Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Proper 22C, Mustard Seed Moments

This was an unusual Sunday for me...having spent many hours crafting my sermon on Thursday I opened my computer Sunday morning to upload it and received the message "this document is not currently accessible or has been deleted".

Tears were shed.

There may have been swears.

But, no other way and grateful for the time I'd spent committing the sermon to heart (if not memory), I preached from the outline I cobbled together.

I've attempted to recreate the first few minutes of the sermon below...but, with extemporaneous preaching, you really have to be there! But, in case you were wondering where I started...

The propers can be found here

Mustard Seed of Grace 

"As I prayed and reflected upon the texts appointed for today I was struck by the interplay of despair and hope. 

Despair, that causes a community to lament the birth of children.

Despair, that cannot see beyond the walls of isolation.

Despair that mourns all that has been lost.

Yet, even in despair, breaks in the light of hope. 

That once was, may be again. That what was lost will be found. That we will have what we need to sustain us both now and into the future.

And, in that place where despair meets hope, is lamentation.

Lamentation despairs over what is, but holds out hope for what might be.

Hope grounded in an awareness of what has been.

Hope grounded in an awareness of God’s abiding love for all of God’s people and our place within that love.

In this place where despair meets hope, is the place where I found myself reflecting, once again, on my senior of high school.

In November of my senior year…my father died. It was sudden and unexpected.  And, it shook all of us.

I remember very, very little of my senior year. And, in trying to remember, it feels a bit like trying to look through a fogged glass.  But, even through the fog, there are moments that stand out. 

One such moment offered me great comfort in the midst of what seemed then, the greatest kind of loss.

It was May, shortly before graduation and my senior class was on our end of year trip. And, on the side of the mountain I looked around me and felt complete and utter peace.

The valley, the ti-leaves and ferns, the ocean crashing against the rocks and serene where it met the sky. 

I knew in that moment of unadulterated beauty that my father had been happy in his life. Even if his happiness had only been in a moment as small as this, it was happiness and it was enough.  

This moment was my mustard seed moment. The moment when I had everything I needed to find hope and peace. Everything I needed to forgive myself and forgive my father. 

This moment helped me to know that I had been enough and so had he. And, that we shared beauty and peace and love—regardless of all that had hindered us in living fully into the truth of those things." 

I continued from there to speak of lament and hope and the moments of grace and faith that are enough.  Then I invited the question:

What is your moment?

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