Sunday, July 16, 2017

Ordinary People

July 16, 2017

Not a day goes by but Democrats are predicting a political and national apocalypse because of Donald Trump. Social media is filled with memes and messages with the common lament over this man, his character, and his policies. At the same time, his supporters counter with explanations and attacks of their own. It’s not new. The eight years of Barak Obama’s presidency had conservatives bemoaning the fact that he in a large measure fulfilled his promise to fundamentally transform America. 

The political rhetoric and venomous attacks have been going on for years; whichever party is in the minority declares with increasing vehemence the righteousness of their cause and the dire consequences of any accomplishment of the majority. 

This morning I had once more, the privilege of preaching. I chose Joshua 2 as my text; the story of the prostitute Rahab’s collaboration with the spies who had managed to infiltrate the city. The text tells us that her house was built into the city wall, most likely between the inner and outer walls that protected the city. As a prostitute, she lived on the edge of society; her house bore literal testimony to the marginal life she lived. Hers was not the best of lives, but living on the edge sometimes gives people an edge, for God has a way of bypassing those in power and revealing himself to marginal people.

My favorite Scripture is Luke 3:1-2, which reads, “Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.” I love this text because it lists all the important people in First Century Palestine. These were the movers and shakers, the ones before whom everyone trembled, the ones who spoke and everyone listened…the ones God bypassed in order to speak to John in the wilderness. 

I was preaching to ordinary people, people who often feel that life has left them in the dust. After worship this morning, about fifty of these ordinary people gathered on the banks of our creek as four people were baptized into the family of God. Then later in the afternoon, some other ordinary people gathered together for a lighthearted Red Ryder BB gun contest. Through the laughter and competition, relationships were strengthened, and I came home with a full heart. Jesus himself was there. People who have an aversion to guns might question that statement, but Jesus himself told us that where two or three are gathered together in his name, he shows up. It wasn’t in the halls of power; it was on the lawn with a bunch of kids and the adults who love them. 

It could be argued that I’m an underachiever, having spent all of my pastoral life in a small backwater community. I don’t see it that way. Sinclairville is today’s version of the biblical wilderness, where God’s Word comes to ordinary people. I am grateful tonight for the honor of living with these ordinary people through whom God is doing and will do extraordinary things.

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