Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Life Moves Pretty Fast!

If you have heard me preach before you have heard me talk about how chaotic life can be.
I usually talk about life that way to describe big things that happen in our world that we can’t explain.
Today I want us to think about how our ever day lives are growing more and more chaotic.
It is no secret that we are busier than we used to be.
We are always going from one thing to the next.
Life is moving and it often seems or maybe feels like organized chaos.
As we do more and more, as we work more and more, we have little time to do the little things that are so important.
We eat fast food instead of sitting down and eating as a family.
We don’t take time to be together to listen to each other.
I was told this week by a colleague that this is what mothers understand better than anyone else.
They understand how to get multiple things done.
They know how to cook dinner, do laundry, clean the bathroom, and help kids with homework all at the same time.
In the midst of a chaotic life mother’s no how to serve.
So can the rest of us.

Today’s reading from Acts is about serving in chaotic times.
There is a woman, a slave, with divination.
She follows Paul and his companions around yelling at them until they relented to curing her.
In the midst of the chaos Paul finds a way to serve.
Paul and his companions are beaten with rods and then thrown in Jail because this woman was a money maker for her captures.
They are thrown in Jail, and while in jail the pray and sing.
Brings comfort to the other prisoners.
In the midst of the chaos of being in Jail Paul and Silas found a way to serve.
Then there is an earthquake.
It is discombobulating to the jailer so much so that he is going to kill himself.
Yet after this the jailer takes Paul and his companions to his house and washed their wounds, and feed them.
In the midst of a discombobulating earthquake the jailer finds a way to serve.

In the words of Ferris Beuller, “Life moves pretty fast.”
So much to be done and not a lot of time to do all the things we wish we could.
We have to work, feed our families, take care of the lawn, fix the car, pay the bills, do laundry, fill out forms, and file taxes.
This doesn’t stop when our kids get older either.
For many people they are helping out with the grand kids, and also taking care of aging parents.

Some of you know that my mother is facing stage four cancer.
But this is not her first time with cancer.
She had it twenty-five years ago.
At that time I was a teenager.
At that time chemo therapy was much harder, because they didn’t have all the advances they have today.
I can only imagine that for my mother it was a pretty chaotic time.
But the thing is I don’t really know.
Because she managed to make everything seem normal.
She still cleaned the house, made dinner, went to work, and took care of us kids emotionally and spiritually.
A midst all the chaotic she still found time to serve, to wash the wounds of those around her.

Perhaps this is the way the Gospel is spread.
Not through serene times of prayer and contemplation but in the midst of chaos.
In the midst of the demands of everyday life we show forth God’s light.

I know that I admire my wife for this, because her life is much more hectic than mine.
She works, helps the kids with the homework, does most of the household chores, serves the church as the head of the education team, serves on the PTO, bakes cakes for the kids things at school, signs all their permission forms, volunteers in the kids classroom, keeps track of the family schedule, runs half marathons, finds time to be a good daughter and sister, and hardest of all puts up with me.
In the midst of the chaos she serves and in that serving honors God.

What about you?
What are the ways that your life is hectic, chaotic, even out of control and how do you find time to serve with all the demands on you?
What are the ways that you honor God in your lives?

I have been thinking lately that it is not so much in the big things that we honor God, but in the small everyday things.
It is in the midst of life when we are tired and worn out.
It is in those times when we muster the strength to spend time reading to our kids, or listening to a friend who is having problems, that we spread the message of this God who saves.

I want to take some time to talk about this idea of saving.
When we think of that as Christians we often think of it meaning that we have saved someone from hell.
Salvation has been belittled to only mean that we are saved at the end of our lives and go to heaven.
Certainly this is one of its meanings.
But in our reading today the word that is translated as saved has a bigger meaning.
It could also mean wholeness and healing.
It also means what happens to us here right now on this planet.
When we talk about saving others it also can mean that we are helping them in some way to be whole to heal.
When God saves us it doesn’t just mean that we are going to heaven someday, but also that God can heal our wounds and make us whole.
So if we are saved by the grace of God we are able to react differently in times of chaos.
Paul and Silas are saved by God’s grace making it possible for them to pray and sing hymns even though they have beaten with rods and put in prison.
Knowing God is our companion, in this hectic crazy life, makes it possible for us to serve even in the chaos.
I know that is what helped my mother when she had cancer; I know this is what helps my wife every day.
I know that many of you rely on God to wake you up and get you through the day.
It helps me.
Some days I like to say this little prayer.
Dear Lord,
So far today I've done all right.
I haven't gossiped, cursed, or lost my temper.
I haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or over indulgent.
I am really glad about these things.
But, in a few minutes Lord,
I am going to get out of bed,
and from then on,
I'm probably going to need a lot more help.

It is easy to feel that you have done all things right when you are lying in bed.
It is totally a different thing to do all those things right in the midst of a busy and hectic life.
I know that I often fail at this.
But I also know that I am saved by God.
I am forgiven, redeemed, and empowered; I am given second and third chances.
And so are all of you.

Life moves pretty fast.
Life is hectic.
Thanks be to God that we are saved because then we have opportunities in the midst of all of it to serve and to show God’s light to our families, our friends, and our co-workers.
Thanks be to God for the mothers in our lives who have served us in the midst of all the craziness of life.

May we leave here this morning ready to serve by the grace of God who saves us.

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