Mysterium Tremendum

Do Not Be Afraid Little Flock

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Do Not Be Afraid Little Flock
 
Verses:
Genesis 15: 1-6
Hebrews 11: 1-3, 8-16
Luke 12: 32-40
 
  May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be always acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, our strength and our Redeemer. Amen
 
   Good Morning.  I enjoyed today's lessons and verses as, to me, they seemed to do 2 things at one time; bring a comforting, quieting message at a time of fear and concern; provide a snapshot of Hebrew history over the ages.
 
  I particularly like the phrase "do not be afraid, little flock".  It rings with me in a place inside where despite my adult age of 53 years, I often times feel "little" in the face of our challenging world.  I feel like events happen rapidly now and change life as we have known and understood it, not unlike watching a fast-paced slideshow.  I feel like we are given an image and as soon as we begin to wrap our minds around that image, another image is presented that is as unsettling and distrubing as the last image.
 
  Mark Sept 11 in your mind and fast-forward from there till now --- don't you feel sometimes samll and helpless and powerless watching the slideshow that has marked our way of life in such a permanent shift?  In fact, IF I was of the "end times" school of thought, the apocraphal end of time as we know it, I would think we are witnessing just such a time.
 
  In the Luke and Hebrews verses today, we can be reminded that those early Christians firmly believed in an immediately coming "end time".  Two thousand years later we have reason to question the validity of that "urgency".  But that aside, along the course of our human history there are time and time aggain, episodes of horror and terror in our human behaviors one to another.  Behaviors of such magnitude, such aggression, such hatefulness that it seems to harness the power of evil and spin quickly out of control into demonic acts of depravity perpetrated on entire cultures of peoples.  Often innocent people, who just happen to be in the way of evil's energy force field are caught up in a force beyond their comprehension or ability to control.
 
  Do not be afraid little flock has a comforting ring to it, for me, if only for the moment it brings that reduces the terror of feeling like a deer caught in the headlights -- frozen in apprehensive fear and disorientation.
 
  In that moment of the comforting calm from the loving voice that says "do not be afraid, little flock" I can feel myself calming, becoming grounded enough to remember my faith; to remember to remember my faith.  And that is when the positive, life-giving energy begins to fill my being and push back the negative energy.  I begin to feel a charge running through me that is electrifying on a spiritual plane. 
 
  It is during this process, I can begin to feel the courage and strength to not only sustain the evil energy, but to actually push back against it.  The power of faith, if you will, becomes an internal combustible engine that finds a way to convert the energy, harness it to some degree, and use it in my living life.
 
  It is not helpful to me to be reminded of Hebrew history, Abraham, Abel, Enoch, the Torah, the Prophets because it simply is too distantly removed from me to be "my history", something I can relate to...    Yet, I can remember to be reminded of my own history in the present context and draw on the courage of people within my own history; including my own personal courage when facing life-challenges along my own way, as well as examples of others' courage in facing overwhelming life challenges.
 
  Faith is a dynamic process.  It is the nature of that process that calls us forth to act, to reflect, to contemplate, to react, to quiet us so we can hear beyond the noise of our every day lives.  Since it is a pwoerful energy that vitalizes us as human beings, we must Respect that it is a Process.
 
  I would suggest that "faith" in and of itself is not the mark of righteousness.  Many have faith in their belief set and act in accordance which often leads to discordance.  It is not the faith that we need to challenge, for we all possess that combustible energy; it is the belief set, the definitions of what we believe that we must challenge.  To have the empowerment of faith and believe in a Creator, a Divinity that calls to action "angry energy" calls us into angry, hostile behaviors -- with and in faith.  One could be said to have dep faith wile that one is acting to harm, maim, damage, even kill a fellow being.
 
  I do not know what the resolutions are when people find themselves in the battleground arena of conflicting beliefs with deep faith.  I do know Jesuse was in his human-ness at the center of a firestorm where deep faith abounded and the belief sets conflicted/clashed, often violently.
 
  Yet, all there is available to us is the example of Jesus, who did not call the Judeans to war against their oppressors, rather he showed us a different method to use faith.  In my own lifetime, other examples that have had an impact on me as an alternative way to use faith have been Ghandi, Martin Luther King.  While I don't agree entirely with the behaviors, even the 1960's youth movements show us a different way to use the energy of faith in the face of conflictual belief sets. 
 
  In truth, faith -- the process of faith scares me, tremendously sometimes.  I've seen it's offspring of negativity when the beliefs that generate the faith are misaligned.  I never doubt the awesome power of faith, the incredible energy faith can generate.  I believe strongly in it's power to change lives, to influence families, communities, countries and vast groups of people toward their detriment and as well towards lifting them up.
 
  I do, though, and often, doubt the beliefs that govern the faith energy.  While I cannot profess to wholly believe my own Christian heritage, nor do I consider myself even to be among those who call themselves Christian, and it's almost abhorrent to me to be identified as among those who call themselves "good Christians" -- I Do believe, unequivocally, in the power of faith.
 
  I futher think when each of us is given an awareness of the tremendous personal power we each hold in our faith, we are also given a tremendous responsibility to use that faith power with careful consideration.  Unleashed, unchecked, we have seen the harmful effects of faith harnessed and harvested to act carelessly in pursuit of manufactured high ideals.  Any of those ideals can be taken from or pointed to as biblical, therefore irrefuteable.
 
   And yet, always when referencing and pointing to the bilble, there is Jesus Christ.  His actions, His testimony, His beliefs and no matter who is putting what words in the mouth of Jesus, there is no way to sidestep His life, His example, a new and revitalized way in which he showed us how to use the power of faith.
 
   Beyond words, beyond sermons, beyond study, beyond church is the essence of Jesus walking with us along the way.  Stripped of everything, he showed us the potential in the power of faith.  We have yet to fully absorb that meaning and align ourselves accordingly.  After all is done and said, all has been examined and re-examined, there remains the factor of intimacy with the Jesus who whispers to our soul in the midst of all the loud noise that goes on around us.
 
   In that One, that very personal Jesus, that is where we can both find and put our faith ---
 
       Do not be afraid, little flock
             
                                                 Amen
 
 
written by Lietta Ruger
Aug 9, 2004

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Please visit my sermons, links shown below and to the top left. 
 
 I am studying to become a preacher, eventually this can track into becoming ordained priest within Episcopal diocese.  This is accomodated in what is called a Circle of Ministry setting with others also studying to become preachers or towards ordination.  Part of my study requires that I write and present sermons at our church on periodic Sundays.  
 
 I have posted my sermons on this site to share and for the opportunity of critiques from others who are willing to read them.    If you have taken time to read any, some or all of my sermons, I thank you for spending that time.      
 
  Lietta

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