A sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, June 24, 2012. The lectionary readings are Job 38:1-11, Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32, 2 Corinthians 6:1-13, and Mark 4:35-41.
It’s that time of year for many people, and so it may be for all these reasons, that as I listen to the scripture readings for today, I hear in them a kind of travel narrative. In today’s readings there are accounts of people who have been places. They have seen things, and they have been changed.
The Psalm of the day reminds us that the God of creation is after all the God of the Exodus, who is the very God who continues to save us, to lift us up, and to keep us steady. We can read Psalm 107 as a record of where we have been. It’s a spiritual travelogue. Think of a time when you’ve felt overwhelmed, about to sink, as though the current of life is taking you way out into the deep and those words of the psalmist become very personal. Eugene Peterson’s translation brings it home:
an ocean storm, towering waves!
You shot high in the sky, then the bottom dropped out;
your hearts were stuck in your throats.
You were spun like a top, you reeled like a drunk,
you didn’t know which way was up.
[But] then you called out to [the Lord] …
[and] he got you out in the nick of time.
He quieted the wind down to a whisper,
[and] put a muzzle on all the big waves. (The Message, Psalm 107)
He is the Way.
Follow him through the Land of Unlikeness;
you will see rare beasts and have unique adventures.
He is the Truth.
Seek him in the Kingdom of Anxiety;
you will come to a great city that has expected your return for years.
He is the Life.
Love him in the World of the Flesh:
and at your marriage all its occasions shall dance for joy.
W. H. Auden For the Time Being (a Christmas Oratorio)
We have the little things that sustain, but even more, we have God our Savior surrounding us, leading us, pushing us, holding us, carrying us, loving us always and forever.
May we look out for each other along the way. May we enjoy the scenery and be strong and faithful travelers.