as he walked from his home to the college where he lectured. He has gifted vision, for he is able to see the whole universe along that short walk of just over one mile in length. With his eyes, he sees into the atomic level while yet holding the cosmos in view as well. On that path he marks time from the big bang of 15 billion years ago, to the movement of the continents, the ice age up to the present with lovers holding hands on the bridge that crosses the small brook along the path. In the spring time, as he sees the green leaves of the May Apple unfolding he makes the connection between that May Apple and an atom of hydrogen at the center of the sun. For in the sun’s core as hydrogen fuses to become helium, it releases energy that eventually arrives by the speed of light upon this earth. In the unfolding of those two leaves, he is mesmerized by the seeming mystery that all it took was a fraction of a millionth of an ounce of matter turned into energy in the sun to tip the balance of a season her on earth to move from winter toward summer. He writes of molecules with magnesium and nitrogen hearts that make up chlorophyll, and how chlorophyll gives us energy for living.
Through his way of seeing, I can begin to see the universe that is right there before me as well. The veil disappears for a moment. Yearly now for a number of years, in the dark winter months, I pick up this book to in hopes that I will have eyes to see that which is all around me but yet I miss because I do not have eyes to see it. I have learned that, “I am the veil that hides the paradise I seek.”
The Psalmist is another that helps me to drop the veil. Psalm 62 does this by focusing our thoughts on several images of God, one image especially - that of God as the rock.
The English translation cannot do this Psalm justice. Six times in this Psalm the writer uses the word ‘Ak’ which can be translated either ‘alone’ or ‘truly.’ The Psalmist does this on purpose to move the reader from one who speaks of something to one who experiences that something.
The Psalmist stresses that there is only one source, one rock, one refuge. The Psalmist gives voice to what most if not all of us fall prey to, and that is we run after many sources thinking that they will give us life. But in the end those fail us and it is only God the rock that will sustain us, God alone, the rock alone.
Jesus began his ministry with a similar message, proclaiming that this God was present and that this God was forming a new world. Jesus pulled back the veil to this world in such a way that fisherman left their boats to follow him. The Christ is holding that veil back now for us as well to catch a glimpse of what can be.
But the question is do we have eyes to see what is before us. Do we have eyes to see this God who is the source, the rock? Martin Luther wisely said, “Whatever one fears, loves or trusts the most – that is ones God.” So if I am struggling with fear, according to Luther what I fear may very well be my God. If there is anxiety in my life, if I explore the cause of that anxiety I may find something that I have lifted to the status of a god. Later this morning, when we gather for the annual meeting, I suspect that some of us will be experience some anxiety or fear. Some of that anxiety or fear will likely be around money. If that is the case, if Luther is correct, than we may have made money our God. Something to think about…
The Psalmist gives us a way out of our anxieties and fears – turn to the rock, God alone.
This week I was visiting one who was experiencing depression and fear. I offered her a vision beyond what she was experiencing. I told her of this Psalm, Psalm 62. I told her of the passage God alone is my rock and my refuge. I then shared with her the image that is before you. As she formed that image in her head, I saw that fear melt away. We prayed and after I ended the prayer, she continued as she gave thanks for the rock that was sustaining her. She had moved to a deep level of trust, so deep that I found myself thinking that I want some of that. In that moment the teacher had become the student, and I realized that once again that, “I am the veil that hides the paradise I seek.”
The Psalmist says trust God alone, Jesus said trust God alone. They are right. I witnessed this week what trust in God alone can do.