Worship Start Time: 10:30am
Theme: Summer Church
It's summertime in Calgary! Come to Scarboro as we worship together every Sunday at 10:30am. We will have the coffee on at 10, so come early and catch up with your community. There will be more time for coffee, tea and conversation after the service in the Memorial Hall.
The children's theme this summer is "Exploring Spirituality through Science & Play" - so come and explore at Scarboro!
Past, Present and Future
July 22, 2018
Rev. Lee Spice
There seems to be a collective fatigue, these days. Perhaps it’s the anxiety that many people feel – knowing the economic benefit of moving our non-sustainable resources, while at the same time knowing that we have to work towards environmental sustainability, and getting tired of the tension that ensues. Perhaps it’s the endless stories of inhumanity – from human trafficking to poisonings to violence against women and children…the list goes on.
Or, perhaps it’s the constant barrage of political, internet-based weirdness that assaults the world from south of the 49th Parallel. One Facebook post, allegedly from the satirical not-news site called The Onion says, “Onion on the verge of collapse after not being able to make up enough, um, ‘stuff,’ that is more idiotic than current reality.”
It can feel, sometimes, like it’s all up to us. I admit, this is often a message that comes from the church, and from me. That’s because I totally believe that we are Christ’s hands and feet. I believe that God gives us work to do – that God’s dream for justice in the world does rely on us to embrace God’s dream and get to work.
But, it’s not always up to us. It’s not all about us.
It’s possible, that at the beginning of this story of David, he is starting to believe that it IS all about him. As you recall from the story, David looks around and notices that, while he, himself is all settled in a cedar house, the Sacred Chest – or the Ark of the Covenant, which represents the actual presence of God – the chest is still housed in a tent.
I can’t decide whether it is devotion and gratitude that compels David to suggest that he build a house for God, or whether it’s his ego talking. Is he saying, “God has done all of this for me, and I want to build God a house,” or “Look at me! I’ve done all of this, and now I’m going to build a house for God!”
It appears that God thinks it’s the latter – and instructs Nathan to bring David a message that doesn’t sound like good news.
In short, God says that God has done just fine hanging out in a tent, thank you very much. God says, “Have I EVER asked ANYONE to build me a house? No. I’ve been with the people this whole time, and I have been with you.
“So, yes, a temple will be built for me, but it’s not going to be built by YOU.”
That may have brought David down a few notches.
God is simply reasserting what David should already know – that is, that God has been there with the people the whole time; God is with them now; and God will be there in the future.
This is a story about faith.
Here is the part where God reminds it that it is not US that is carrying God around – it is God carrying us.
God promises that God will still be around, long after any person’s life, to be with the people, to guide. This is, after all, God’s world.
And this is good news, when it feels like the weight of the world is on our slim shoulders.
So I wondered, what would God’s message sound like, if it came to us in 2018? Maybe, a little like this:
“People of faith, you are my faithful servants, so listen to what I say.
“Why should you try to pin me down and claim me for your very own selves?
“Since time began, I have not been pinned down – I am wild and free.
“My spirit blew when I brought my people out of Egypt, and it blew when slaves were freed, and women gained rights and when the Indigenous voices of North America began to be heard.
“My spirit continues to blow – wild and powerful and free, and I still cannot be pinned or claimed for any one people.
“I have always been itinerant, travelling from place to place, and making my home among the people.
“I chose leaders and instructed them how to love and care for the people.
“But did I ever say anything to even one of them about building a place for me to reside forever?
“My people, this is what I, The Holy One, say to you.
“You are created in my image – I have brought you to life with my own breath. I have known you since before you were born. I have carried you as a mother carries her baby.
“Wherever you went, I was there to whisper in your ears the mysteries of the universe, and show you the beauty of the world. I sent you teachers and companions that helped get your feet on the path, and to lead you back when you strayed. I’ve been with you all the time.
“I have opened this spinning blue planet to you, so that you can dwell in peace, without fear.
“This is my promise: I will raise you to your highest good. And even after your life is over, there will be someone to carry on.
“Have faith in the people that follow you – I will be with them, too, loving them, as I love you, and carrying them, as I have carried you.”
In our family, my husband Ron is the gardener. I can’t help but think how much faith it takes to plant a garden. Sure, it’s a bit of a pain in the springtime when the tomato plants take more room in the kitchen than our kitchen table, but we are now eating sweet and juicy cherry tomatoes, and swiss chard, and carrots, and lettuce… A gardener puts in the time – planting, weeding, watering…and then there are the nail-biting times when the storms bring the threat of hail. It’s heartbreaking to see the corn plants toppled over or the beans bashed to bits…but every year, there is harvest – and even when there’s hardly anything left, there’s always next year.
It takes faith to plant a garden, because you have to believe that from the past will come the future, and there’s good in the future, too.
There’s a legend that’s attributed to Martin Luther, one of the fathers of the Reformation. We’re not really sure he said it, but it’s the kind of thing he might have said. It goes like this, “If I knew the world would end tomorrow, I would still plant a tree.”
And so, in this weary world, where we don’t know what comes next, we are called to plant our trees. Plant it, and know that it’s not completely up to us to keep it growing. But plant. Plant peace. Plant justice. Plant love.
This is God’s promise: God will raise you to your highest good. And even after your life is over, there will be someone to carry on.
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