Sermons

Summary: Reviewing our vows of belonging to the body of Christ...are we living what we promised?

LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. 2Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger. 3When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; 4what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? 5Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor. 6You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet, 7all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, 8the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. 9O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalms 8:1 - 9 (NRSV)

King David opens and closes this Psalm addressing the Lord, Sovereign God, whose majesty is a signature that is stamped across everything in creation.

Sometimes my mind staggers and comes unglued at just the thought of how huge is God¡¦s creation, and just how miniscule we are. Travelling at the speed of light it would take 100,000 years just to cross the width of the Milky Way. Scientists tell us there are billions of Milky Ways; the work of God¡¦s fingers!

What is even more staggering is that God knows each of us by name, and loves us in spite of our worst attributes. A church was in the midst of a two-week revival. The town clown decided to liven things up a bit, so he got a devil costume from the local party store and waited until the night service was heating up. About the time the choir sang their third anthem, and all the brothers and sisters were on their feet waving arms and in the spirit, the ¡§devil¡¨ burst through the doors and growled, I’m hungry as a lion in a Roman Coliseum!

Well, people scattered like gazelle being chased by lion; some went through the front and side doors, others leaped through the open windows. The preacher fainted dead away behind the pulpit, and the lead singer in the choir found a new way to access the steeple up through the baptistry. All you could see, everywhere you looked, was nothing but heels and elbows¡Kexcept for dear Mrs. Bertha Peabody, sitting stone cold still in the second pew from the front, a place she had occupied every time the church doors were open!

The town-clown devil moved menacingly toward Mrs. Bertha. As he got within a step or two, Bertha stood up ram-rod straight, pointed her index finger at the devilish face with horns and said, NOW you hold on, Mr. Devil. I want you to know my name is Bertha Peabody, and I’m a charter member of this here church; I’m president of the women’s auxiliary missionary society; I been a usher, a deaconess, lay preacher ans a Annual Conference-certified Sunday School teacher for over 45 years. I tithe, sing solos, sweep up the sidewalks and go out on visitation three times a week, and been bakin’ pies for the church auction for longer’n anyone around these parts; but there’s one thing you jus’ got to know before you take another step towards me; I been on yo’ side all the time!

It seems there are times (perhaps not as ridiculous as Bertha’s example, but times, nevertheless), when life plays havoc with the faith we’re supposed to exhibit in worshiping and serving this Sovereign with the majestic name, in whom we profess faith and to Whom we claim allegiance. The question becomes: WHAT KIND OF LIFE DOES HONOR THE MAJESTIC GOD WE WOULD SERVE?

For a child of God, and particularly for Wesleyan children of the faith, the answer is never very far from our hymnal. The Baptismal Covenant[1] contains questions that are asked and answered as we make our profession of faith; these are vows by which we enter the church family. These questions (and our answers) frame for us the kind of life which honors the Sovereign with the majestic name.

When a person becomes a member of The United Methodist Church we are asked to respond to seven basic, fundamental questions of the Christian faith. These are not questions for which you need a PhD to respond intelligently. They are simple, straightforward questions of faith; they ask if you have intention to fulfill vows of service to God and to fellow human beings. They are questions of relationship to the God of the majestic name, and questions of relationship to our neighbor. As Jesus said, these are the two important issues of being right with God¡Kloving Him with all your heart, soul mind and strength, and loving your neighbor as yourself. [2]

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