Let us pray:
Lord God, we pray that you would bless our hearts and ears today. Open them, that we may hear your words today, and not only hear them but understand them, truly and well. And so I ask too that you would bless my words, that they too may be true, and that together we can find your truth and live by it. May we hold on tight to the truth you show us today, O Lord. In Your Son’s name we pray, Amen.
“Lead Me and Teach Me”
It’s great to be here this morning. It’s so wonderful to see everyone, especially with the time change, and it’s thrilling to be here at last, preaching and pastoring and leading worship. As you probably know, it was a long, looong road to get here, and I’m so excited to finally be here.
I’ve found that I don’t know where to start, in so many ways. I sat in front of my computer for a few hours, unsure of how to start this sermon. This week I spent a lot of/some time in the office here, and I’ll admit that some of that time was just spent trying to make it all seem real. It still doesn’t quite, yet.
It’s been a lot of change, these past few weeks. By this weekend I found myself reeling from it all, from going home and sorting through my childhood possessions, to saying goodbye to all of my part-time jobs and starting here and at Chartiers Valley, to even just learning the best ways to drive to here and around here and where everything is in both of my offices.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s the best kind of change, the kind where I keep finding myself tearing up at how good it is and how wonderful God is and how happy I am to be in this place. But still, change is change. Change is difficult and hard, no matter what kind of change it is.
All week I’ve found myself drawn to our psalm for today. I couldn’t really put my finger on it, but I just found it so comforting, so full of faith and hope and joy. It’s an earnest prayer for God to teach and lead the psalmist.
He pleads to know God’s way, asks that God would show him and lead him down these ways. God “instructs sinners” and “leads the humble,” and the psalmist prays that God would “teach [him] [God’s] paths” and “lead [him] in [God’s] truth.”
The psalmist is open to God’s guidance, to the changes God will bring. I admit, sometimes I try to close myself off to change, too full of fears and possibilities and what-ifs to see God’s path and God’s call to change. But here the psalmist prays for that change, prays for himself to be changed and led and blessed.
For he declares his trust in God often; he says, “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul,” and then “for you I will wait all day long.” But it is no hollow trust, for the psalmist repeats why he trusts God: God is “the God of my salvation,” who is “good and upright” and full of “steadfast love.”
Let that sink in.
God is the God of our salvation.
God is good and upright, full of steadfast love.
When we sit with these truths, let them sink in, cling to them when we are full of confusion or surrounded by pain or reminded of grace, then we can look at our fears and worries and pain and joys. We can see them, and instead of being sucked in we can be reminded of God’s presence in our lives, calling us and teaching us, leading us and saving us. When we see things through those eyes, some things become more important, some become less as we see God’s path and remember who God is. God as savior, God as love, God as guide–yes, I just listed the Trinity in the wrong order, sorry–I sat with these titles for a while, trying to put into words what is so comforting about them, and–I think it takes away the urgency of so much, for God is the one who saves, God is the one who guides–I don’t have to choose my own path, I don’t have to struggle on my own, and I certainly don’t have to try to be better on my own.
I don’t have to listen to my fear telling me every tiny thing that could go wrong, or even my joy that’s telling me nothing will go wrong ever again, because God’s voice is pure and vibrant and insistent, if we take the time and the space to listen.
God is our creator and the ruler of the universe, Jesus Christ is our savior, who set us free, and the Spirit is our guide and counsellor–forever and ever. When we remember that–when we remember who God is, hold on to it and repeat it like the psalmist does–we can see God how right Paul was, how “it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” God is at work in us, for that is who God is–infinitely caring and loving, infinitely concerned with us and ever-patient in shaping us into people who channel God’s love. Even when everything is changing around us, even when life seems overwhelming or too, too painful, God is there, guiding us and shaping us, leading us and loving us.
Hang on to that when all else fails, for God is good, and God is faithful.
Hallelujah, and Amen.