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Fail Forward (2): Homeless

. 4 min read

11-12
Mar 2017, Christ Mountain Top, Lent 2
Psalm
121 (call to worship)
John
3.1-17 (kids)
Genesis
12.1-4 (message), with Romans 4.1-5, 13-17
Last
week, first in the “Fail Forward” series: Hungry
      How our hungers are so often
self-destructive, other-
      Expelled from the paradise garden
Hope,
the “forward” dimension, was found in God’s promise
Today’s
theme, Homeless
      Being homeless is, for most of us, a
fearful idea
            Lack the skills and fortitude
      One way to talk about the call of God –
only think of it metaphorically
      But for Abraham and for Jesus, being
homeless was a fact of life
Jesus:
The Son of Man has no place to lay his head
First
disciples: Leave nets & father (Volf, 40)
      (economic security & social security)
Rich
Mullins song lyrics, “You did not have a home”
There
were places you visited frequently,
You
took of your shoes and put up your feet,
But
you knew that the whole world belonged to the meek
So
you did not have a home
      The world can’t stand what it cannot own
      But it can’t own you because you did not
have a home
      Birds have nests, foxes have dens
      But the hope of the world rests on the
shoulders
            Of a homeless man
      You had the shoulders of a homeless man
      No, you did not have a home

Three
aspects of the call to follow in the faith of the homeless Abraham and the
homeless Jesus:
      Point of departure
      Journey
      Destination
Over
and over throughout Scripture, God’s people are called to depart, to leave home
(whatever home is whether literal or metaphorical), and to step out together on
a new adventure with Jesus. That is the action that defines and exemplifies
FAITH.
      You can’t get there, from here, without
leaving here
      “Put down the ducky if you want to play
the saxophone”
            (Sesame Street)
Abraham:
Leave your country, your family, your home
Romans
4:16-20
  those who share the
faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us,  17 as it is written, “I have
made you the father of many nations”)– in the presence of the God in whom
he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things
that do not exist.  18 Hoping
against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many
nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your
descendants be.”  19 He did
not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good
as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the
barrenness of Sarah’s womb.  20
No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in
his faith as he gave glory to God,
Abraham’s
point of departure, “the land of expulsion” (Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace, 38)
      Adam, Eve, Cain, Babel
Only
in the rearview
So
often, we do not realize that our “home” is defined by expulsion, by curse, by
life full of you-know-what. We are comfortable with it. It is familiar. And
giving it up, the radical departure, is terrifying.
Baptismal
vows:
Do
you renounce
the
spiritual forces of wickedness,
reject
the evil powers of this world,
and
repent of your sin?
      I do.
Do
you accept the freedom and power
God
gives you
to
resist evil, injustice, and oppression
in
whatever forms they present themselves?
      I do.
Qualification:
Not lacking direction
      We do not simply wander; we are “Sent” (Jn
3.17)
      Swamp vs stream, Volf 41
      Purpose is a people
            Fellowship of nomads (as Jesus)
      Purpose is blessing for all nations
Leaving
one’s own nation (web of allegiances) is necessary if we are to follow a God
who desires to bless all nations (Volf, 39)
And,
to get from here to there, we have to leave here
      We have to give up the expulsion, curse, …
Jesus,
in John 3, images to talk about this radical departure:
Born
again:
      And the new life promised implies an END
to the old life
      Radical departure – not just leaving the
womb to be born
      Leaving this world/realm/kingdom in order
to enter another
      Stripped of all our stuff in order to
enter new life
Sent:
      John 3:17  send the Son into the world
      John 1.14, “pitched his tent”
      If we are to participate with Jesus in
mission, must be sent
Testimony
of the homeless woman:
      Point of departure
      Journey
      Destination

She
has a testimony, not because she is homeless, but because she let Jesus strip
her of all her junk. She stepped out, leaving the past behind her, making her
way on the journey toward the promise of God.