May 13, 2018
Seventh Sunday of Easter
Acts 1:15-17, 21-26
1 John 5:9-13
Please pray with me,
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be acceptable and suitable in your sight, O God, our rock, our strength and our redeemer. Amen.
Psalm 1 is the appointed Psalm for the day, give it a listen.
Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Welcome to the book of Psalms. With Psalm one, we are invited into this book of the Bible, into words of poets as we learn about God’s great love for us and the life we are called to live in response to that love.
And the book of Psalms begins with the word, Happy!
That’s a great beginning, right?
What does it mean to be happy?
What is happiness?
For the psalmist for today, and pretty much all 150 psalms, the primary subject is not the psalm writer, or human beings in general, but rather God.
Happiness for the psalmist, then is not primarily about what we human beings feel, desire or accomplish…it’s not about doing what we want to do. Happiness is about doing what God wants done. (McCann)
Happiness is about doing what God wants done.
Now that’s not to say that when we are doing God’s will we’re not happy….but the root of that happiness, the root of our own joy and happiness comes from something deeper, something greater, it’s a gift from God.
God delights when we do God’s will, by loving the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and strength AND loving our neighbors as ourselves.
And that leads us to a choice, the psalmist suggests, and the choice is this: that we live our lives doing God’s will by loving the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and strength and loving our neighbors as ourselves or we don’t.
Psalmist is saying that there is a choice….not a choice about whether God loves us or not, that isn’t a choice, God loves you no matter what!
But the choice the psalmist says that we are faced with is which path will we take? How do we or how will we respond to God’s love in our lives? How do we respond to God’s deep, deep desire for us to live lives filled with love, care, compassion and service?
Will we choose God’s way which promises life or will we choose to go our own way which promises death?
We have the opportunity to make this decision every day…sometimes we don’t choose wisely, but other times, we make a decision that leads us along God’s path, and when we do, others notice.
This picture popped up on social media recently.
The written post that appeared with it reads, “Spotted this specimen trying to dance the other week. He stopped when he saw us laughing.”
Yeah. Just sit with that for a second. We always get to make a choice to how we respond to others in our midst. Do we lift them up or put them down?
Then Cassandra joined in to respond. She wrote: Anyone know this man or who posted this? There is a huge group of ladies in LA who would like to do something special?
This tweet was shared over 2,000 times.
This was Cassandra’s next post:
We don’t know much about you,
But a photo on the internet suggested
that you wanted to dance and were made to feel like you shouldn’t be.
We want to see you dance freely and if you would have us,
We would love to dance with you.
We are prepared to throw quite the dance party just for you, if you’d have us.
To be clear it’s 1,727 of us.
And we are all women.
It this isn’t appealing, we’re okay with taking no for an answer,
But we’d like you to know – the offer stands.
May we have this dance?
An occasionally overly enthusiastic group of young women in California.
Then some famous people joined in the conversation…
Pharrell Williams (known well for the song, Happy) and Moby – a musician, DJ, record producer and singer song writer)
And they say that no one should ever be ashamed of themselves and no one should be ashamed about dancing.
And then, Dancing Man responded.
And, needless to say, replied yes to the invitation.
And they danced, and danced and danced….
This is what happens when God’s love is lived and shared.
This is what happens when we are able to see all of God’s children as beloved, beautiful beings created in God’s image.
This is what happens when God’s children are truly free to be themselves and free to dance.
This is what happens when we respond out of God’s love and grace and compassion for others.
And it is noticed by others…and it makes a huge difference.
God reaches out to each and every one of us in this Psalm and says, may I have this dance?
God says, I love you and I want you to experience and know my love for you and for you to live that out in your everyday life.
How will you respond to this amazing invitation?
And all God’s people said, amen.