Monthly Archives: July 2012

THE BEGINNING…OF WHAT? Sermon by Rev. Dr. Gwen Sayler, Professor, Wartburg Seminary

Text: Mark 1:1-5; Isa 52:7-10
Tired, dusty feet honed and callused by desert sand
A voice proclaiming hopeful and yet fearful tidings….Turn, turn your feet and your hearts…get ready for the in-breaking of the reign of God.
More feet–wet feet wading in the Jordan
Voices confessing sins, hearts awaiting the One to baptize in Spirit and in fire.
Fresh feet as yet unmarred by suffering, unblemished feet wading into the Jordan to be baptized by John;
A voice from heaven as the heaven rips: You are my Son, the Beloved; in you I am well-pleased.
Hot, tired feet driven into the wilderness, defiantly standing firm, refusing the temptation to stand down, massaged by the angelic host.
Energized, fleet feet on the move.
The voice of the One whose body those feet anchor speaking into being the in-breaking of God’s reign in word and deed, challenging the power of forces of evil allied against that reign.
Feet that before the story comes full circle will lead a rag tag bunch of followers on a circuitous route through Galilee and down to Jerusalem.
Feet—talented, tired, beautiful, battered, bruised feet nailed to a cross.
The sound of the temple curtain ripping; life-less feet carried down from the cross and buried in a tomb.
And then, silence.
Three days later…..fearful, frazzled feet furtively moving through shadows to the tomb, feet bearing women firmly determined to anoint the dead body one more time.
A voice crying out:
The beginning of the story of Jesus Christ crucified and risen, footloose and fancy free, on the move into all the shadowy desert places where feet are shaky, the wildernesses where fears abound, frustrations frazzle, feet fall down—the broken places of our world, our bodies and our hearts as well.
The risen Christ, footloose and fancy free breaking through the very barriers that hold us back and tie us down and tempt us to stand down.
The risen Christ, footloose and fancy-free with life-giving, death-defying hope, love, and courage for God’s fearful, frazzled people of every time and every place
The beginning of what? The beginning of the new world-changing day to which you and I are invited—no, more that, the new world-changing day to which you and I are called and challenged and sent to participate.
It’s no secret that Mark’s Gospel ends as abruptly as it began.
Our last sight—that of the women running as fast as their fearful feet will take them leaves open the ending of the story because the story has not ended—it lives on in and through you and me and all God’s people of every time and every place.
Beautiful, talented, sometimes tired feet—your feet and mine. …. feet that have borne us through our joys and sorrows, our anxious days and those we have eagerly anticipated. …feet washed in the waters of baptism, bearing you, God’s beloved, talented daughter and son, you in whom God is well-pleased……
…..and yet sometimes, when work pushes us further than we think we can go or uncertainly weighs us down like a menacing cloud hanging over us or when death tries to do its worst, those beloved feet get downright battered and bruised.
But through it all, the voice continues to ring: He is not here….he is risen….go and tell. Jesus the risen Christ, footloose and fancy free on the move for and to and through you and me.
The risen Christ, footloose and fancy free, on the move walking on our sometimes tumultuous roadways with us, massaging our battered feet and bruised spirits, making himself known in bread and wine, fueling our spirits and energizing our tired feet with God’s very own life-giving, life-sustaining power for today and tomorrow and every day ahead.
Jesus the risen Christ, footloose and fancy free, on the move refreshing and renewing, energizing and equipping beautiful, talented, tired feet for the mission to which their bearers are called.
The ancient prophetic oracle, spoken originally to give confidence and courage to exiles whose tired, talented beautiful feet were about to get to go back home says it so well : “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the one who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, who brings good tidings, causing us to hear salvation.”
Jesus Christ, crucified and risen footloose and fancy free, entering into the shadowy places of our lives and our world with light and love and peace…..energizing our feet for the ministries to which we are called…………

What more can we add to that except to thank God for God’s inexpressible Gift. Amen.