This fall, Pastor Susannah and I have been reminding us of key stories that lie at the heart of Scripture, and shape our own lives as Christians. While we have taken a break with the Houston Preaching Mission with Donald Davis (Oct. 17), and our Youth Sunday (Oct. 24), we return to these stories on October 31 (All Saints Day) as I preach about the life of Jesus Christ.
To remind you of where we have been:
From Genesis 1, the story of Creation, I said that discovering the image of God in ourselves, in other people, and in Jesus Christ has profound implications about how we ought to live in these incendiary times. Because all people have been created in the image of God, words should never be used to demonize, and dehumanize, and hurt. You and I and all people are God’s children, and we ought to treat one another as loving brothers and sisters.
From Genesis 12, the Call of Abraham and Sarah, I reminded us that being called by God and responding to God is a gift that is available to all. God did not just call Abraham and Sarah, or me, but all of us. The Call is a gift. We do not deserve the gift of being called. We have not earned the right to be called. But what God offered to Abraham and Sarah, and through Jesus, and to me, and to all of us is a life in which we are never alone and that may well become a blessing to others. I do not know when, where, or how God has called you, but I do know that God has called you. God’s Call, however, always requires a response. How will you accept, embrace, and obey God’s call?
From Exodus 3, the Call of Moses, I said that many of us, our families, our friends, our neighbors, and people around the world, need to hear this story of call and liberation. Many among us are slaves to many different Pharaohs and need to be set free. Some of us are slaves to our work. Some of us are slaves to addictions. Some of us are slaves to our families. Some of us are slaves to our own passions and desires. Some of us are slaves to our possessions. Some persons in our world are slaves to dehumanizing ideologies or poverty or a host of other slave masters. All of us are slaves to sin and death. Yet, God continues to call each one of us, like Moses and Jesus, to tell God’s Good News. God can set all people free, if we will simply tell this story.
Pastor Susannah reminded us that the Ten Commandments are a gift to us from God that enables us to live as children of God.
Finally, two weeks, ago, as I preached about the Promised Land, We all face major obstacles in our lives. We do not face raging rivers or giants or massive walls. Instead we face fear, loss of jobs, the absence of safety nets, foreclosures of homes, a dysfunctional government, war, disease, and death. We sometimes forget the promise of a Promised Land. We sometimes imagine an incomplete Promised Land. But God never forgets what God promised. For all of us, there is a Promised Land and a New Jerusalem. In these strange, dark days filled with obstacles, I reminded you, that “I am bound for the Promised Land” and I invited you to “come and join with me, for we’re bound for the Promised Land.”
Do join us again on All Saints Day on October 31 as we continue to journey with God through the Bible.