Sermons

Bless to Me

God is In: Celebrating Presence

7.23.17

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Suzanne Adele Schmidt, Ph.D., M.Div.

Trinity UCC, Manchester, MD

Texts: Psalm 139

We complete our Celtic Christian worship series, Bless to Me with a heightened awareness of God’s presence in all people in all times. And that presence is a blessing that knows no end.

Today’s reading from the Psalms reminds us that God is present; is everywhere. God was with us and knew us before we were born and will be with us even if we climb up to the highest heavens or descend into the world of the dead.

What does it mean that God is present with us all the time and knows us? This is a difficult concept to grasp.  So let’s begin with something a bit more familiar to wrap our heads around:

Peter Lockhart, writing in his blog, suggests the following:

Think about someone who knows you best of all.

How long have they known you?

What secrets do you share with them?

What secrets do you keep from them?

Do they know everything about you?

 No one knows us or anyone else perfectly. Yet, these intimate friendships are so important to us because we feel that when others know us, and more importantly love us, it affirms our very existence.[1]

Mark Twain is attributed with saying, “Everyone has a moon side which they show to no one.” But God knows that dark side.

Psalm 139 reminds us that God knows us in a way that no other person does or can. This is because anywhere we go, God is there. There is no escaping God’s presence.

And yet, we forget that God is with us. We ignore God’s promise to be with us. We don’t take to heart the words which are believed to have appeared on St. Patrick’s breastplate:

Christ be beside me, before me, behind me, within me, below me and above me.

I’ve shared the following story before but it seems appropriate to share it again today:

Everyday this faithful woman prays to God, “What should I tell your people today?” And God replies, “Tell them I love them.” Day after day, the woman prays this prayer and day after day God’s reply is the same. On an especially dreary and dark day when the woman is feeling doubt herself, she prays, “What should I tell your people today?” And God replies, “Tell them I miss them.”

You see, there is never a time when God never ceases knowing us, blessing us, and being present to us. It is us that cease to acknowledge God’s presence.

Back to the question of the person who knows us best. There are two people who know me best: my beloved Dan and my BFF, Krista Kurth. And yet they don’t know everything about me. For instance, they have only ever called me Suzanne. But this coming weekend at my high school class reunion I will be called by my childhood name, “Suzie”.

Some of those childhood chums who call me “Suzie” have known me since grade school. Other than an occasional phone call, those childhood friends and I rarely keep in touch.

On the other hand, hardly a day goes by when I do no talk to Dan and Krista. Even when we are on vacation, Krista and I call one another. Even when Dan and I are away from one another, we touch base with one another. We stay connected and  make time for one another.

We humans make time for and reach out to those who know us best because we want to maintain and deepen those relationships. These are the kinds of relationships which bring us joy. Joy begets joy.

The same principle applies to our relationship with God. In order to deepen our relationship with the Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit, we spend time in presence of the Trinity through listening for the still small voice, by praying, by acknowledging God presence in our lives through worship, by reading and living by God’s word, and by welcoming all God’s children.

You see, God’s knowledge of us and presence in our lives is not just for us but for all. As Paul Lockhart whose blog I referred to earlier in this morning writes:

Our relationship with God is intensely personal but it is not private.  The intimacy God has with each of us, God … has with all people and all things.[2]

When we bless all God’s people at all times, we are reflecting a God who knows and blesses each and everyone one of God’s children.

Amen

[1] Peter Lockhart, Loved Deeply

http://revplockhart.blogspot.com/2014/07/loved-deeply.html

Accessed July 21, 2017

[2] Peter Lockhart, Loved Deeply

http://revplockhart.blogspot.com/2014/07/loved-deeply.html

Accessed July 21, 2017

 

 


Past Sermons

Bless to Me-Struggling Times 7.16.17

Bless to Me Passages-Special Moments 7.2.17

Bless to Me–Holy Moments 6.18.17

Bless to Me-Through the Day 6.11.17

Emerge-Journey 6.4.17