March 4, 2018: Are We Not Good Enough?

Posted on : Mar 1st, 2018 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Is change really happening?  Might we see some kind of common sense reform coming for gun regulation?  Pundits, family members, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and even common folk like you and me are all cautiously saying: “Something feels different this time.”

Something is different this time.  Specifically that difference is the activism of the kids who survived this tragic, violent assault in their own school.  Not only are these senior high school students articulate, they are organized, they are angry and they are not about to let this incident disappear with the next major news story.  I think one of the real tell-tale signs of whether we’re at the point of significant change will be how many people show up for the national “March For Our Lives” on Sat. March 24th.  Like many of the civil rights marches, this one will be held in Washington, but there are already hundreds of cities – large and small – that intend to march in solidarity with those in Washington.

One of the things that I find so revealing in this story is the affirmation that once again real change comes from the work of ordinary people like you and me.

My favorite model of leadership is Moses.  When God appears to Moses as told in the story of the burning bush experience, Moses says to God, “Oh, please God, choose anybody but me!”  He protests to God: “I have a speech impediment.  I am not eloquent.  I am not equipped to lead the people of God or to confront Pharaoh.  Why don’t you look at my brother?  He is eloquent, bright and articulate!”  But God is not impressed.  God says to Moses, “Nope, Moses, you’re the one.  I’ll let your brother help you; but you are the one I want to lead this movement.

A similar thing happens when an angel of God appears to Mary and says, “Mary, you’re the one!”  And Mary politely says, “You’re crazy, God!”  And then of course there are the disciples.  You couldn’t find a more rag-tag, ill-equipped bunch than those who Jesus asked to follow him.

And then, there is you and me.  One would think that we people of God would see the commonality, get the message and rejoice in the fact that 99.9% of what God does is done through and with us ordinary folk.  But we don’t.  Somehow we get brainwashed into believing that we are not good enough and our lives don’t matter.  That is just not true.

As I prepared the Ministry Report for our Annual Meeting this Sunday, I was overwhelmed to see the impact our small congregation has had both locally and globally just last year!  From feeding the homeless in Hollywood, to partnering with Hollywood Works – one of the most effective agencies in helping chronically homeless people transition from living on the streets to living in supportive housing, to supporting, breaking bread with and worshiping with people with HIV and AIDS in Mexico, to providing support for Syrian Refugees who have fled their country and live in deplorable conditions – not to mention our advocacy for and solidarity with the Lesbian and Gay Community, Transgender persons, Women, Immigrants and Immigration reform, and the list just goes on.  Each of these experiences individually and together reminds us that what we do with our lives definitely makes a difference.

On Sunday as we celebrate the Hollywood event of the year, we are all deserving of Best Supporting Actor in the drama that is our life in Christ.



~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

Exodus 4: 1-17

The story of God’s call to Moses – and his reluctance to do what God asks of him.

Then Moses answered God, ‘But suppose they do not believe me or listen to me, but say, “God did not appear to you.” ’ God said to Moses, ‘What is that in your hand?’ Moses said, ‘A staff.’ And God said, ‘Throw it on the ground.’ So Moses threw the staff on the ground, and it became a snake; and Moses drew back from it. Then God said to Moses, ‘Reach out your hand, and seize it by the tail’—so Moses reached out his hand and grasped it, and it became a staff in his hand— ‘so that they may believe that I, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.’

 Again, God said to Moses, ‘Put your hand inside your cloak.’ Moses put his hand into his cloak; and when he took it out, his hand was leprous, as white as snow. Then God said, ‘Put your hand back into your cloak’—so Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored like the rest of his body— ‘If they will not believe you or heed the first sign, they may believe the second sign. If they will not believe even these two signs or heed you, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.’

 But Moses said to God, ‘I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor even now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.’ Then God said to Moses, ‘Who gives speech to mortals? Who makes them mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, your God? Now go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you are to speak.’ But Moses said, ‘O my God, please send someone else.’

Then the anger of God was kindled against Moses and God said, ‘What of your brother Aaron the Levite? I know that he can speak fluently; even now he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you his heart will be glad. You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and will teach you what you shall do. He indeed shall speak for you to the people; he shall serve as a mouth for you, and you shall serve as God for him. Take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs.’

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