Remembering Our Source
Ever get to the grocery store and forget
your mission? That used to be my mantra. What was it again I was supposed to get? Worse
case scenario-you get back home and no sooner do you sit down then presto, it dawns on you
that you forget the turkey.
a sermon based on Deuteronomy 26:1-11
by Rev. Thomas Hall
Our mothers were right after all. If our head wasnt glued on wed forget it.
My forgetfulness has locked me out of my car, house, cabin, locker, and church office.
Forgetfulness has sent me back home to get the checkbook, turn the burner off and remove
the charred remains.
In the book of worst quotations, someone once said, "I cant believe it! I
forgot to have children!" Im not that bad, but close. I once got a call about
10:30 one night. "You Thomas Hall?" "Yeah," I said not sure I wanted
to be. "Well, could you come back to church and get your daughter; shes asleep
on the fourth pew from the front." In times like that you want to hold the phone and
yell, "Honey, its for you."
There is good news if youve related to this problem. Bill Cosby has finally come
up with a solution for our faulty memories. It works-Ive tried it. Realizing that
only when we finally sit down that we remember he says when you forget, just do this-press
your hands against your butt. Suddenly youll remember your mission.
Thats kind of what I see moving around in our lesson. A lot of people needing
some reminding about important things. A lot of people needing Bill Cosbys advice.
The Israelites-roughly the size of Exton-had been trudging over the same dust for nearly
40 years. Four decades of loading up the U-Haul every month or so and moving to a
different school district. Month in month out.
If there was a problem with the Israelites, it was their memory. They invariably forgot
their password for life. God-not them-was the Source of their survival. They forgot to
remember that behind all of the food, water, heartbeats, and breath was their Source. And
when they forgot-anything would do for a cheap imitation of God-a golden calf, better
leadership, even Canaanite gods would do the trick.
On the other hand, often when they flourished and excelled-they sort of forgot again
and thought that they were responsible for their great successes.
How well is your memory this evening? Etched into our very money is the phrase,
"In God We Trust." Question is, what God are we trusting in? If we could etch
our own phrase into our currency what it say?
In Wall Street we trust?
In job security we trust?
In human goodness we trust?
In a strong military we trust?
Things have happened lately, havent they? We know about the scandals in the
Mutual Fund companies, weve heard about Enron, Tyco, World Com ripping off their
employees and hoarding money. Weve discovered that trust misplaced is disastrous.
There isnt a government democrat or republican enough, a friendship that lasts long
enough, a congress thats bipartisan enough, a job thats secure enough, a
relationship thats safe enough, diet thats safe enough, to claim our deepest
trust. But sometimes we act as if weve forgotten the Source.
Let me tell you what God is doing in this lesson. God is readjusting Israels
memory. "Remember when that food sort of fell from heaven?" "Yeah,"
they say. "Well, guess where it came from?" "Up there?" "No, it
came from Me."
"Remember when you could have been annihilated out there on the desert at
night?" "Yeah. So?" "What kept you safe?" "The big
fire?" "No, it was Me." I have been with you every step of the way. I
promise to be your Source in life.
"So when you make it big," God concludes, "When you have your own homes,
gardens, businesses, and schools and universities and factories. Remember who you are and
who I am. And be thankful. And remember, it is Me, your Source who gives you the power to
be successful. That is my desire."
See this flugelhorn? I play it at church with an ensemble. Tiny eight-year old Benjamin
comes up after a worship service one Sunday to admire my flug. "Would you like to
play it?" His eyes dance. "So what do you want to play?" "Oh, Jesus
Loves Me." "Well," I said, "put your fingers on the valves, and
Ill put my fingers over yours." So little Ben does that and my fingers over his
begin to play. Suddenly his friends hear him playing a jazzed up version of Jesus Loves
Me and crowd around him.
Next day at the daycare the conversation might look like this. "Yeah, I play the
flugelhorn. "What do you play?" "Oh, I play a jazzed up version of Jesus
Thats so Israel. Thats so us. God great hands guide us and enable us to
live. Great hands work like a template over ours-so that we sometimes get wonderful first
fruits and a beautiful life. Yet our conversations suggest some memory lapse. As if we
were the source and not God.
God hasnt changed a bit. Still gives us resources and lets us put our fingers on
the valves of Gods musical resource.
So once again we come to a place with a group journeying together. And once again we
pause to remember that God has spread a Table before us filled with good things.
Dont forget! When you come to the Table remember that God is Source. And so we offer
our meager tithes-just to remind us that God provides for our needs. Of course, we
wont leave empty-handed either. The body and blood of Christ is our food, our
sustenance, our resource. So take, eat. And be thankful. Amen.