Clevedon Presbyterian Church
Kawakawa Bay
Clevedon Kidz

The Divine Invitation

November 3, 2019
Mark Chapman

Exo 3:1-12  One day while Moses was taking care of the sheep and goats of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, he led the flock across the desert and came to Sinai, the holy mountain.  (2)  There the angel of the LORD appeared to him as a flame coming from the middle of a bush. Moses saw that the bush was on fire but that it was not burning up.  (3)  "This is strange," he thought. "Why isn't the bush burning up? I will go closer and see."  (4)  When the LORD saw that Moses was coming closer, he called to him from the middle of the bush and said, "Moses! Moses!" He answered, "Yes, here I am."  (5)  God said, "Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals, because you are standing on holy ground.  (6)  I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." So Moses covered his face, because he was afraid to look at God.  (7)  Then the LORD said, "I have seen how cruelly my people are being treated in Egypt; I have heard them cry out to be rescued from their slave drivers. I know all about their sufferings,  …..  (10)  Now I am sending you to the king of Egypt so that you can lead my people out of his country."  (11)  But Moses said to God, "I am nobody. How can I go to the king and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"  (12)  God answered, "I will be with you.

Mar 8:31-37  Then Jesus began to teach his disciples: "The Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law. He will be put to death, but three days later he will rise to life."  (32)  He made this very clear to them. So Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.  (33)  But Jesus turned around, looked at his disciples, and rebuked Peter. "Get away from me, Satan," he said. "Your thoughts don't come from God but from human nature!"  (34)  Then Jesus called the crowd and his disciples to him. "If any of you want to come with me," he told them, "you must forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me.  (35)  For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for me and for the gospel, you will save it.  (36)  Do you gain anything if you win the whole world but lose your life? Of course not!  (37)  There is nothing you can give to regain your life.

The Divine Invitation

October 20 2019

Let us pray. May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our strength and our redeemer.  Amen

So what do we do when we are confronted by that

something beyond us

that somehow speaks to our hearts if you like

of something, of someone beyond us

this irrational sense of God.

I say irrational because it really is beyond rational

beyond sophisticated – we don’t do God language.

And yet this beyond-rational seems more real than the rational.

And so Moses

a run-a-way prince of Egypt, his own people in captivity,

Moses hiding because he killed a man

Moses given the best education of his day in the best of academies

learning all the secret arts of the Egyptians,

now a shepherd wandering with his father-in-laws flocks, they’re not even his own,

in the desert backblocks of life, waiting to die

believing his life to be nearing an end

no great possibilities before him

no great adventures planned.

Moses the rational.

And probably if the truth be known, bored out of his tree!

You might say that his life is on auto pilot.

I was talking to a pilot the other day about flying and he said

I only have to take the plane off and land it

the rest is autopilot. It just does what it does! So boring!

How many of us I wonder live on autopilot?

Get up at the same time each day?

Have the same breakfast – because it works!

Then do the same old same old

get home

have dinner

watch the same programs on the media

go to bed

and wake up the next morning,

think that maybe a fresh croissant, strawberry jam, and lashings of whipped cream would be great for breakfast

but we have instead what we’ve always had

and our day becomes the minutes of the last day!

And our lives live out that kind of rational predictability.

And when someone asks us how we are we respond? Fine.

We could be just about dead

and someone says- how are you

and we respond – fine.

Years ago I started to respond to the question, how are you Mark

with, Great and getting better!

You wouldn’t believe how that annoyed some people who were, fine!

But here’s the deal.

According to some experts in the field

the chances of you or me being born

with our unique genetic  make-up

the thing that makes us unique, is 1 in 300 trillion!

Have a look at the person next to you!

That’s a I in 300 trillion person!

And all we can say about ourselves is that we are – fine.

The Word of God says to us:

“I made you inferior only to myself; I crowned you with glory and honour.”

And we say, we’re fine!

As we switch on to autopilot.

And suddenly Moses finds himself  before him this irrational event.

An event so unexplainable

and in the event something speaking into his life

someone speaking into his life

and he knows: this is a different kind of experience.

This I have no answer for

this so not the norm. This ground on which I stand is not of human consciousness

this is holy ground.

And out of the irrational

out of the mystery

a voice.

Exo 3:7-10  "I have seen how cruelly my people are being treated in Egypt; I have heard them cry out to be rescued from their slave drivers. I know all about their sufferings,  (8)  and so I have come down to rescue them……  Now I am sending you to the king of Egypt so that you can lead my people out of his country."

Moses, instead of having curds and whey

and goat cheese for breakfast as you have always done,

topped with Kellogg’s All Bran, to keep you regular,

try a freshly baked croissant and strawberry jam and lashing of whipped cream instead! Or maybe some bacon and eggs for a change.

Yeah!

Because that’s what it’s about, really, that’s what it’s about.

It’s that little auto-pilot voice within that says

don’t take the risk

don’t try the different

just be rational. Be sane.

Don’t leave your comfort zone

boring is good. Boring is safe.

And that still small nothingness of a voice

with it’s invitation to believe that our lives

are not to be lived

in mediocrity

that God has made us just a little lower than Himself

and crowned  us with Glory and Honour,

that voice is lost

in the inner voice of the lost child who responds,

How can I do this?

How can I break out of the same-old, same-old,

I am nobody.

And we push the snooze button on the bedside radio

the snooze button on life

and that moment of, this is what I was born for,

is lost.

William Shakespeare wrote:

“There is a tide in the affairs of men

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;

Omitted, all the voyage of their life

Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

On such a full sea are we now afloat;

And we must take the current when it serves,

Or lose our ventures.”

And to the despairing voice of Moses

Moses who knows about the suffering of his people in Egypt

Moses who believes himself to be a failure

Moses who doesn’t know or believe that he is 1 in 300 trillion

Moses who says – It’s impossible, I am nobody

the still voice is yet there, if he will hear it.

“Moses, I will be with you. We will make it happen!”

Which that still small voice of calm

that irrational suggestion that behind this great cosmos

is a heart of Love

is one who cares for the broken and the damaged

and the dispossessed

and the orphan

and widow

and lost

the hopeless and the helpless

would still stop us in our tracks

and break into our auto-pilot living

saying,

I have heard the cry……

and I am sending you.

And don’t tell me you are nobody

you are one in 300 trillion.

And besides, I will be with you.

And don’t tell yourself that your fine!

You’re simply a prisoner to mediocrity

and the same old same old.

Today, tomorrow, some time this extra rational Voice of God

will  lead us to that place where he will call us out of ‘fine’

to dynamically exciting

call us to lose our life that we may find it as our Lord reminded us.

And the world will be different.

As a congregation there is a present tide which will lead us on to complete the dream

of creating a refuge and a place of hope.

We can do it. Because God will be with us.

Again, maybe for some of us

we have been living with a same old same old picture of God

and our souls are dying.

Maybe there is a call to break out and discover the hidden depths

of the love of God

and discover that God is bigger

and beyond that little picture we grew up with.

And break out of a narrow confine of what God can do and can’t do

and who God loves and doesn’t love. And be a different kind of a Church

a church said Jesus

that like a giant tree can be a shelter for all kinds of

different birds

so this place, a place of safety and discovery and gentleness for all kinds of people.

And you and I be a people of His heart.

An irrational belief that we could be being called to be something of God beyond our wildest dreams.

That this moment

as every moment is holy ground

and truly believe that a tide is ready to take us to be the blessing

and uniquely God beautiful

such as only a group of people who know they are uniquely

1 in 300 trillion personalities that God has crowned with Glory and Honour

making us just a little lower than Himself.

A people beyond just ‘fine’.

Rather outrageously ecstatic about our possibilities in God.

Today, if we will hear his voice.

Now unto God the Father, God the Son and God, the holy Spirit, be all the honour and glory, world without end. Amen