In the third and final sermon on psalms of disorientation, Jed discusses Psalm 73 and the way that it offers us a testimony from one who ventured away, and who discovered, anew, how pleasing it is to be in close fellowship with God. Psalm 73 is a beautiful picture of our wandering hearts, and the journey back to the Father who has never left us. It reminds us that the movement from disorientation into new orientation involves coming to God, and learning that He is with us.
In his second sermon on psalms of disorientation, Jed explores Psalm 109 and its honest and startling expression of rage toward an enemy. Psalm 109 reminds us that rage is real, and that it must be carried to heaven. To love our neighbour, as Jesus commands, might also involve praying their grief and anger with them. Jed suggests that a prayer like this is a model for us as we pray for ourselves and others, in articulating our rage, in submitting it to God, and in moving past our anger. In speaking to God, and interceding for our world, we are invited to remember that disorientation is a real and painful reality, and that God is working to make all things new. This is the voice of disordered life yearning for a new way of living.
In this first psalm of disorientation, Jed explores what some have labeled “the darkest psalm,” asking what we do with a psalm where God appears not to answer. Jed suggests that the silence of God in Psalm 88 isn’t met with demands for explanation, but with a rich combination of patient waiting and impatient demand. In darkness, we are most mindful, as was the psalmist, of our need for God. But we are left, as was the psalmist, waiting, praying more intensely but mostly without resolution. In such circumstances it is an act of faith to continue praying. And this is the gift of Psalm 88 to a community of faith: a language for those times God seems most absent; a reminder to continue speaking.
In this sermon on the second psalm of orientation in our series, Beck unpacks what it looks like for God’s people to trust Him. God’s faithfulness to creation—ourselves included—is absolute, and God’s creative word speaks life into our communities. His word and spirit convey the reality of power in action, as well as God’s intimacy in breathing life into our lungs, and the response of the psalmist is one of praise. How extraordinary to meet together as people of the kingdom and declare, along with the psalmist, our trust in God!
This is the first sermon in a series on the Psalms where we will be following Walter Brueggemann's outline of psalms of orientation, disorientation, and new orientation. In this sermon, Jed introduces the idea that the Psalms are about speech: our human need to speak to God and trust that he hears us; our experience of those times that God seems to speak back in words and in action; those moments where God’s part of the conversation seems totally silent; and the very real fact that the Psalms offer us voices of the dead who, like the great cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 12, testify to God’s past goodness, and our future hope. Looking at Psalm 145, Jed unpacks this exuberant psalm of praise and its implications for us as communities who share our stories of God's goodness, and who long for our hope to be the hope of all.
Guest speaker Louise Bartlett (Baptist Association Coordinator of Families and Children's Ministries) shares the joys and challenges of living and serving in an intergenerational community. Despite our tendencies to cordon off ages and life stages into ministry groups, Louise reminds us that God's Kingdom is for all, and there is so much to be gained through the messiness and beauty of coming together as one.
In this sermon Ainsley reminds to wait patiently, watch expectantly, and to wonder readily at the outworking of the Kingdom in our midst. The Kingdom is like yeast, working its priorities throughout our whole lives, and the world itself. The Kingdom is like a mustard seed sown deep into the world's soil: hardy, pervasive, and eternally enduring.
Looking at the watershed parable of the gospels, Ainsley discusses the Parable of the Sower and its ramifications for those of us who wish to have hearts and communities full of good soil. In this sermon, we encounter God as the sower, Jesus as the seed, and the different soils that receive the Word. The Word--that is Jesus--is sown everywhere in abundance, and will do good work, if only we are willing lay down our priorities and anxieties and get out of the way.