7:00 Vespers Sermon
How do you imagine God to be? What do you see when you pray? We all have different images of God we see in prayer, which are especially meaningful to us. I used to live in the
Perhaps when you’re lonely or fearful, it is God almighty, the creator God who is your comfort, your protector. Our hymns and songs are full of pictures of God. God walks and talks with us IN THE GARDEN or maybe you see
Is it maybe the all seeing, all knowing God you most closely identify with? In preparation for this service tonight, I heard for the very first time the words of “Hymn of Promise” which we will be singing later. Do you have an appreciation for the paradoxes this hymn speaks of? There are some things that only God can know; only God can do.
The scriptures portray God in many ways, one of which is a gardener. Did you know that God likes to garden too? Through the prophet Ezekiel God speaks:
Thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of a cedar; I will set it out. I will break off a tender one from the topmost of its young twigs; I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. 23 On the mountain height of
To do justice to our text, we need to learn a bit about its biblical and historical context. Ezekiel was written while the people of
Did you hear all the pronouns in this passage? I is used 5 times. Twice it’s coupled with the word myself for emphasis. So what is God, the I doing? Listen to the verbs: breaks off, plants, brings low, makes high, dries up, makes. God is not distant, but involved and busy in God’s garden. God is getting down and dirty in it. Why does God go to all this effort? It’s so the trees will produce boughs, fruit, and shade. The ultimate aim however, is so all the trees will know God is the Lord.
So what does all this talk of planting, gardening, and trees mean? This was a symbolic message of hope and restoration for the people of
We are not trees, however. The trees are symbolic of nations, of people. It’s like a parable. When a tree is planted, does it argue with the gardener saying it doesn’t want to go there, but here? When it is fertilized, does it complain that the fertilizer is smelly? How about when it’s pruned? Does a tree whine saying, “Be careful! That hurts!?” God’s gardening in us may be hard and painful at times so we can be more like
But it seems so impossible, so unattainable. That’s the good news. We are incapable of doing this. We are nowhere near perfect, so much so that