“ANNOUNCE” – The Word for Ash Wednesday, 2/18/15

I have a piece of information, which you don’t have.  Or, I don’t think, or am not sure, that you have it.

I think you should have this piece of information.  In fact, I want to be sure that you do have it.  So, I’m going to share it with you.

It probably falls into either or both of two categories.  Hopefully, it really is important enough that I truly want you to know about it.  Possibly, I simply don’t want you to say you didn’t know about it because I didn’t let you know about it.

So, I’m going to “ANNOUNCE” it.

I’ll write it out for you and give it to you, so you can see and read it.  Please do see and read it.

I’ll speak it to you, so you can hear it.  Please do listen carefully so you can hear it.

I really want you to have this piece of information.

However, once I write it out for you and give it to you, and, once I speak it to you, it’s up to you to do whatever with it.  The ball is in your court.

Should it “grab you” or “float your boat,” take it and run with it, or, to un-mix the metaphor, go or set sail with it.

Should you run too fast, out of control, or into something (or someone), it’s not my problem.

Should you get lost while sailing, be dead in the water without wind for days on end, or sail off into the sunset, never to be seen nor heard from again,  I’m not responsible.

Should it take you where you don’t want to go, well, you know the routine by now.

I was simply the “ANNOUNCE(ER”)– or messenger.  Please neither shoot me, nor even think of trying to hold me accountable.

Now, should something good come of your running, sailing, or going with it, remember, you did hear it from me first.  A little, or a lot, of credit, would be nice.

Oh, If the piece of information I “ANNOUNCE(D)” neither grab you nor float your boat, it MAY be okay for you to do absolutely nothing with or about it.

On the other hand, your doing nothing with or about it MAY show that you’re irresponsible, unmotivated, or, worst of all,  slothful, as in “full of sloth.”

Seriously, folks, pieces of information “ANNOUNCE(D)” in the Bible by God, or by his prophets, or by Jesus, or by John the Baptist, to name a few, were and are important, to you and to me.

In fact, God, through his prophet Zechariah, speaking to God’s people who were referred to as “prisoners” and “hostages of hope, said to those people, “I ‘ANNOUNCE’ (my emphasis) today that I will restore to you twice as much as what was taken.”  Zechariah 9:11, 12; The Voice Bible

People who are prisoners and/or hostages have had everything taken from them.  God “ANNOUNCE(S)” God will restore to them double everything.  God’s “ANNOUNCE(MENTS) are actually God’s promises.

God’s “ANNOUNCE(MENT)”/promise may very well be “good” for us and others who in any way are “hostages” and “prisoners.”  May it be so.

The Word for Ash Wednesday, 2/18/15 – “ANNOUNCE”

For your information, “ANNOUNCE” appears in the New Living Translation Bible only 23 times.

Read It Here! (Because, You Won’t Hear It Anywhere)

What follows will NOT be heard tomorrow morning at Andover and Troupsburg United Methodist Churches, their worship services having been cancelled due to wind chills in the -25 to -27 range being forecast.

Tomorrow is Transfiguration Sunday.    On two previous Transfiguration Sundays (facing different congregations), I’ve titled the message, “Go Transfigure!”

I suggest you read Mark 9:2-9, on which the message would have been based.

Transfiguration happens to Jesus.  His appearance is transfigured, or completely changed, from how his disciples see him at all other times.  I’ll leave it to you to decide whether you need to completely change, change to a lesser degree, or not change at all (I’d be careful of choosing this last, certainly for myself, and probably for you, too!).

Beyond that, my message would have been greatly shaped by a seminar I attended this week on the topic of worship.  The presenter was Dr. Constance Cherry, professor of worship and pastoral ministry at Indiana Wesleyan University.  My apology to her, should I unintentionally have misunderstood, or misstate below, what I believe I heard her say.

Two of her main premises about worship are that God initiates it, and that it consists of two “r” words – “revelation” and “response” – with revelation necessarily preceding response.

Dr. Cherry believes that in worship, God (the Father, Son, and/or Holy Spirit) reveals something of or about God, to which the worshipper properly responds.  So, worship is comprised of revelation, by God, of God, and response, by the worshipper, to what God has revealed about God.

It’s possible to, in a manner, unpack at least some Bible passages by looking for the same “revelation” by God of God within a passage, and then considering what our proper “response” would be to God, given God’s revelation.

Mark 9:2-9 reveals several things about Jesus.  He is one who walks with his friends, at times leading them, on occasion to places where it seems they would not otherwise go.

Our sensible response?  Walk with him, follow his lead, especially when he wants to take us somewhere we’ve never been.

In the Mark passage, Jesus also reveals himself to be one who transcends time, talking with the long dead Elijah and Moses.  Peter is terrified, possibly both by this, and by the complete change in Jesus’ appearance.  Peter’s response to this revelation by Jesus of Jesus, depending upon the Bible translation, shows either that Peter doesn’t know what he’s talking about, or else doesn’t know what to say.

We can learn at least two things from Peter’s response.

Firstly, while we shouldn’t necessarily be terrified of Jesus, we should respond to him with a proper fear – respect, or honor – for him.

Secondly, Jesus being who he is, able to do what only he can do, and we being who we are, and limited as we are, sometimes our most appropriate response to Jesus is to either say that we don’t know what to say, or to be silent and say nothing at all.

I see in Mark 9:2-9 two more things God and Jesus reveal about themselves, and two appropriate responses by us to their revelations.  I’ll treat each briefly.

God reveals God to be a giver of directions.  God says (to Peter? James? John? Elijah? Moses?) of Jesus, “This is my Son …; listen to him!”  Our response when God speaks direction to us is a “no-brainer” – listen to what God says, and do what God says to do.

And the last revelation, by Jesus about himself, is that he too is a giver of directions, although here he tells Peter, James, and John, what not to do.  He says they are to tell no one about what they had seen on their walk with him.  Our response, when Jesus tells us what not to do, is to listen to what he says, and not do what he tells us not to do.

I won’t close without noting that, unlike in this passage from Mark, the direction Jesus now gives us is the very opposite of that he gave to Peter, James, and John.  Jesus now wants us to tell all other people about him – about what he has revealed of and about himself, to us.

And, you guessed it!  Our proper response to this direction from Jesus is to listen to him, and do that telling.

Go!  Tell!!