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SERMON March 1, 2009 (Pastor Lise Sparrow)

 We had been to three beaches already during the week and there we were again facing turquoise waters shaded by palm trees and soothed by the warmth of the equatorial sun.  I thought I had the beach idea down.

 

Then the boat came for my little group of divers and we set out for snorkeling.  I hadn’t practiced yet with the mask—the not breathing through the nose part, the relax and breathe through the tube part-the face in the water kick your feet only part so it took me a while and then-breathing kicking I put my face in the water and there was as the song says—a hole new world. I could see to the bottom of the ocean,   a squid with its bulging eyes, a school of pink and green fish, little striped fish and wiggly fingers of fish—all of which had been there all the time-- right there when had thought sun and sky and water was enough.

 

It is so easy when one travels to see God in new ways.  One sees new sights, hears new sounds, tastes new foods and feels emotions—high and lows—which seem sometimes un recognizable.  Even within us we have voices and talents,  ways of being and doing which are yet unseen and unknown to us…. Which appear when we go adventuring.

 

The force of the Holy Spirit is a breeze which soothes but one which also beats against our backs pushing us forward into the unknown.   Our lives if we allow them can be holy adventures --unfolding before us ever and always in new ways.

 

Lent is the time we celebrate this force of nature that pushes sap from the roots of trees up the fine veins of the tree trunk into the farthest reaches of the branches.   It is the time we celebrate the 40 days it takes new life to push beyond the seed into the earth and finally into the light of day. It is the time which unfolds the new tendril of life straight into the air unfolding leaf after leaf and bud after bud into bloom after bloom in every color of green and every color of the palette.

 

But that seed cannot do the work of bursting forth without the blessing of water and warmth.  Neither can we start fresh again living lives of  goodness unless we too are washed clean from time to time,  given fresh canvases to work with--- unless we are reminded we are good ,we are God’s children and we have new work to do.

 

In St Croix our group of 26 disciples were washed fresh in the warm waters of the Caribbean—turquoise waters warming us and washing our cares away and last Sunday we were washed clean as well in the sacrament of holy communion as we worshipped with Cruxians and tourists ---all celebrating with even more than the music we offer today.

 

We worshipped in the center of Christiansted with cars honking, roosters crowing and wind blowing outside the doors. A mother hen and her chicks roosted just outside on the steps.  Palm trees leaned into the wind and with the chants of the music and the pastor had to bellow his words to be heard amidst the city noise. 

 

Daniel Fooks gave us the now famous quote it was a service  different than ours in that rather than folks asking the question “Do we believe in God?” their every word and suggestion proclaimed “We DO believe in God!”

 

In today’s scripture we hear about Gods’ covenant with Noah established between God and all flesh that is on the earth."  We hear about God’s call within that covenant for a call to good conscience and we hear in the gospel about Christ’s own battle with his conscience even after knowing he was beloved by God.

 

In St Croix most of us slept on concrete floors and were bitten by bugs and burned by the sun just as Christ might have been during those forty days but those small burdens were made light by the company we kept.

 

Most apparent in all of the journey was the divine blessings we were constantly being given and the rewarding work we had to do. Working together, we scraped and peeled paint, repaired and repainted tables and fences and built the church and the Boys and Girls Club there anew so they could do their work in new ways.

 

But more importantly we built new friendships and concern for one another, new ways of seeing and being with one another. We searched our consciences for ways we and our ancestors had harmed others in the past and searched for ways to mend and heal those injuries and we realized how much there is left to do.

 

God is bigger now than ever before.  The waters of the tropics and the winds of the Holy Spirit still breathe through us all and we carry them to you today…hoping you will join with us in this Holy Adventure of opening anew and afresh to God  of knowing you are beloved and an important part of the Body of Christ Giving the gift of love to the world.  Amen

 

Let us pray.

 

Breathe through us God

Live through us God

Give though us God

Work through us God

That all may know your love and all may know your glory.

 

Now and forever.  Amen

 

 

 

 
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