August 27, 2007

Looking Ahead to September 2, 2007 -- 14th Sunday after Pentecost, Labour Day Weekend

Our worship this Sunday will revolve around labour and why we work

The Scripture Readings this Sunday are:
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: Jeremiah 2:4-13
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: Isaiah 55:1-3c, 10-13
  • Psalm 81:1, 10-13
  • From the Gospel: Luke 12:22-32

The Hymns this week are:

  • 222 Come Let Us Sing
  • MV #162 Christ Within Us Hidden (insert)
  • 660 How Firm a Foundation
  • 884 You Shall Go Out with Joy (sung twice)

The sermon title is For What do you Labour?

Early Thoughts: Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? (Isaiah 55:2)

Good question isn't it? Why do we labour and labour and seem to have such trouble finding happiness or comfort? Or, as Jesus asks, why do we worry all the time? On Labour Day weekend it seems important to pause and think about what our labour means to us.

Of course we labour, in part, to provide for ourselves and our loved ones. Jesus may speak eloquently about the birds of the air and the flowers of the field but the reality is that we have to do more than simply trust the what we need will be provided.

And we labour at things we love, things we find are important. Remember that not all of our labour is paid, that not all of our labour is work/career. Parenting is labour, serving on community boards is labour, taking time for self (reading, walking -- whatever one does for refreshment) is also labour. It is of course hoped that some of this labour brings re-creation, that some of our labour is re-energizing as well as draining.

But the reality experienced by so many is that labour is labour is tiring. So many of us find ourselves exhausted by the labour we do for sustenance and by the labours of love. Why? Are we infact going for the things that do not satisfy? Have we built cracked cisterns that are unable to hold the refreshing water of life?

As I look around I think that many of our cisterns are not only cracked but split wide open. IT is so easy to get trapped in the endless cycle of doing, doing, doing without pausing to experience life. IT is so easy to forget that life is meant to be more than that.

The words of Isaiah and Jeremiah tell us of people who have lost their way. They talk of people who have lost (or abandoned) the connection with God. Their choices take them away from the promise and into the land of dry water and unfulfilling purchases. But they also point us to the cure.

The cure is to find the balance of our labour. The cure is to remember that our labour isn't meant as busy work, but that it is to bring us what we need. The cure is to remember that God is part of the labour, that unless we let God work in us (which is hard when we are constantly ont he treadmill of busyness and worry) we will not find that which we truly need. The cure is to trust that God will help us get what we truly need (if not everything we want) When we do that then we too can go forth with joy and celebration -- dancing trees and all.

But I am still dubious about living like birds and flowers. That level of trust seems a little bit beyond my capability.

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