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We are a Jesus-focused, inclusive community of faith that strives to live as Jesus lived in real, everyday ways. Come Thrive Go. Salt House is a Church on Seattle's Eastside located in Kirkland, Washington. 

Location: 11920 NE 80th Street, Kirkland, WA 98033.




Jason Bendickson

February 21, 2016 / SHOW UP / Sara Wolbrecht / Psalm 27

Friends, it is the second Sunday of Lent.  Lent is the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter. Lent comes to reawaken us.  To reawaken us to God, to life, to what matters.  A time of diving into darkness and letting the light shine.

And the particular way in which we are reawakening this Lent is through Ed’s Story.  A video each week that walks us through the final years of Ed’s life.  Ed was a pastor for years.  Then diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease.  He was told he would have 2-3 years to live, yet we enter his story at year 10 – as he reflects on what has happened over those 10 years so far – how he has been reawakened to live a life in light of knowing that he is dying.  And then for us, to be inspired by, challenged into the tender pain and beauty of his journey, as we embrace our own life in light of our own dying, and as we are embraced by the love of God, and invited to wring the most out of our limited time here on earth in the best possible ways.  Now that’s Lent.

So to get us where we’re headed today, first, let’s take a moment to think of a hard time we have faced. A wilderness time – it’s what we talked about last week – how to live faithfully in the hard times and Ed’s Story and our look at scripture revealed how Jesus invites us to not worry about tomorrow, to be grounded in who God is and to come back to scripture. Which I know I needed to hear: Any other worriers, like me, here today?  Yeah.  Good stuff last week.

So think of a time (in the wilderness), and the question to get us headed where we’re headed today is this: What is something that got you through that hard time? Something specific. Think of a particular day, moment.

Can we shout out a few of those things that got us through?...

Notice with me, that the things that carry us through hard times are usually not THINGS, but actually are people.  Right?  The friend who brought us the soup, or the chocolate or the wine.  The prayers that others held for us.  The family members who took care of the things that needed to be done – whether that was doing dishes or running to the store or sitting with us when we needed it.  The phone call, email, text message that comes right when we need it.

In the wilderness times we so desperately hunger to hear from God – for answers, for comfort, for relief, for care.  And here’s the reality of how it then plays out: We experience the love, care, healing, of God in the lived-out physical presence of other people.  That is God.  God shows up in our lives embodied in actual people.  Jesus became flesh, and the love of God continues to be enfleshed in the willingness of folks like you and me who say yes to being the love of God for those who need it. That is how God takes care of us, and shows up in our lives. 

And so tonight, we put ourselves on the other side of this reality.  That we become the people who show up in the pain and wilderness times of others.  That God uses us to be that care.  …But: Does anyone else find it hard to step into the pain of someone else?  Yeah, let’s be honest.  What do we do?  What do we say?  What if we can’t fix it – because we can pretty much never fix someone else’s pain.  We feel powerless.  Which makes it so hard.  Perhaps even harder than our own pain and suffering is when those we love suffer.  Am I right?  What we would do to take that pain away from them. Right?

The Book of Psalms, in many ways, is the richest book of the Bible.  It is 150 songs, songs that capture the full gamut of human emotion and experience.  Songs that were sung and communally by those who lived the life of God.  They are raw and real, they are unfiltered conversation with God.  Words of pain, praise, fear, doubt, suffering, longing, hope, joy, anger, hopelessness, lament. Psalm 27 is one of those places where there is honest crying out to God – it is a psalm of lament, and yet also a psalm of faith, of naming God’s faithfulness.  And it is Psalm read by churches around the world for this, the second Sunday of Lent.   

We will read this together, trying on the words together, and as we do, let these words, these cries remind you of the times when you have cried out like this – or wanted to.  Let them remind you too, of those in your life who may now be crying out, like this:

 Psalm 27: 1-6, 13-14

The Lord is my light and my salvation—

    whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life—

    of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked advance against me

    to devour me,

it is my enemies and my foes

    who will stumble and fall.

Though an army besiege me,

    my heart will not fear;

though war break out against me,

    even then I will be confident. 

One thing I ask from the Lord,

    this only do I seek:

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

    all the days of my life,

to gaze on the beauty of the Lord

    and to seek him in his temple.

For in the day of trouble

    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;

he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent

    and set me high upon a rock.

Then my head will be exalted

    above the enemies who surround me;

at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;

    I will sing and make music to the Lord.

I remain confident of this:

    I will see the goodness of the Lord

    in the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord;

    be strong and take heart

    and wait for the Lord.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.  Together, we wait for the Lord, we open ourselves up to listen to our own stories as we hear Ed’s Story again tonight, in his third video: BE THERE.

(we don't have permission to post these videos publicly).

 Song of Response: Abide With Me

 Friends, Ed closes with this: “In the providence of God our paths cross and I think they cross so we can mutually encourage each other.  In retrospect, the random meeting of JJ was a reminder that God was with me even on the worst of days.”

When we show up – we actually become the ones who experience God showing up with us, too.  Beautiful.  As we come to Jesus’ table, we ask a question that I invite us all to hold and respond tonight: Who do I know who faces a hard time in my life now? Maybe it is someone really close to us, or maybe it’s someone whose path we are crossing that we don’t know that well.  (Same slide) Who is crossing my path?

Let’s hold and ask these sacred questions, as we come to the table and pray… 

Each week we make room to respond communally to what we’ve experienced.  And tonight, you are invited to respond in a few ways.

First, you are invited to name one person (or more) that you sense God inviting you to show up with

I know, I know that showing up is hard, vulnerable work when we don’t know what to do or say.  So I suggest that as we do the courageous work to make the intention to show up with someone in our life, that we truly, truly heed Ed’s brilliant words:

To show and shut up. 

We say yes to God, knowing that the words of our Psalm are true – when the psalmist says:
The Lord is my light and my salvation—

    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?

God is the source that we tap into when we show up – and so we shut up and let God do what God wants to do.

So you’re invited to name that one person that you commit to show up for.  And to write their name on a piece of paper, and to put it on either our Grief or Gratitude wall – for they are both – a great source of gratitude for us, and yet also we cry out in prayer for them.

Second, you are invited to make a scripture card for them – something we started last week.  To write out a verse to give them so that they may have something to put on their bathroom mirror or in a place that can encourage them.  A practical way to have something to show up in their life with.

And third, you are invited to light a candle – to name the light of Christ that is with you and that person for whom you pray.

And when you are ready – I will be here.  At Jesus’ table.  With bread and a cup that speak to us of life poured out in love for you, for me, for all people.