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Definite Distractions

Esperanza Lutheran Church https://myesperanza.org

Today’s Reading is Psalm 119
Teach Me O Lord the Way of Your Statutes
And I Will Observe It
To the End Give Me Understanding That I
May Keep Your Law
And Observe It With My Whole Heart
Lead Me in the Path of Your Commandments
For I Delight in It
Turn My Heart to Your Decrees and Not to
Selfish Gain
Turn My Eyes From Looking at Vanities
Give Me
Life in Your Ways Confirm to Your
Servant Your Promise
Which is for Those Who Fear You
Turn Away the Disgrace That I Dread for
Your Ordinances
Are Good See I Have Longed for Your
In Your Righteousness Give Me Life
Today’s Lesson is Found in Romans
Chapter 13.
Owe No One Anything Except to Love
One Another for the One Who Loves
Has Fulfilled the Law the Commandments
You Shall Not Commit Adultery You Shall
Not Murder
You Shall Not Steal You Shall Not Covet
And Any Other Commandment Are Summed Up
In This Word
Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
Love Does No Wrong to a Neighbor
Therefore Love
Is the Fulfilling of the Law
Besides This You Know What Time It is
How It is Now the Moment
For You to Wake From Sleep for Salvation
Is Nearer to Us Now Than When We Became
The Night is Far Gone the Day is Near
Let Us Then Lay Aside the Works of
And Put on the Armor of Light
Let Us Live Honorably as in the Day Not
In Reveling and Drunkenness Not in
Debauchery and Licentiousness
Not in Quarreling and Jealousy
Instead Put on the Lord Jesus Christ
And Make No Provision for the Flesh to
Its Desires the Holy Gospel According to
Saint Matthew
The 18th Chapter This is a Difficult
Passage and Don’t Get Hung Up on Some of
The Details Here
Because I’m Not Going to Be Preaching on
The Details but the
The Bottom Line of All This is That
There’s Reconciliation but Also That
The Holy Spirit is Worth Us in All of
Our Difficult Challenges So
The Gospel According to Saint Matthew
If Another Member of the Church Sins
Against You Go and Point Out the Fault
When the Two of You Are Alone if the
Member Listens to You
You Have Regained That One but if You
Are Not Listened to
Take One or Two Others Along With You
So That Every Word May Be Confirmed by
The Evidence of Two or Three Witnesses
If the Member Refuses to Listen to Them
Tell It to the Church
If the Offender Refuses to Listen Even
To the Church
Let Such a One Be to You as a Gentile
And a Tax Collector
Truly I Tell You Whatever You Bind on
Earth Will Be Bound in Heaven
And Whatever You Loose on Earth Will Be
Loosed in Heaven
Again Truly I Tell You if Two of You
Agree on Earth About Anything You
Ask It Will Be Done for You by My Father
In Heaven
For Where Two or Three Are Gathered in
My Name
I Am Among Them the Gospel of the Lord
Grace and Peace to You From Him Who is
Who Was and Who
Is to Come Jesus to Christ Our Lord Amen
The Passages That We Have This Morning
Are All a Very Familiar Theme in Fact
It’s a Theme That We Have Had for the
Last Few Weeks
About Reconciliation and Love and
Loving Your Neighbor as Yourself in the
Text That I Just Read There’s Some
Practical Advice
But Through It All to Know That We Are
To Love Each Other Even in Conflict or
In Harmony or Whatever We Are Called to
Love One Another
But the Challenge for a Preacher in on
This Week is Since We’ve Heard These
Over and Over Again So Many Times in the
Last Few Weeks
How is It That We Can Come Up With
Something New to Say So
My Sermon Preparation Uh Pattern is This
Read the Scripture I Do Some Study I
Read Certain Scholars and Theologians
And Try to Gain Some Insights Into
Context and Those Kinds of Things
And Then What I Found That Works With Me
Is I
Leave It All Aside I Set It Down and
And Figuratively Walk Away From It and
Try to Get It Out of My Consciousness
And Just Let the Holy Spirit Work
In in Many Different Ways With Me
So It Was Tuesday This Week When the
Holy Spirit Finally
Uh Popped Into My Head and Said Call
In Your Sermon Preparation Team Your
Wisdom Team That Can Help You With This
And Then I Chuckled Because It Almost
Sounded Like One of Those Jokes I Don’t
Know if This Was 70s or 80s or Whatever
It’ll Be Familiar to Some of You to Say
Well Okay There Was a Two Priests
And a Novelist and a Lutheran Pastor Who
Walked Into This Bar
Or Coffee Shop or Whatever and You Can
Fill Out the Sentence
But That’s Sort of What It Makes Me Feel
Like When I
Think of This Because I Gained Wisdom
From an Author and Two Priests
Who I Will I Will Talk About It in a
Minute Because They Talk About a Theme
That Comes in
The Distractions the Question is How Can
Come Up With a Different Perspective
When They Uh
Are Talking About the Same Theme and So
This is Where
These Come Into Play Because the Theme
Distractions It is Distractions and So
This Takes Me to
My Author Friend Louise Penny is a
Great Great Author About Murder
Of All Things and Donna and I Were
Listening to Her Latest Book
As We Were Driving Uh This Last Week and
It Occurred to Me
What Louise Penny Does So Masterfully
In Her Novels is She Interrupt or She
Introduces Uh Interruptions and
Distractions All Along the Way
That Will Lead the People Who Are
Supposed to Be Solving the Mystery
In One Way or Another but Not Always to
Be Able to Focus
On the Culprit She is So Good
At Distractions Well Now We Look at
The Disciples We Look at Jesus and His
And the Reason That We Have to Tell Over
And Over and Over Again and Why Paul
Does It in the Book of Romans
Why Jesus Does It in the Gospels Over
And Over Again About Love Your Neighbor
As Yourself
Is Because There Are So Many
Back in the First Century of the New
With the New Testament
But Even Late Earlier With the Psalm
There Are So Many Distractions There Are
There Are Distractions of
Good and Evil but Also the Haves and the
Who Have This Who Has This Uh
Who Has the Power Who Has the Money Uh
There’s Abject
Poverty There’s This Incredible Poverty
That is a Distraction
Because How Are You Going to Be Focused
If You Don’t Know Where Your Next Meal
Come From and
And We Have That Situation Right Now
There Are Other There Are Other Elements
In This That Where
We Understand That the the Um
The Culture of the Day the Religion of
The Day
Was Not Focused Necessarily on God
Almighty the God That We Worship
The God That the Jewish Community
Worshiped at the Time and Still Does
There Are Roman Gods There Are Greek
Gods So to Speak
Of Harmony and and Love
In the Context of God Almighty Makes No
And is Actually Counter-cultural to
That Was Going on So It’s Very Very
To to Get This Message Through and This
Is Why They Had to Continually Remind
The Disciples
What Was Going on and Then You Had Jesus
I Mean Jesus Himself is Counter-cultural
In That Time and People Had to Ask
Themselves I’m Sure Do I Want to Get
Mixed Up With This Guy
Who Could Possibly Cause Me to Go to
And for Me to Be Executed Possibly Too
There Are So Many Distractions
And That’s Why I Think Paul and Romans
And Jesus in the Gospels Just Kept
Reminding Reminding Reminding People
Love Your Neighbor as Ourselves and This
Takes Me to
My First My First Priest Friend One of
Favorite Theologians and Authors and
Just a Really
Smart and Wise Person is a
Father Richard Rohr in New Mexico
And He Had He Publishes Daily
Meditations and Early in August
He Was Talking About What We Need to Be
Thinking About During This Time
During This Time of Covet We Understand
Distractions Don’t We
We Have Coveted We Have Racial Tensions
We Have a Lot of Things Going on
That Can Keep Us From Our Primary
So He Gets That and He Uh He Um
Introduced the Theme and the the
Meditations Went on for a Couple of
Of Order Disorder and
Reorder Order Disorder
And Reorder Very Very Profound So What
It Means Then
Is That if We Are Very Comfortable With
Our Order
And Then Something Happens That
Disorders What Our
What Our Comfort Zone is That Puts Us in
A Very
Difficult Position Possibly
It Also Maybe Puts Us in a Good Position
So if We Are Comfortable With Our Normal
And and We Can Talk About Being White
Privileged We Can Talk About Having
Money We Can Talk About Having
All Sorts of Things That We Do Have if
We Are Comfortable With That
And Then Get Into a Situation of
Like Covet Like Racial Tensions Like
All of These Kinds of Things Then That
Disorder is a Problem for Us
But if We See the Opportunity to Reorder
Society Reorder Ourselves Maybe Reorder
Our Church
It’s a Very Uh Wonderful Opportunity
And This Gets Me to the Second Priest
Who I’m Really Fond of and I’ve
Introduced Him Before Henry Nouwen
Who Talks About a Time Where He’s
Working With a College Professor
And the College Professor Was Lamenting
About All the Interruptions That He
Incurred During
A Average Day Interruptions From
Interruptions From Staff and Faculty and
Then He Paused and He Said These Were
All Very Distracting These Were All
Taking Me Off of Message
Until I Realized That My Interruptions
Were My Opportunities
So Again We Understand Distractions We
Are Living in Distractions We Are Living
In Disorder Right Now and It’s
Interesting Because You Hear People
Talking About
You Know I Just Want Things to Return to
Normal or I Want to Know What the New
Normal is
Well if the New Normal is Just Like the
Old Normal
We Have Really Missed an Opportunity
What the Holy Spirit is Calling Us to Do
And to Recognize That This is a Very
Difficult Time It is Not a Time
That God Has Sent on Us or Anything Like
This but Let’s Seize This Time
To Really Ponder and Pray and
Strategize How We Can Reorder
Out of the Disorder That is Not Like the
Old Order
There is Something New There’s a New
So Let’s Look at the Gaps in Society
Let’s Look at Poverty
Um This Really Has Pointed Out This Time
The the the Haves and the Have-nots
Doesn’t It What We Have
And What People Other People Don’t Have
That Really Has Pointed That Out
So Let’s Remember That Whose We Are
First of All but Let’s Remember How God
And the Holy Spirit Has Called Us to
Care for Each Other in This Time
Let’s Not Lose the Opportunity to
What God Has Called Us to Be Called Us
To Do
And That Goes to Not Only the Church but
Politics to Culture Itself
To Our Relationship With Our Neighbors
Whether They Be Right Next Door or
Across the World
Let’s Take This Opportunity to Reorder
And Understand What God is Calling Us to
Love Our Neighbors Pour Out Love Toward
Our Neighbors Even Those People Who May
Offend Us
Let’s Let’s Work It Through Let’s Just
Not Walk Away From It
So This is a an Amazing Time Amazingly
Bad Time
In Many Many Ways but Also the One One
Of the Things We Can Do
Is to Say How Does This Reorder What We
What I Do as a Person but Also What We
Do as a Church
What We Do is Esperanza What We Do as
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America What We Do as a Christian Church
How Can We Do It Better How Can We Close
Those Gaps in Our Society God Gives Us
The Spirit
God Gives Us the Wisdom and That’s the
Good News
Amen Now Let Us Profess Our Faith
Using the Words of the Apostles Creed
I Believe in God the Father Almighty
Creator of Heaven and Earth
I Believe in Jesus Christ God’s Only Son
Our Lord
Who Was Conceived by the Holy Spirit
Born of the Virgin Mary
Suffered Under Pontius Pilate Was
Crucified Died and Was Buried
He Descended to the Dead on the Third
He Rose Again He Ascended Into Heaven
And is Seated at the Right Hand of the
Father and He Will Come to Judge the
Living and the Dead
I Believe in the Holy Spirit the Holy
Catholic Church
The Communion of Saints the Forgiveness
Of Sins the Resurrection of the Body
And the Life Everlasting Amen
Drawn Together in the Compassion of God
We Pray for the Church the World and All
In Need
Unite Your Church Oh God Grant Us the
Gifts of Repentance
And Reconciliation Bless the Cooperative
Work of Churches in This Community
Strengthen Ecumenical Partnerships Guide
The Work of the Lutheran World
And the World Council of Churches Lord
In Your Mercy Hear Our Prayer
Protect Your Creation Oh God Teach Us
Ways to Reorder
That We Do Not Harm What You Have
Entrusted to Our Care
Renew and Enliven Places Suffering From
Floods Storms or Pollution Especially
Impacted by the Wildfires and Hurricane
Lord in Your Mercy Hear Our Prayer
Turn Nations and Leaders From Ways That
To Death Shape New Paths Toward Peace
And Cooperation
Teaching Us to Recognize One Another as
Guide Legislators Civil Servants
Judges and Police Toward Laws That
Protect the Well-being of All
Lord in Your Mercy Hear Our Prayer
Tend to All in Need of Your Compassion
Hear the Cries of Those Awaiting Justice
And Those Yearning for Forgiveness
Give Community to the Lonely and
Neighbors to the Outcast
Shelter All Who Are Vulnerable in Body
Mind or Spirit
Especially We Pray for Holly and Cynthia
As They Recover From Surgeries and From
Julie Megan and Lou
Lord in Your Mercy Hear Our Prayer
Sustain Us in Our Work O God and Give
Work to Those Who Need It
Shape Societies to Ensure Fair Treatment
For All Who Labor
Help Us to Keep Focus and Avoid
That Keep Us From Loving Our Neighbors
In and Through
Our Work Lord in Your Mercy
Hear Our Prayer All These Things and
Whatever Else You See That We Need
We Entrust to Your Mercy Through Christ
Our Lord
Amen Let Us Now Pray
The Prayer That Our Lord Taught Us
Our Father in Heaven Hallowed Be Your
Your Kingdom Come Your Will Be Done
On Earth as in Heaven Give
Us Today Our Daily Bread Forgive Us Our
Sins as We Forgive Those Who Sin Against
Save Us From the Time of Trial and
Deliver Us From Evil
For the Kingdom the Power and the Glory
Are Yours
Now and Forever Amen
Now May You Go Out This Week Feeling the
The Power
The the Wisdom and Also the
Responsibility to Stay
Focused Stay Focused Amongst All the
Knowing That You and I and Esperanza and
Everyone Else
Is Called to Serve Our Neighbor to Love
Our Neighbors as Ourselves
Even in This Very Distracting Time We
Know We Have That Power
Through God the Creator God the Redeemer
And God the Holy Spirit