Going Rogue Matthew 15: 10-28 8.20.2017
As most of you know, tomorrow parts of our country will be able to see a total solar eclipse. The rest of us will only be able to see a partial eclipse, but impressive just the same.
These are some of the facts as we know them:
- The total solar eclipse will be visible in its entirety within a small band across the United States.
- It will only be visible in most states & other countries as a partial eclipse.
- The eclipse begins in Lincoln City, Oregon, at 8:46 a.m. PDT and ends in South Carolina at 5:04 p.m. EDT.
- In Redmond the eclipse starts at 9:08 a.m.; goes for 2 ½ hours; with the best time being 10:21a.m. I don’t know the Seattle timeline.
And of course making a buck is at the core of the American experience, is it not? No surprise then that a trinket industry, fueled by hungry entrepreneurs, is springing up faster than weeds in our gardens & lawns. In Lincoln City, for example, hotel rooms are sold out as in other places too and have been for some time. Some rooms are going for $1,250/night.
You can buy eclipse-themed T-shirts, coffee mugs, buttons and more. Restaurants and cafes will offer specially-named items on the menu. The eclipse is big business.
What is an eclipse?
Quite simple, really: An eclipse occurs when the moon passes itself in front of the sun, that is, between the sun and the earth, blocking its light. A moon is not supposed to do that. And, truth is, the moon doesn’t do this very often. The last time the moon positioned itself in front of the sun all the way across the United States was June 8, 1918, almost 100 years ago.
During an eclipse what you have is a situation in which, basically: The moon is photobombing the sun’s selfie. The moon is upstaging the diva – namely the sun. In crasser terms, the moon is mooning the sun. We can say for a few hours, the moon is going rogue.
Going rogue: Is when someone, and in this case something, acts independently and wayward from the usual way of doing things; generally acting in an outrageous or abnormal manner.
The gospel story today features a woman – a Canaanite woman – who persists in asking Jesus for a healing for her daughter. According to the thought at the time of Jesus:
- This woman was a foreigner
- An outsider
- One who did not belong.
- Talking to a Jewish male was not allowed.
- Not only was she talking to a Jewish male, but she was also challenging Jesus’ assumptions.
- All of her behavior in this story could have led her to being stoned to death.
This woman was moving beyond the norm. She was going rogue.
Later, we can say that Jesus goes rogue by healing the daughter of this woman. This is something he was not supposed to do according to the law even though this is not his first healing.
In the eclipse tomorrow, we have a super reminder of our role as followers of Jesus. If this role is not clear to you, here it is in simple terms: Jesus is the Son. We are not. We are moons. We are to reflect the Light of God. We should not step in front of the Son and block the light – ever.
Jesus used many metaphors to describe himself and his ministry. He said:
- “I am the Bread of Life,”
- “I am the Living Water.”
- “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
- “I am the Good Shepherd.”
But Jesus also said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). The light of Jesus will shine, unless we block it.
Question is: How do we sometimes block the light? Answer: By not reflecting the Light of God by our words or deeds.
Let me say again, our role? Reflect the Light of God.
Our role? To be moons … without going rogue (because this is what we are supposed to be doing) without EVER blocking the true light; to be reflective surfaces that bounce the light of God into the dark corners of the world, especially our particular corner of the world.
The moon then, in a sense, is also like a mirror when it comes to reflecting light. We are also like mirrors, reflecting the light of the Son of God – Jesus.
- Good mirrors reflect light without distorting the light.
Think of the Fun House in a carnival, that place with all the goofy mirrors that make you look tall or short, thin or wide.
As faithful followers of Jesus we do not distort the light by making it into something it is not.
We don’t distort just to fit our beliefs or our situation. There’s no bait and switch here. We do not make promises about health or wealth. We only promise a cross … and a crown.
Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify God in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
- Mirrors, functioning improperly, can be dangerous.
This occurs when we misuse the light of Jesus, twist his words and ignore the totality of Scripture. When we do this, our prejudices, our actions & words usually cause injury.
Here’s an example of a mirror becoming a “dangerous.” Remember the story I told in a previous sermon about how in London, a new building with a glass exterior was built with a concave shape that led the locals to nickname it the “Walkie Talkie” (because its shape is similar to old walkie-talkies).
One person made the mistake of parking his black Jaguar XJ near the building one day and came back to notice that the exterior of the car had melted. Seems that the “Walkie Talkie” was actually more like the laser dish concentrating the sun’s rays on a particular spot on the pavement that made the car, and later a paneled van, look like some ants fried with a magnifying glass.
A local barbershop reported that its carpet was set on fire by the building’s death ray, and the owner of a neighboring restaurant demonstrated what the 196.3-degree beam of light can do by frying an egg on the front steps of his establishment.
Apparently, nobody had bothered to think about what effect sticking a giant concave mirror in the middle of London might have on the buildings, vehicles, and people around that area.
- Mirrors do not block the light, they are to reflect it.
In another story I told about Robert Fulghum, who in his book It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It, talks about Alexander Papaderos, a teacher of Greek culture, politician, doctor of philosophy and a remarkably complete human being.
On the island of Crete, next to the mass graves of Germans and Cretans who fought each other so bitterly in World War II, Papaderos has founded an institute for peace which has become the source of bridge-building between the two countries.
What kind of vision motivates a man like Papaderos to transcend the focus on the individual self and dedicate his life to compassion and peace? He tells the story, “When I was a small child, during the war we were poor and lived in a remote village. One day, on the road, I found the broken pieces of a mirror. A German motorcycle had been wrecked in that place. I kept one, the largest piece.”
“By scratching the mirror on a stone, I made it round. I began to play with it as a toy and became fascinated by the fact that I could reflect light into dark places where the sun would never shine — in deep holes and crevices and dark closets. It became a game for me to get light into the most inaccessible places I could find.”
“I kept the little mirror, and as I went about my growing up, I would take it out in idle moments and continue the challenge of the game. As I became older, I grew to understand that this was a metaphor for what I might do with my life. I came to understand that I am not the light or the source of light. But light, truth, understanding, knowledge — is there, and it will shine in many dark places only if I reflect it.”
People of God we are to be a fragment of a mirror whose whole design and shape I do not know.
Nevertheless, with what we have, we can reflect light into the dark places of the world and change some things in some people. Perhaps others may see and do likewise.
Go rogue if it means doing something different than what you usually would do in response to hatred, bigotry, and discrimination.
Be a moon. Be a mirror. Reflect God’s Light.
- Reflect God’s Light of Salvation;
- Reflect God’s Light of Liberty;
- Reflect God’s Light of Hope;
- Reflect God’s Light of Justice;
- Reflect God’s Light of Forgiveness;
- Reflect God’s Light of Peace:
- Reflect God’s Light of Love.
This is light that we do NOT want to block as the moon will do to the sun tomorrow!
In this time of our country’s history, as Christians, we cannot let our light be blocked by anyone or any circumstance. Some of us may have to go rogue.
“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify God in heaven” “Holy Baptism”, Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW p. 231)
Here’s the audio recording of the sermon. TO LISTEN, in the SoundCloud window below, CLICK (or double-Click) the red button with the white arrow pointing to the right. If that does not work, then click on the “Sermon 8-20-17” name of the sermon.