Posted by: deercreekcharge | September 26, 2010

Where is God When it Hurts? (Sunday, 26 September 2010)

Welcome back! This post is a bit late…so apologies if anyone was trying to find out what happened today in worship. Today, we looked at Luke 16:19-31–a parable about a poor man named Lazarus and a rich man. It’s a crazy story…read it here. The introduction to the sermon is below:

Last Friday night, a 14-year-old freshman at Fallston High School was crossing a road against the traffic signal when he was hit and killed by a car that did not see him. We can argue the oblivion of both the student and the driver—who was really at fault? But that doesn’t change the tragedy that occurred. On Wednesday at Fallston High School, 900 students wore blue t-shirts in memory of Joey D. On many of the shirts was a quote found on Joey’s Facebook page—an online, social media and networking tool—“If there is a god”—with a lowercase “g”—“If there is a god, may our cloudy days be made bright.” The question within this quote is one that we all ask—where is God in the midst of cloudy days; in the midst of tragedy? Where was God when a 14-year-old was hit by a car? Where was God when another 14-year-old was projected from a motorcycle? Where was God in the midst of the death of your loved one? Where was God in the middle of the divorce? Where was God during the medical treatments? Where was God when a poor man named Lazarus lay covered in sores at the gate of a rich man? Where was God?

This question is one that we all ask from time to time. And there is no “easy” answer. Part of the answer that we unpacked in the sermon is here:

Anselm of Canterbury, an early Church Father, once said that “faith seeks understanding.” Meaning, that we can’t just take faith blindly—we must interpret it through the lens of other Scripture, through reason, tradition, experience and our modern context. Faith seeks understanding. And indeed, this applies to this passage. God was not absent in the midst of this tragedy. God is not absent from our lives and the lives of those we live, work and play with. God is always present. There is a great divide between God and us—this divide is sometimes called sin. It is what separates us from God. But unlike the divide between the rich man and Abraham or the divide between the rich man and Lazarus…which had no way to bridge the great divide…there is a bridge between God and us. That bridge is called Jesus Christ. It was on that cross that Christ died while we were still sinners so that we might enjoy eternal life with God. Jesus Christ is that bridge. In the words of a song by a Christian pop group, Point of Grace, “There’s a bridge to cross the great divide…there’s a cross to bridge the great divide…a way was made to reach the other side.” Let me say that again, “There’s a bridge to cross the great divide…there’s a cross to bridge the great divide…a way was made to reach the other side.” It is precisely because of Jesus that we always have a way to reach God…if we so choose. It is precisely because of Jesus that we know that God is active and present in history and in our lives today.

Fallston High School students and other youth are asking deep theological questions right now, “if there is a god, may our cloudy days be made bright.” Well, there IS a God—this one with a capital “G”—and while I can’t promise that every day will be happy, we can always rest assured of the joy that Christ brings to us…the joy we can have by knowing that if we choose, we can cross that bridge to God. Where is God? God is right beside us…God is present in the pain and struggles of life, but God did not cause the pain and struggles of life. We need to choose though, if we are going to cross that bridge…to bridge that cross…to reach God. Or, if we instead decide to launch by ourselves over the edge of that chasm—that great divide.

Faith seeking understanding…”if there is a god, may our cloudy days be made bright.” How do you understand this expression? High schoolers are asking the tough questions of faith—where is God when tragedy strikes? I wish that adults would be as bold in their questioning…because indeed, it is only through the questioning that we can grow in our faith; and come to know the answer to “Where is God?”—God is present with us through the ministry of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. Where is God? God, through Christ, is already bridging that great divide so that we too might spend eternity with Christ. God is with you. Amen.

But the “answer” doesn’t stop here…we need to explore and find a way to be in constant conversation with eachother, with fellow Christians and with God to find an answer for ourselves to that tough question, “Where is God when it hurts?”

May you always have a faith that seeks understanding. If you have questions or would like to continue this dialogue, we at Deer Creek Charge would LOVE for you to come and join us…to ask your questions in a supportive community of faith…to chat with the pastor and learn more about yourself as you grow closer to God. You are always welcome!

Announcements:

Thanks to all those who helped to make Homecoming a success—from the greeters, to the “ladies in the kitchen,” the choir, guest preachers and musicians, those who advertised the event and sent out our mailings, those who helped to plan it, those who brought guests or provided transportation, and each and every person who attended! We couldn’t have done it without you!

The Trustees of both churches will be meeting before the Charge Council Meeting on TOMORROW at 6:15pm to talk about the next step(s) for the parsonage bathroom. Location: Deer Creek.

Charge Council (BOTH churches): TOMORROW at 7pm. Agenda includes follow-up from the S/PPRC meeting. All other agenda items need to be given to Bonnie 1 week before the meeting.  Location: Deer Creek.

Still cleaning out after the last yard sale? We had so much fun that we are going to do it again! Saturday, October 2, 8am-1pm. Donate your items to sell, or rent a table for $10 and keep the proceeds for yourself! Come early and help set up. Hotdogs, chips and sodas will be for sale too. Questions? Contact Sandy or Jean. Location: Mt. Tabor.

Sunday, October 17, “After Worship”: Charge Conference. All members of the both churches are invited to attend. If you are the chair of a committee, we need you to be present, if at all possible. It will be led by Rev. Bruce Haskins, our Adventure Guide.  Join us for a potluck lunch at noon, with the business meeting to follow. Location: Mt. Tabor.

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Responses

  1. gonna send this to my mom

  2. Glad we can help! If you are ever in the Maryland area, we would love to have both you and your mom join us for worship. Prayers for you and your family as you struggle through difficult times.


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