October 14, 2018 Sermon

“Covenant and Choices”                                                                                                 Joshua 24:1-26
Rev. Sean Weston
Lyonsville Congregational UCC, Indian Head Park IL
October 14, 2018

They were free. They were finally free.

The last few weeks we have been journeying with God’s people Israel as they were freed from slavery in Egypt, ushered through the Red Sea, and given the Ten Commandments. As the story goes, they spent 40 years in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. Joshua picked up the mantle after Moses died. When the time was right, they came to the Promised Land, the land of milk and honey. That is where we find God’s people in today’s reading from Joshua. God won battle after battle for them against their enemies. God had led them to freedom Now their leader, Joshua, was about to die. Before he did he gave a dramatic speech. He challenged the people to commit 100% to this freedom-bringing God. And they did.

This is the joyful end of the story we’ve been exploring the last few weeks: the Exodus story. The story of God freeing the Hebrew slaves and delivering them to the promised land. This is one of the most important stories in the Bible, especially for those who have been enslaved, oppressed and discriminated against. Continue reading

September 30, 2018 Sermon

“Privilege, Power, Prison”                                                                                Exodus 14 (selections)
Rev. Sean Weston
Lyonsville Congregational UCC, Indian Head Park IL
September 30, 2018

A boy was walking alone with his mom at night, on a narrow sidewalk. Without saying anything, his mom moved him behind her. He didn’t really understand why, but it was mom, surely it was okay. Then again without saying a word, she put him in front of her. What was going on? Then again she moved him – this time putting him on her shoulders. Never once explaining what was going on.

The boy felt confused, powerless, worried. Why was this happening? Was everything okay?

I wonder when you, too, have felt like that boy. Confused – why is this happening to me? Powerless: why don’t I have any control? Does it matter what I want? Worried: “what’s happening?” “am I going to be okay?”

 

If you would, take a moment to think of a time you felt like that boy. I’d encourage you to write it down – there is piece of paper in your bulletin. At this moment in time, what makes you feel confused, powerless, worried, scared? What makes you feel like that boy on the dark road?

 

Now, for another story.

A mom was walking alone with her son at night. She was on the lookout for danger. She sensed that there was a thief ahead, so without saying a word, she moved her son behind her. Then, she sensed a wolf behind them, so she moved her son in front. Then when a thief and a wolf approached at the same time, she put her son on her shoulders to protect him from them both.

 

These two stories, of course, describe the same events. The story is based on an ancient Jewish commentary on today’s story from the Bible.[1] In the Bible story, God’s people feel like that boy: confused, powerless, worried, scared. With the help of some well-timed plagues, Moses had freed them from slavery in Egypt. They were free! Except now Pharaoh’s army was coming after them, and they were stuck at the Red Sea. They started to wonder: what is this Moses up to? It seemed like he knew what he was talking about earlier. But now we’re stuck, and we’re going to die, and there’s nothing we can do about it.
(For his part, I imagine Moses felt the same way about God. “How could you lead me here to leave me here?” Why is this happening? Why can’t I do anything about it? Am I going to be okay?”) Continue reading