Archive for category #setfree
- Third Sunday after the Epiphany – January 24, 2021
- Photo: https://g.co/arts/MrXXqjJwnQ1PxEjC8
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“The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. ..When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them, and he did not do it. “ [NRSA: Jonah 3:1-5,10]
Context: OT Prophetic, This part of the Jonah story begins after the adventure with the big fish.
- Living Through Being Swallowed Up
- Three Days in the Belly
- Three Days Walking through the City
- Dismiss the debates about survivability inside a whale or large beast– a distraction
- The Retreat: three days apart, followed by the message being shared.
- The story has a miracle, but that is not its real power…
- Call to Repentance / Sackcloth
- God uses our trials, struggles, and times of fear, self-doubt, and rejection to model us and inspire us to ministry
- The wearing of Sackcloth is a public witness that we are someone going through some tragic time but we ALSO know God is using this time to 1) call to repentance, 2) call to faith, 3) Call to sharing.
- The People changed their hearts and God changes God’s mind.
- Shocking to Jonah: Imagine our political leaders confessing their corruptions and ask for God to forgive.
- The evidence of Jonah’s journey of faith, inspired a nation, to turn toward God.
- What struggles, trials, suffering has tested my/your faith?
- How will God use our fears, doubts, and failures for God’s good work and witness?
- Our role as prophets: Call others to seek God’s truth. Not left or right, rather the heart of God.
- God’s call to Jonah was to get up and go, reveal the darkness and evil in people’s lives, and repent/ turn toward God. The Action Plan
- The Fruit of faithfulness.
- The power of trusting God.
- The transformation from evil through faith in action.
As we look around and listen to our neighbors, our friends and enemies, is there a need for people to turn away from broken, hurtful, sinful ways? YES!
- As we see and hear the news and messages around us, what are we, the Body of Christ, called tell the world.
- Do we jump on the world’s band wagon?
- Are we called to take political sides?
- Are called to be quiet and polite?
- Are we scared of being swallowed up by
Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you. s20190623
Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me”– for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss. Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him. [NRSV]
This is a long story in comparison to the parables of Jesus
The wild and crazy guy, let’s call him Steve (1980s ref)
Is known by the towns people as the wild, crazy, possessed dangerous beast outside of town.
This beast was somewhat under the spell of many demons. And Jesus comes to set him free. By showing love for the unloved man he becomes Jesus’s disciple and follower.
The towns folks had been afraid of the beast. They had tried to chain him but he was stronger than thief restraints.
His condition has been explained away by some that he suffered from mental illness. But that negates Jesus’s conversations with the host of demons in the store.
There is a clear message that evil was not removed from the world but certainly the man was now free from the power of evil because of Jesus.
This is where the story begins to be about Jesus for us as well.
Once we have given Christ the evil that controls, tempts and taunts us over to God we become a new person, even though evil remains a threat near by.
The pigs, known to be unclean, in Jewish food guide are the requested target of the demons. Now deviled ham on the run. Evil Long’s to be at home in what is ungodly and unclean.
Just as the prodigal son recognizes his place is with the father and not the pigs, so the man who was possessed by evil is also restored through God’s work in Jesus Christ.
The response of having been at the feet of Jesus is:
Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.
As we come to the table to for communion we eat what is not a boy clean but bread and cup that give new life.
The power of this whole store is in what happens after the man is man new, restored, made clean or whole:
He wants to stay in the easy comfort of Jesus feet, but is challenged to
1. Return home
2. Remember what God ha done in your life
3. Tell everyone how much God has done for you
Here is the place of homework.
When we leave this place of familiarity and comfort of worship we go into a world where evil continues to thrive and we are charged to tell the world what God ha done for us personally.
What has God done for me lately?
God has heard prayers for healing
God has heard prayer Sid frustration and doubt answering we hope and blessing
God has heard prayers of worry and uncertainty and is bringing hope and peace
God has heard cries of loss and division and is opening doors of restoring and making us knew
God has heard prayers from the lonely and answered with friendships, covenants and new partnerships
God continues to set us free
God continues to call out evil
God continues to restore us to faithful, even in a evil time
God calls his people to trust his power and grace to overcome sin, fear, anger, greed, lust, shame, and more
Our homework is to leave ready to tell everyone what Hod ha done for you
Practice – what is one thing God has done for you this year?
Not just a decade ago, or a couple of millennial ago, but what has God doing lately
If nothing comes to mind, then maybe you are feeling chained up, possessed by something or someone else. Today is a day to ask Jesus to break those things that keep us divided, afraid, alone, lost in sin. Today is a day of freedom, renewal and proclaiming God’s News For the world to see and hear.