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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Preaching class: Sermon #1

Isaiah 42:1-9

I am a klutz.

While other children were collecting their share of bruises and bumps and skinned kness, I was dislocating my shoulder, and getting stitches, and breaking bones-- 5 of them, before I was 12. At one point, my father declared me "Queen of the Cast Room." In today’s world, our frequent visits to the Emergency Room would likely have resulted in a visit with the hospital social worker, if not a call to Child Protective Services.

Needless to say, with a track record like that, I was not the kid at the top of anyone’s list when it came time to pick sides for a game on the playground. Nor did I want to be, particularly. I knew that, even if I managed not to get hurt, I would inevitably bungle something: drop the ball, or kick it in the wrong direction. So I was just as happy to prop myself against the side of the school with a book, and lose myself in the perils of Nancy Drew, or some autobiography. I can still feel that red brick wall at my back, rough and solid and safe.

So when I hear Isaiah’s words today, they’re hard for me to take in. “Here is my servant, whom I uphold; my chosen, in whom my soul delights.” He makes it sound so wonderful, the chosen one he describes, and I find myself thinking, “Wow. How can I measure up to that?”

But as I thought about that, I realized I was asking the wrong question. How I measure myself doesn’t matter. What matters is God, who “calls us by righteousness;” what matters is Jesus, who “takes us by the hand and keeps us,” pulling us away from that brick wall and into the game.

Safe? No, not safe. We’ve spoken of how nervous we are, standing to preach; I left this class on Tuesday shaking in my shoes as I thought about my turn being next. But oh, my friends, the gifts we give, and are given, when we do step in. Just think of what we’ve seen and heard and taken in so far:

Moki's gentleness, and Aune's strength, and Susie's enthusaism.

Rebecca's baptism by fire, and Judi's dreamless dreams of flight.

Each time someone has stepped up to speak, I’ve heard the Word of God come alive; and it has been a wondrous thing. And each time I am freshly reminded that this is one of the tasks set before us-- that this, right here, is part of the purpose for which we are chosen, and challenged, and called.

For here," God says, "are my servants, whom I uphold; my chosen, in whom my soul delights!"


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