Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Nomads

Listen online or download Sunday messages, and here!
Pastor JP's last message at Bethany.


Deuteronomy 26.1-11 with Genesis 12.1-3

Deuteronomy:
Moses’ final message series
My last two messages start from Deut
Israel on the verge of the Promise – but Moses not to enter

"A wandering Aramean was my father"
Me: My father was a wandering intelligence officer
Ordination prep: "How do you feel about the itinerant system?"
Mantle passed 2013: "I’m gonna move when the Spirit says move"
Boys/Robin: My father/husband was a wandering/itinerant UMC ...

In this text from Deuteronomy, Moses instructs Israel on how to give thanks once they have come into the land, once they have "arrived". It is about giving thanks by telling a story, the story of their people, beginning with the "wandering Aramean". It is about blessing and victory through hardship. And it is about our calling. The thanks giving ritual begins with this memory, this rehearsal of story, and concludes with a feast. It is only appropriate today that we begin with story and conclude with feast – both at the table of the Lord and at tables in the Social Hall and Gathering Place.
 
In the prayer that we share in Holy Communion, the church has always – even in the New Testament documents – rehearsed the story, shared the memory, as preparation for the feast. And, the traditional Greek word for Holy Communion, "eucharist", is the root for "giving thanks". We give thanks by story telling and table fellowship: "On the night Jesus gave himself up for us, he took bread . . ." (See Christenson, 59 and Cody).


 
Story-telling
Palmer, hello, I’m trouble
Lucy, ice cream with olive
Taylor coming up for a hug
hugs from Aileen
surprise wedding of Melissa & Quincy
Marsha complaining about being in flip flops
Nan, paper is scarce
Aimee - prayer notes from her classroom
Quincy, tug of war
Khris, always know where to find my husband, just follow the laughter
first bachelor party
Curvin - playing soccer
Dick - delivering my dry cleaning
playing flashlight tag at the Lee home
sitting in the dunk tank and heckling the kids
cooking dinner at YDC and playing mat ball in the gym

 
Hardship
My father was a perishing (starving) Aramean (translation question)
famine and barrenness, Janzen, 360
not a romanticized version of the nomadic life
Not a "starving artist"

Difficult things:
Sylvia – offering to change the church name
Matthew 28
George, death on my birthday ... and many other griefs
prayer shawl for Jesse

Every time I "arrive", God moves the finish line: read in my prayers – Deuteronomy 1.6-7, stayed long enough ... resume your journey

"Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 2.3)
"But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry" (2 Timothy 4.5)
"Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as [children]" (Hebrews 12.7)
"The story is not one of sheer will power but one of sheer grace"
Christenson, 60

 
Calling
Jesse to me, years ago:
Dad, maybe we’re aliens

"Representative ministry" – represent the common ministry by accentuating
The common call to be a nomad

"To God’s elect, scattered" (1 Peter 1.1, NIV)
"As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world" (John 17.18)
"Dear friends, ... as aliens and exiles" (1 Peter 2.11)

Not forgetting the journey
Depression era adults – remain frugal, even when have much
Heirs of the nomad – remain mobile
"Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money" (Luke 9.3) – resources are found in the mission

Jesuits, living with one foot raised (Lowney)
Our 16K# – thanks to those of you who helped lighten the load
Priests, inheritance is not in the land, but only the LORD

We Bohanans are not nomads because the nomadic life is to be preferred, because it is a more noble lifestyle, because it is better for families. We are nomads because we serve the Lord Jesus Christ, his gospel, and his church. We are nomads because we are SENT.
But we are not the only ones in this room who are SENT. Jesus calls every one of us to share in the mission, Jesus sends every one of us with this calling to "make more disciples for Jesus Christ". We are only representatives, one unique accentuation not of what makes us special but of the common calling, the common choosing, the common sending that belongs to the whole church.

"A wandering Aramean was my father". The Hebrew fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob belong to the church as well as to Israel. We can speak with Moses and Israel, "A wandering Aramean was my father".

And, a "wandering Aramean" was our Lord Jesus. Jesus our brother made his home on the way, lived life on the road, practiced itinerant ministry. He invites each of us to join him.

 
Join Jesus by
Telling stories ... not to grieve a past, but to give thanks and live out your values in a changing time, just as Israel in the land needed to live the values of her nomadic fathers. Your testimony is not only about inviting others to Jesus; it is also about keeping your own life on course.

Enduring hardship ... It can make you bitter, or it can make you deeper. Choose depth. Allow God to "move the finish line" and so enlarge your soul.

Going as we are sent ... Do not overlook your mission. Do not be intimidated by your mission. You don’t need anything for your journey ... you have all you need, and any other resources will be found in the mission itself. Simply GO.

 
 
Resources:
J. Gerald Janzen. 1994. "The ‘Wandering Aramean’ Reconsidered". Vetus Testamentum, XLIV:3 (359-375).
Richard Christenson. 1995. "Between Text and Sermon: Deuteronomy 26:1-11". Interpretation, 49:1 (59-62).
Aelred Cody. 2006 Jan. "‘Little Historical Creed’ or ‘Little Historical Anamnesis’?". Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 68:1 (1-10).
Christopher Lowney. Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company that Changed the World.


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