mini mini sermon for midweek outdoor worship

on Deuteronomy 26:1-11

This feels like endings. August already. The last of these great gatherings. Extra middle schoolers with us, leading to thoughts of the end of summer break. Disgusting! It’s like the good stuff is done and gone.

20180807_210834_resizedBut I have my huaraches on my feet tonight, a souvenir taking me back to a marketplace in a lake village of Guatemala, even as these shoes walk me ahead into the rest of regular life, a symbol of godly journeys changing us in ways that continue forward even when the trip is over and vacation is past.

Remember that for all the vibrancy and spiritual experience of the Exodus story, the whole point and goal was the ending, the arrival, the Promised Land. Home. Much more than Exodus (a road out), it’s about Eisodus—a road in.

God prepares and travels with us and opens our eyes to new sights and reorients, all for the point of getting home. God isn’t with you only in impressive vistas or excitements of exploring. And back to life is never just routine, but with vibrant stories to tell, with souvenirs from travels, and the best offering gift as the fruits of your life, still yourself but living in a changed renewed way, “and grace lead you home.”


mini mini sermon for midweek outdoor worship

Summer is traveling time, especially it seems at the MCC. Even if you’re not going far yourself, you’re still part of Boundary Waters and Guatemala and such.

When I’m getting ready for trips (or getting ready with sermon words), I take satisfaction in minimizing, compressing and packing into as little space as possible. That often means I have less than I’d want. I play a little game of seeing how far away from home I can get before realizing what I’ve forgotten.

For the canoe trip, I’ve kept a list year by year, of what I brought and of what I didn’t use. That’s seriously organized for me, since I usually just grab stuff on the last evening.

Such behavior can make me wonder if I forget to make space to pack God, if my readiness for a journey doesn’t include the garments of my faith, if I depart stripped of this identity.

So the comprehensive list in Exodus reminds us how we can be intentional in awareness of God traveling with us. And probably even when we’re unaware or poorly prepared, God’s still there.


(from Exodus 25, NLT, adapted)

The LORD said to Moses: “Tell the Israelites to make an Ark of acacia wood—a sacred chest 4 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 2 feet high. Cover it inside and outside with pure gold. Cast four rings of gold for it, and attach them to its four feet, two rings on each side. Make poles from acacia wood, and cover them with gold. These carrying poles must never be taken from the rings; they are to be left there permanently. When the Ark is finished, place inside it the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, which I will give to you.

“Then make the Ark’s cover out of pure gold. It must be 4 feet long and 2 feet wide. Then make two angels, and place them at the two ends of the cover. The angels will face each other, looking down on the atonement cover with their wings spread out above it. I will meet with you there and talk to you from above the cover between the gold angels that hover over the Ark of the Covenant. From there I will give you my commands for the people of Israel.”