Bellbrook Presbyterian Church

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Steadfast Love

Posted on 10/22/2016 by SuperUser Account in Luke Samual

Sermon for Sunday, October 22, 2016

Rev. Diane Ziegler, The Bellbrook Presbyterian Church

Scriptures: Luke 1:30-33; 2 Samuel 7:1-17

I know many of us are tired this morning after the Bean Supper.  I want to thank everyone who helped, and lift up a few people in particular.

Tammy, who is a Bean Supper super hero.  She was here all day with six roasters going.  The soup was delicious.

Candy, who made the decorations so beautiful and welcoming.

Penny and Janet who handled the Treasure Room, that is what I am calling it today, and the bake sale.  And a Treasure Room it was!

And so many others – makers of fudge and bread for the bake sale, those who cleaned tables and wiped trays, those who carried boxes and bags, the cashiers, dishwashers, and do-ers of many other things.  Thank you.

 

I heard a lot of gratitude last night – for this place, for the Saints who have gone before us, for the soup.  Many people appreciate not just the delicious food, but the community and companionship, the hospitality, the history.  Thank you.

 

I’ve been working on a sermon for Presbytery for a meeting to be held in the middle of November, and in preparation for that meeting I’ve been thinking a lot about how we prepare for and lay the foundation for the Kingdom.  The Kingdom of Christ in our time and in our life, and that which will be after us.  And then I was thinking about the Bean Supper, and the Saints who laid the foundation for the supper, who trained the current team of folks who make the supper happen, and of the next generation of those to come.  And I wonder what Saints think.  I wonder what Ruby and Genevieve and the others who were so instrumental in the Bean Supper in years past, those who laid the foundation - - I wonder what they think?  Now from the heavens, in the glory of the Almighty, looking down at those of us here now, what do they think about this community, about the dinner, about the response of those who said the soup was so good?

 

* * * * *

 

My grandfather was a farmer.  And every year he planted a huge garden in addition to the crops that he farmed.  And he always planted tomatoes.  He’d start the plants from seeds under grow lights, and when the weather was right he would transfer them to the outside.  I always chuckled a bit at his tomato patch in the spring.  He would cut these huge stakes - - like small trees, or large branches, and whittle the ends and drive them into the ground.  So there would be this small little tomato plant and this huge stake.  It looked silly.  But I knew what he was doing - - he was planning for growth, for success, for a tomato plant that would be much larger come late summer.  The stake would be needed to support the plant that was to come.

There are seven of us grand kids.  All of us ate the tomatoes growing up, and loved them.  Today I am the only one of the seven who plants tomatoes every summer, keeping the tradition going on.  Usually I do fairly well, but a couple of summers ago, I did not do very well.  I had a good patch full of tomato plants that just weren’t healthy at all.  And another patch - - one that was doing well - - well, it looked like raccoons were just belly flopping into it and then eating the bottoms of the ripe tomatoes right off.  I could imagine them out there at night jumping in and chowing down. 

My mother and I were out in the mess of tomato plants one day and I told her I didn’t think my grandfather (her dad) would be very pleased with my work - - had I learned nothing from him?

 

* * * *

 

It is hard when we change a tradition, or feel like we might not be meeting one.   Take pews for example.  There was a woman in a congregation that I served who had a cane, and she had a pew that was “hers”.  And when someone sat in “her” pew, she did not hesitate to use the cane.  Sometimes without warning.  She was a bit hard on visitors as you can imagine.

 

Well, lots of tradition is changing in 2 Samuel chapter 7, some of that change received better than other, some concern, some excitement for the future and what the future would contain. 

David is a change.  He is not the typical kind of king - - not like Saul who was tall in stature.  He was a kid.  Pulled from the field where he was watching sheep.  He didn’t look like a king.  And he changes the way Kings did what they did too.  He has significant political power which is intensified and magnified by his being chosen by God.  He has a lot of power.

From his cedar house, his wealthy house, he is relaxing in his comfort and success.  And he decides he should build God a house too.  God should certainly have a cedar house and particularly one close to where David was!

But God is not interested in cedar or wealth.  And God sure doesn’t want to be confined by a human, even by David.  God does not want or need a house, God does not want or need to be in any human’s care.  And he tells David just that through Nathan.

But that doesn’t mean that God rejects David, or isn’t beside him.  In fact, God promises to build David a house.  To build David a house that is a great and mighty Kingdom - - a Kingdom that never ends.  David’s descendants will always be on the throne.  It doesn’t mean that life will not be hard.  There will be hardships and lessons to be learned.  But God’s love will never change or depart.

God’s steadfast love never leaves.  It is the kind of love that can get mad and upset, but still is there and still is strong.  In fact it gets stronger.  It is the kind of love that sings “oh love that will not let me go” – that dwells and is and never changes.

God will not be “kept” by David.  But God will love David with steadfast love always, and God’s love will be such that David’s house will be forever.  David’s house will lead to the King of Kings, Jesus Christ.

 

I wonder if David knew of the significance of this promise, or his role, of the Kingdom?  Did he live in such a way to live into this huge task and responsibility?  Did he rest in that steadfast love of God at the end of each tiring day?  From the heavens all of these years later, what does David think of us, carriers of the Kingdom, as he looks upon us?

 

When I told my mom that I thought my grandfather might be disappointed, she paused and said, “Maybe.  But maybe he is glad you are still planting tomatoes.” - - - Still carrying out the tomato kingdom, still living in his ongoing love.

 

The bean supper last night is not just like it was; and it won’t be.  Things change.  People change.  But that may just be okay.  I am going to guess that what matters most to Ruby and Genevieve and the other saints who made and served soup before us, is the blessing and community that eaters of soup feel in this place, and that there are a few more kids with warm hats on their heads.

The steadfast love of Ruby and Genevieve and the other saints.  It lives on in you now as you serve soup and welcome people.  And one day it will live on in those who come after us.  The next generation of Kingdom keepers, seeking to be the salt and the light in the world.

 

The Kingdom is ours to build and share.  It is not an easy tasks - - there will always be challenges.  And disappointments.  But the steadfast love of God is ours – forever – and God will not let us go.

 

In honor of the saints who were faithful and those of us seeking to be faithful now, may we live in such a way that the seeds we receive - - beans or tomatoes or otherwise - - go on to others as fruit, and that the fruit that we receive goes on to others as sustenance and light and love.  May we continue to live in and to build Christ’s Kingdom.  Not just for us here and now, but for those who will come after us for generations to come.  To the glory of God.

 

All glory be to you, O Lord.  Amen.

 

 
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