Free & Fit – MLK Reflection - Sunday Sermon – Westwood United Methodist Church
Free & Fit NYC – MLK Reflection - Sunday Sermon – Westwood United Methodist Church
Psalm 40 The Message (MSG)
A David Psalm
40 1-3 I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally he listened. He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud. He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn’t slip. He taught me how to sing the latest God-song, a praise-song to our God. More and more people are seeing this: they enter the mystery, abandoning themselves to God.
4-5 Blessed are you who give yourselves over to God, turn your backs on the world’s “sure thing,” ignore what the world worships; The world’s a huge stockpile of God-wonders and God-thoughts. Nothing and no one comes close to you! I start talking about you, telling what I know, and quickly run out of words. Neither numbers nor words account for you.
6 Doing something for you, bringing something to you— that’s not what you’re after. Being religious, acting pious— that’s not what you’re asking for. You’ve opened my ears so I can listen.
7-8 So I answered, “I’m coming. I read in your letter what you wrote about me, And I’m coming to the party you’re throwing for me.” That’s when God’s Word entered my life, became part of my very being.
9-10 I’ve preached you to the whole congregation, I’ve kept back nothing, God—you know that. I didn’t keep the news of your ways a secret, didn’t keep it to myself. I told it all, how dependable you are, how thorough. I didn’t hold back pieces of love and truth For myself alone. I told it all, let the congregation know the whole story.
11-12 Now God, don’t hold out on me, don’t hold back your passion. Your love and truth are all that keeps me together. When troubles ganged up on me, a mob of sins past counting, I was so swamped by guilt I couldn’t see my way clear. More guilt in my heart than hair on my head, so heavy the guilt that my heart gave out.
13-15 Soften up, God, and intervene; hurry and get me some help, So those who are trying to kidnap my soul will be embarrassed and lose face, So anyone who gets a kick out of making me miserable will be heckled and disgraced, So those who pray for my ruin will be booed and jeered without mercy.
16-17 But all who are hunting for you— oh, let them sing and be happy. Let those who know what you’re all about tell the world you’re great and not quitting. And me? I’m a mess. I’m nothing and have nothing: make something of me. You can do it; you’ve got what it takes— but God, don’t put it off.
Father forgive me for I have sinned against you in thought, word and deed, by what I have done and left undone. Said and left unsaid. Remind me of who you are Lord, restore me in who you are Lord and redeem me because of who you are Lord. Todays message is entitled “forgive me” we will be looking at Psalm 40 and reciting this specific prayer three times with scripture, reflections and prayers to close.
In the Passion Translation, from today’s reading in Psalm 40, in verse one the Psalmist tells me exactly what I want to hear….” I waited and waited and waited some more” …. Hold the phone…. that’s me. Is that you? Are you patiently waiting? Asking God to answer your questions?
Father we gather with you here today where the unpredictable happens, where our prayers seem to linger without answers and our cries to you seem to drift into the distance. Where my terribly inconsistent football team turn into a dream team and win 1-0 at home? Surely that’s an answer to prayer Tim I hear you say. Its TRUE! My team, Queens Park Rangers of the Soccer Championship in my beloved England town recorded only their third shut out of twenty-eight attempts and having conceded fifty one goals. It makes no sense. Especially when they score forty-six for the season. Why O lord yesterday? Why yesterday when on so many other occasions they have collapsed in the last minute and lost?
For example, the last four or five times when Liza and I have gone to see them play in person. Why do unpredictable things happen? Why did Harry and Megan leave the Royal Family Lord? And why did we get a 68-degree temperate Saturday followed by a week later with a Saturday with minus Celsius and Snow? Why Lord? The Psalmist from today’s reading feels my pain, he’s on my side and I am certain we would get along. Yet he is trusting in Gods unfailing love, rejoicing in his salvation Jesus Christ and Knowing God would come through! The Psalmist cries out in joy….” Then, at last, he bent down and listened to my cry!” It reminds me of getting good grades from my assignments after waiting four weeks since the end of term and having all sorts of anxiety about how well I was doing at school. Yet God is faithful, God is able, and God is a present help in times of trouble.
Forgive me Father for I have sinned against you in thought, word and deed, by what I have done and left undone. Said and left unsaid. Remind me of who you are Lord, restore me in who you are Lord and redeem me because of who you are Lord. When considering the life and story of Martin Luther King Junior I wanted to get an honest reflection about who he was, what he stood for and how people today perceive his life. It’s a tough question to ask anyone. Let alone the man himself. Two years after his popular speech where he is infamously quoted as saying “I have a dream.” Comes another speech, a sermon in fact, where he questions his own vision, his own ideology and his own version of what this dream meant.