I don’t know about you, but I need to hear Jesus say to me and to you: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” I really need to hear that this week. Because it has not been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon.
In fact, in our neck of the woods, here on the east side of Cleveland and in our nation and the world, it has been hectic and horrifying. The murder of Jimmy Brennan shows again how vulnerable we all are. And yes, we have choices to make about how we’re going to respond.Respond in fear and move from the Heights, but you are no safer any other place. Or do we do what our community of faith should do: come together and shout out “No!” to the darkness and show that light, hope, love, peace, and community have the final word.
It hasn’t been a quiet week for the girls in Nigeria and their parents. It hasn’t been a quiet week for the families of the boys in Israel – or in Palestine!
It hasn’t been a quiet week in our denomination as we not only allow in same sex marriages but we voted to divest from companies doing business in Israel. And oh my, has there been a reaction in the Jewish community!
It hasn’t been a quiet week in Syria and Iraq as ISIS is on the move calling for a new Islamic caliphate.
No, it hasn’t been a quiet week. As we watched the World Cup and cheered on the USA and as we come to the annual celebration of our identity as a free nation, even in our unity as a people we are beset with all sorts of divisions.
There was a Pew report out not too long ago that said that more people have become concerned with their children marrying a Democrat or a Republican.
No, it hasn’t been a quiet week.
Jesus says: “With what will I compare this generation?” Everyone sitting in the market place seeking attention. “We played the flute for you and you did not dance, we wailed and you did not mourn.” Our culture is spinning off in so many directions, and we’re not paying attention – not dancing when we should, not grieving when we ought to, becoming dumber even as we talk on our smart phones!
And Jesus realizes – 2000 years ago – that no matter what he does the spin machines will go to work, shaping the narrative in negative tones. John the Baptist who fasted and didn’t drink – people said he was crazy. Jesus came eating and drinking and serving the best wine at the feast – and people called him a glutton and a drunkard.
Sounds like our generation and our marketplaces and our media outlets.
And yet, Jesus holds out this hope, this truth – that in the midst of the craziness, there is something else going on. And he says, “Wisdom will be vindicated by her deeds.”
Wisdom. Sophia. The expression of God’s spirit. The feminine principal of God, also known as Sophia – just like the little girl we baptized here this morning.
This is an important truth to hold on to when you find yourself in the midst of the crazy, when you’re in over your head, when you’re lost and reeling – God’s truth is marching on, God’s love is lifting us higher. God’s timing may not be our timing but the time is coming. And we have this promise that it is in our midst right now: because Sophie is baptized, because we’re going to break bread together.
You see, when the Jesus community is busy being itself – loving our children, speaking for justice, welcoming one and all, gathering to mourn and to move – we are expressing Wisdom, and it shall be vindicated. “Tears may tarry for the night but… joy comes in the morning!” We have to hold out and hold on!
At times of craziness we need to remember who we are and whose we are. Today we see who we are in baptism and in the sacrament of communion. Listen again to these words of wisdom which shall be vindicated:
“In baptism God claims us, and seals us to show that we belong to God. God frees us from sin and death… we are united with Christ. In baptism we are joined to Christ’s ministry of love, peace and justice.”
You see, we speak and act in the midst of this crazy world – we sacrifice and think of others first, we do not flee, but remain to make a witness – that love, peace and justice are stronger than hate, war and injustice. We must vindicate this wisdom. through our deeds.
In communion we remember when Jesus died and took all the craziness into his arms, took all the people into his arms, took you and me brother in his arms, took you and me sister in his arms – he didn’t say a mumblin’ word, but he showed that suffering, death, nothing separates you from the love of God… nothing.
In communion we look forward when we are all gathered at the feast in the kingdom, and we celebrate that reality now – that all God’s critters have a place in the choir and a place at this table.
Baptism and communion, when you think about it, are two of the most radical acts we can do. Marked and fed, we go forth from this place to act and be the wisdom that will be vindicated.
You don’t have to be intelligent to know this is true– because look at little Sophie Amelia – what does she know? And yet God’s wisdom will be vindicated in her – that is the promise.
Yes, our children, they know – they know wisdom. I received this email on Tuesday from member Mary Ball:
Just wanted to let you know that our church school program has a profound effect on our children. Caiden (age 4) has been talking about heaven and recently told [her mother] the following: “When I get to Heaven I can’t wait to go to that party with the big table (Last Supper) I’m going to take two pieces of bread and put the fish in the middle and make a sandwich!!!
Caiden, we are celebrating that feast today. Yes, truth has been revealed to babes. WIsom will be vindicated in her deeds.
And from this party we will go forth – witnessing to that which we know is true: in the words of Bishop Desmond Tutu:
Goodness is stronger than evil, love is stronger than hate
Light is stronger than darkness, life is stronger than death.
Victory is ours, victory is ours through God who loves us.
Victory is ours, victory is ours through God who loves us.
This Wisdom will be vindicated by your deeds!