Let us pray: Tear back the veil of mystery that separates us from you, O Lord. And grant us the courage to draw near. With the power of your Word and Spirit, guide us through the fear that divides, and lead us into love that bridges holy union with you and your purposes. And now, may the words of my mouth, and the meditations of all our hearts, be acceptable in Thy sought, O Lord our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
The idea for today’s sermon came to me many months ago, but true to the subject matter, I finished it this morning. Today we celebrate the graduations of friends and members of this community who, in their academic triumphs, have inevitably learned a thing or two about procrastination. We have all been there: soaring in the clouds of noble intentions to begin a project, only to find ourselves starting the work due to a the haunting persistence of a looming deadline.
Let us Pray: Link us Lord with our brothers and sisters at Pentecost some two thousand years before. Not by ideology, culture, or theology, but by the same Spirit. Fill us with your Spirit by blowing the words of scripture right off the page and into our hearts. And now, may the words of my mouth, and the meditations of all of our hearts, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
The Holy Spirit—that great force, being, reality that Anna just attested to from Scripture, often elusively escapes our purview. As far as its role as a member of the Trinity, in most main line churches God as the sustaining Holy Spirit undoubtedly plays the third-wheel role to God the Creator and God the Redeemer. According to the New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary, “The church has always tended toward bitarianism, worshiping the Father and the Son while regarding the Spirit as a marginal member of the Holy Trinity,” (Volume X, Pg. 57.)
This morning we will consider the importance of tone. Not specifically musical tone, although that is related. I am talking also about the tone set in a situation. It may not be something that we very often think about in the context of faith. But, it behooves us to take time to meditate on the issue of tone, because in life, we too frequently underestimate its importance. You may have heard it said, that how you say something is as or more important that what you actually say. That idea calls to mind the words of Maya Angelou, ““I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” It is also consistent with twentieth century American author Dorothy Parker’s command, “Don’t look at me with that tone of voice.” How the tone is set and communicated in almost any situation will inevitably impact the situation’s trajectory. Tone directs the present and the future. But before going any further, let’s set the tone for the sermon with prayer:
Let us pray: Gracious God, help us not only to open our hearts and minds to your Scripture that we might better discern and understand your transforming word, but help us also by giving us the strength and will to respond. And now, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
There are two pieces of advice that members of this congregation have shared time and again. The first: “do not get old.” To which I usually respond, “I am not sure to follow your advice.” The other recommendation came often since the birth of our children. The advice, “Do not blink, or your children will grow up too fast.” I tried to follow that advice and lasted about a minute. Both pieces of advice relate to how quickly the years pass. Just yesterday at our Presbyterian’s Men’s meeting, I asked a member of our church about how his children and grandchildren were doing. He responded, “Roberto, those grandkids are growing so fast.” To which I thought, maybe you should stop blinking, but I did not say that.
Palabra de Vida
You will find sermons preached by Rev. Robert Woodruff and guests preachers.