Not the God of Chains

photo by Bill Woodruff

photo by Bill Woodruff

for Sunday, October 13, 2013
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
21st Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 23
Year C
lectionary focus: 2 Timothy 2:8-15
note: A key word in this sermon is “chained.” Since I think this word can sound like ‘change,’ I include the definition and examples of ‘chained’ so that the listeners will hear the intended word.

Good morning!

Awhile back, when my friend Zachary was about six years old, he spent a Saturday afternoon with me. One of the things we did was stop by the grocery store. And right there in the middle of the cereal aisle, we found Pastor Sid! Well, Zach just stood there staring with his eyes wide and his mouth open, like this: (do the face). And when Pastor Sid said “Hello,” Zach blurted out, “What are you doing here?” Pastor Sid replied that he was doing his grocery shopping and trying to decide which cereal to buy. Then Zachary said, “You mean, they let you out of the church?”

Yes, it does seem funny…I mean, Zachary always saw Sid at church, and when we know people in one place, it is strange to see them in another place…especially someplace as ordinary as the grocery store. But people are people, no matter what they do, and people go different places.

Most of our Bible stories happen within a small area of the world. And the places where Jesus taught are all in a smaller area. But even there, Jesus did not teach and preach and heal in just one place. Jesus was always moving from one place to another: from the mountain to the river to the sea, from big cities to small villages, from fancy neighborhoods to dangerous neighborhoods. Jesus went to where there were people, all kinds of people, so He could share the love of God with everyone.

In our Bible story today, we hear that God is not chained. God is not locked up in one place with a metal chain…like a bike chained to a post or a dog chained to a fence or a boat chained to a pier. God is not chained here to the chancel steps. Each week, Pastor Sid tells us to go forth into the world with God. We go forth as the hands AND feet of God. We use our hands to do God’s work and we use our feet to walk out of this church and all over the place to share God’s love. This building may be our church, but the world is God’s church…and so it should never be strange to find ourselves sharing God’s love outside these walls. Whether we are learning at school or playing with friends or shopping for cereal, we are with God here, there, and everywhere.

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it back.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You
that You are not chained to one place.
Thank You
that You are everywhere.
Help me
to do Your work
and share Your love
here
there
and everywhere.
Amen

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.

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5 responses to “Not the God of Chains

  1. Fran,

    As I read this, I remembered that in Godly Play we represent the Exile of the People of God in Babylon with a big ol’ length of heavy chain – and the Godly Play story of Jeremiah also has the same length of heavy chain. It is a strong symbol!

    Thanks for what you do! You make us all think – and that’s a great gift.

    Jill

    • Thanks for sharing that. I am not sure what kids think of a chain…is it really a negative image to them? This theme certainly could be expanded and discussed: God is also not a chain weighing us down, but we are forever connected to God by an unbreakable bond. Many thoughts. Peace, Fran

  2. These comments have given me a lot to think about as I tie together our readings from Jeremiah and Luke this week. So wonderful. Thank you!

  3. Eeek, I meant Jeremiah and Timothy!

    • You always have a way with words, my friend. I was stuck giggling that you said ‘tie together’ and it’s a sermon on NOT being able to chain God! There are always connections, but I find myself trying to put It in a box wrapped with a big bow on top. Thank God He is stronger than I am!

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