Living: Deep & Free - Feb. 5, 2023
Pastor Mike (00:02):
Abundant life out of chaos. And so God is not just hovering over your chaos, but actually God knows that God sees that God is in the midst of our chaos.
Hannah Hunter (00:16):
Hey, beautiful people. Welcome back to Sundays with the Gathering. I’m Hannah Hunter, the director of Reach here at The Gathering Place in Palm Beach Gardens. This week, pastor Mike continues walking us through the Genesis account of Creation, day five, diving into the depths of our souls and soaring to the edges of our reality.
Pastor Mike (00:34):
So we’re jumping into now, we’re on the fifth day of creation, right? And we’re in Genesis chapter one versus 20 to 23. Listen to these words. And God said, let the water team with living creatures and let birds fly above the earth, across the vault of the sky. So God created the great creatures of the sea and everything living, every living thing with which the water’s teams, and that moves about in it according to their kinds. And every winged the bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, be fruitful and increase in number and fill the waters in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth. And there was evening and there was mourn. The fifth day when I first started reading this, and, and just doing, going a little, doing a little bit deeper dive.
Um, I started thinking about water and, and also birds. And I, and I will be honest with you that, um, there’s a little sense of fear that comes up to me when I think about water and birds <laugh>. I know it’s ridiculous. But first of all, I want you to know that there’s always like a, a healthy sense of fear because, you know, God put a healthy sense of fear in us to help us to be alert when there’s danger, right? And we have to use some common sense and we have to say, okay, this is not good. And then, and then this might harm me. And, and, and even when you think about the waters, okay? Like sometimes, you know, there is a healthy sense of fear. I mean, the ocean is deep, the ocean is dark. And, and actually, as much as what we know in science, I much of the ocean is largely unknown.
But then there are this, these that unhealthy fears, and I’m gonna talk a little bit about that because the unhealthy fears is what stops us from experiencing the good life that God created. And so for me, with connecting to this, um, when I first started thinking about the waters, and like, you know, one, I mean, fishing with a bunch of guys at, at church, you know, I get seasick, so I have a fear of going out in the deep waters. But, but I remember, like, one of my earliest fears as a little kid was when I watched on tv, the movie Jaws, and, and, and I saw on tv, the movie Jaws that, you know what, it just gave me this fear of, of getting into the water. And I mean, I was even afraid. I remember the first time I was afraid of even like the bath, actually, I was, I was afraid of water.
I was afraid, afraid of jaws. And I have nothing that I experienced, I never was attacked by a shark or anything of that. But because I saw that it created this like unhealthy fear, and it, and, and actually, you know, it took a few days for me to, to settle down. Now, I was probably a little bit older than William, but, but that’s what I experienced. Another experience I had was with birds. And, um, and this is way before I ever saw Alfred Hitchcock’s, uh, bird, um, birds film and all that, but which is a really creepy movie. Um, but anyways, um, I went to Sarasota Jungle Gardens, and I, and I think I was about four years old. And, and, and there’s like this pond, and they have all this like koi fish and everything. And, and all of a sudden there’s this, this big white swan that can’t swimming around.
And it was like, ooh, the swan. And and my mom’s like, remember the ugly duckling and all that stuff. And all of a sudden that swan comes out and it bites me, <laugh>. And, and from that moment on, even to this day, I’m uncomfortable with birds. So don’t ever show me your parakeet or any of that stuff, you know, because that, that’s just not my thing. Um, but if we’re really honest with ourselves, right? I mean, this fear can, can take on a whole new life of itself, right? I mean, if you go back to the fear of water, I mean, there are so many phobias related to water. I mean, and, and I’m just, I’m just gonna tell you some of them. But, um, without going into all the, the fancy words for ’em, cause they’re hard to pronounce. But I mean, there, there are some people that, that have a fear of bathing.
Some people, when, when they say, I’m afraid of water, what they’re really afraid of is waves. Other people are afraid of what’s under the water, right? They’re afraid of the creatures. They’re, they’re afraid of the objects. And then some people are actually afraid of large bodies of water. In fact, I’ve read it, council, where some people would see a picture of the ocean and they’d have a panic attack. So this, this fear stuff is real. And, and I guess the question when I started like, just reflecting on this, is why in the world would a good God create all these scary things, right? I mean, like, like, come on, God. Like, can’t you just like, make ’em all a little nice and muppet like and stuff, you know? But, but no, I mean, there’s just some scary stuff that God created. But let’s go back to the simple meaning of this text part, part of this series is to help us to learn how to read scripture.
You know, the, the basic meaning of this text is that we’re learning how to God create the world, right? But I want you to use some biblical imagination, and I want you to be open to say, Hey, there might be some other ways of seeing this same story. And basically maybe the waters and the birds or these creatures that are in the waters, and the, and, and these birds that we’re hearing about, they’re flying over might symbolize something more. It’s more than just, just a little literal story of how things happen. If you remember the first day of creation, it was chaos. There was darkness. And the Bible talks about like these waters, and it says that the, that it was without form, it was without purpose. And the spirit of God was hovering over that. And then we know that, then the next day, and then God divides the waters, you know?
So God takes that chaos. He says, Hey, I’m gonna, I’m gonna separate that, you know, and we have the sky, the vault across the sky, or the expands, and we have the waters below. And then later on, we see that, you know, not only that God gives us room to breathe, but eventually God separates the waters again. And he, and he creates the sea. And then there’s, there’s land and there’s room to breathe. But then on day five, God creates these creatures that are in the deep and birds in the sky. Now, I wanna give you just a little hint, you know, um, um, about this, um, just to, to kind of hold on to this. But when I started looking at, you know, when we read the Bible, sometimes we’re so familiar with stuff, and it’s like, remember I always told you to kind of like, examine things that are seems outta place.
But sometimes the Bible invites us to examine things that are in place and to look at things that we think we know and look at ’em again. And one of the things that, that I, that I got drawn to as I was looking at this, was the birds. And so just tuck this in the back of your mind, cause it’s gonna make sense a little bit later on. But the, the word for birds is actually koff, which means, um, I mean, first meaning is koff is like a winged, uh, like a, a foul or a bird. But it also means something that has wings. And then koff means on the edge. It means on the edge it means the corner. So just, just keep that in the deep waters. You know what, if we think about the deep waters, I think that’s a reference to our life because, um, we all have some deep waters in our life, you know, and, and, and, and if we’re really honest with ourselves, you know, what we put up on, on the surface, there’s a whole lot going on beneath the surface.
I remember someone used to warn me and said, you better be careful of the quiet ones, because you know, the saying, still waters run deep. You know what I mean? There, there’s a, there’s, there’s a lot going on underneath the surface, especially when the water is quiet. It means that something’s going on really deep going on. And I think sometimes you, and I think that the right way to live is that when we have problems, when we have, you know, dis tension or disruptions, that we just wanna bury it as deep as possible, set the water on top is just nice and cool and calm, and nothing is going on. Because if we’re really honest, we don’t like to talk about what is in those deep waters. Um, you know, Pete Cero and, and emotionally healthy discipleship, you know, those courses that we’ve been promoting and lifting up for, you can experience jeep change in your life.
He always encourages us. He says, you know what, you have to go, um, you know, below the iceberg, you know, because, um, you, you have to see what’s beneath. Cuz iceberg is only the top. And I guess the question that I need you to ask yourself to enter into this message and allow God to, to do some movement in your life as this, what are you concealing right now in the deep waters of your soul? Now this is, this is the hard stuff that we don’t like to talk about. You know, that, that only, that maybe we’ll talk about with a few close people that we can really, really trust or, or maybe we don’t talk about it at all. But what are you trying to cover up and, and keep just under the surface that you don’t want anybody to know? Maybe some of us have experienced some real personal pain and trauma. Maybe you had something that that happened to you that should have never have happened to you and you’re hurting and you don’t ever want to talk about it. Maybe some of us had some things that should have happened. You’ve been neglected and you’re hurting.
How many of us have some family secrets that we don’t like to talk about? Things going on that, that, you know, we just like, Hey, we know that’s in our family, but we just don’t talk about those things in this house. How many of us have some real fears, disappointment? Some of us are dealing with depression and others are fighting with anger, and some of us have sadness. And then some of us, you know, just, there’s some stuff in our lives that we feel like we don’t know. But if you, if you take a moment just to pause and say, how am I, something’s not right.
Anybody get what I’m talking about? Something’s not right, and we don’t know what it is. There’s some kind of fear, the unknown, and I’m like, I’m afraid to touch it because if I dig a little bit, I’m afraid of what I’m gonna find. You know, here’s the truth. If you don’t deal with the deep stuff that’s in your soul, now what will happen is it will come to the surface at the most unexpected times and usually in the most inconvenient ways, and they’ll almost always be outside of your control. So it’s in your best interest to, to go deep and to start discover what’s going on. So why do we have these like, you know, these fears and, and, um, inside of us? And, and, and why are they so deep for some of us again, um, you know, these are some of the roots, uh, root things of fear.
And, and, and these are just very clear things. But, um, one again, is past traumatic events, stuff that has happened to you or things that that should have happened to you that didn’t. Some of us are in our fear comes from negative stories. You know, we hear things, we’re we’re told things about different people or about life, and we say that, and we, and even though we never personally experienced it, because of the stories, we, we assume that they’re facts and that we have to, that they’re, that they’re true. Whether we, it’s a fear about a people group, whether it’s a fear about experience, um, whatever that is. Then some of us, our fear is actually rooted in our family history. There’s things that have happened in our family, and sometimes they repeated themselves in our families. And, and because of that, you know, we, we, we, we consider them normal.
And, and, and that’s, you know, they’re true. And then we, we buy into those fears. Other fears. Sometimes we experience these fears, um, through modeling. And what I’m saying by modeling is that we see people that are close to us, people that we trust, or maybe that maybe they’re at a distance, but they talk about these things. They talk, for example, about the fear of water. They talk about how dangerous water is that eventually, even though you had no fear of water before, once you start talking with people who are afraid of water, once you have family members that maybe you had a family member that, that, that had a bad experience in water, whether someone drowned or almost drowned. But those family experiences and then the modeling of somebody just constantly talking about it, all of a sudden inside of you, you have fear.
So we have the, and we have modeling. And so these different ways of, of experiencing life affects what’s going on beneath the surface. But what’s important is that we have to realize that whether it’s through a family story, whether it’s something that happened to us traumatically, whether it whether it’s, uh, been modeled to us, or whether we just heard hearsay about this. If we don’t kind of put these things in the right perspective, we just let them fester in us over the deep, you know what’s gonna happen? It’s gonna rob us from experiencing the abundant life that Jesus promised. And here is the good news. God is at work in the deep everything that you’re trying to, to hide, and you’re embarrassed and you’re ashamed of, and it’s, and it’s dark. It’s so dark. If you take like the literal oceans, the the deeper you go, the darker it is, God is there.
And what we know is that out of the deep, out of the dark, God brings forth life. That’s what we see in the creation story and the deepest parts of the war of the ocean. God is bringing forth life, abundant life out of chaos. And so God is not just hovering over your chaos, but actually God knows that God sees it. God is in the midst of our chaos. Not only is God in the midst of our chaos, but God is doing something. And I guess the, the question that we have to ask ourselves is, will I create space in my soul to allow God to create something new in my chaos? Will I allow God to, to do a new work? Here? Here’s what we see is that that God’s natural response to the darkness and the chaos and these waters that were just deep without purpose, without void, God fills those empty things with purpose, with creatures.
God fills them. He says, let them team up. In other words, not only don’t, I’m not just gonna create some things. I’m gonna create a whole bunch of things. Team means it’s gonna flourish, it’s gonna overflow, it’s gonna swarm, and I’m gonna create every creature. So from the, the smallest plankton to fish, to sharks, to whales, to mysterious creatures that people don’t even know about, but they talked about in the Bible, like Leviathan, um, you know what God says, I’m gonna create all this kind of things. And when the more I started thinking about this, I’m like, God, what are you doing? Because some of the things that God creates is absolutely beautiful, but some of, some pretty scary stuff. I mean, there, there’s some scary, pretty scary stuff in the midst of all that. But yet God is working. And so I’m not saying that God created all the bad things that happened in your life, but what I am saying is that God has a way of putting it all together and helping us to make sense of it.
Stories like, you know, Jonah and being swallowed up by the fish, sea creatures and things that are in the deep that we don’t even know and we’re afraid of. But yet God has them as part of the order of creation. And they bring a, a balance. You know, in the ancient world, you know, people were afraid to cross the, the, the waters because they were, they didn’t know what was gonna happen. They were afraid to be in shipwreck. They were afraid of storms. But yet, on the other side of this, we see that Jesus says, Hey, let’s go to the other side.
Let’s, let’s cross it. You know, when, when, when, when the storms come, Jesus says, let there be peace when the people have been fishing all night. And they said, you know, I, I’m, I’m, I’m comfortable. And, and, and, and I’ve did everything I can. I don’t know what to do. Jesus says, go out even further into the deep and this time cast your net on the other side, because for some reason, um, God is inviting us, that we see through the whole biblical narrative is not to run away from what is deep inside of us. Not to run away from these creatures, not to, to, to, to be angry with them or to cut them off or pretend they don’t exist. But what we see God saying over and over again is, is move out. Go into the deep, cast your nets on the other side. And you know what? And by doing that, you will see my hand, you’ll see my provision. You know, today, Jesus is inviting us into the waters.
But I wonder, you know, like again, going back to day five when God was doing this and creates all these sea creatures and stuff, and then, and then God creates the birds and all that, God steps back and actually takes an, a, a, an intent look at creation. And God sees that it is good. And that’s what I’m inviting you to do. That that first step is to step back and to, and to look into your life, to look at our creation, to look at our world. And, and can you see that it is really good? Can you see that? That God has a way of even redeeming your pain, even redeeming your loss, so that somehow you can find goodness out of this. In other words, your pain, your loss and all that is not the end of the story there. There’s, there’s more to come.
In fact, you know, like, again, when I’m thinking about all the crazy stuff that God created, I mean even like some of these toxic fish that are out there, like the lion fish that, you know, gets in the wrong place and it screws up everything. Or, or, or, or sharks that people are afraid of, or, I mean, all the, all these different things, but God sees their potential. God sees the, that, that, that there is some goodness in it when it’s all in God’s order. And God not only blesses it, but God says to, you know, to multiply, you see, I have this belief, and this is just my conviction, that God can bring transformation or redemption and in other words, or good things from everything, even that deep junk that’s in your deep waters of your soul.
In fact, you know, in Christian tradition, this is what baptism is all about, right? Baptism is about, you know, um, you know, coming out of the, of the waters and trust in that God’s gonna bring new life. He’s gonna pull us out. He’s gonna, he’s gonna bring all new life into us. He God’s gonna re, you know, it’s a sign of redemption. It’s a go, it’s a sign of God’s transforming love. It’s God bringing new life in order out of the chaos. And that’s what baptism is. So throughout the scriptures, we see all these examples of, of chaos, deep waters, all this scary stuff. And what we see God saying is don’t hide from it. Don’t run from it, but face it and know that I am there doing something. So what does coming out of the waters of baptism, what can it mean for you today?
What can this day five creation mean for you today? For me, you know, the more I think about it, first of all, you know what? Go ahead and name your pain. Go ahead and talk about some of the family junk. You know, you have to find some safe people. You might need to get some professional help. You know, get a really good counselor or a support group. You know, some of us, you know what we’re gonna have to do? We’re gonna have to change the radio station in our heads. You know, we’re gonna, we’re gonna have to stop deciding who, start deciding who we’re gonna listen to and who we’re not gonna listen to. Because here’s what happens. The more you start filling your mind with different things and, and these stories and stuff that informs your internal dialogue, and all of a sudden you start getting this logic inside of you, and you know what?
It could be very toxic for you. You know, it’s toxic, it’s not good for you. And we have to go ahead and change that station. Another thing that we have to do, and, and I’m telling you this is the truth, we gotta stop listening to the negative stories. You know, I mean, I mean, the, the more you listen to the negative stories, the, you’re looking for the negative stories, you know what? You’re gonna find more negative stories. And I’m not trying to ask you to live a little Pollyanna crap life, okay? I’m not asking you to do that. I’m not asking you to say like, Hey, everything’s good and Jesus blessed me and I never have any problems and all that. No. What I wanna ask you to say is, you know what? Sometimes life stinks. Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes things are not fair.
Sometimes at a god’s good creation, good creation bites me and it hurts. But you know what, God is still in the midst. Some of us need to have a different look at our family stories. You know, sometimes, you know, family, like we wear our shame and pain, pain is like a badge of honor. And, and, and, and then what we do is we’re gonna perpetuate that. You know, I had it hard. You need to have it hard, and we just kind of create this kind of system. But maybe it’s time to look at our family tree and start naming what is not good, not healthy, and say, okay, you know, the mark was missed somewhere along the way. But you know what? By God’s grace, we have this, this thing called, um, free will we have human agency and we can make a change. And as we take a step that we can trust that God is right there, start adapting new behavior, start modeling it.
Basically what it means when I go back, remember we learned, we learned fear by people who model it. Well, what we gotta start changing? Who, who, who, who were who? Who are our models? Our ultimate model is Jesus Christ. And those I believe who commit themselves to his lordship. In other words, it’s surrendering everything that Jesus and trust in your life to God’s care. In other words, saying, you know what? I’m, I really believe this stuff. I’m standing here cause I really believe this stuff, that when we put everything to Jesus, that he actually does make a difference and he does care. And we can trust him, even with the deepest pains, hurts, disappointments in our lives. We can trust Jesus with that.
Because when we allow God to do the deep work in our soul, here’s what will happen. Life will come to the surface and we don’t have to worry about trying to keep everything still and all that we’ll experience life. When I say that the word comes, what comes, the mental picture comes to my mind. And it’s like, Jesus, you know, when the disciples are just pulling that net and the net is so full of fish that they cannot eat, then their nets are starting to break. That’s the abundant life, the overflowing life that God gives us. But you know what? It it is, it is hard and it needs to, and it needs to have something needs to be overcome. You know, we have to change a lot of things in us. You know, like in my family, um, I’m, I’m talking about like my, my family of origin, especially on my dad’s side.
Um, we struggle a lot with this like, uh, scarcity mentality. We struggle a lot with scarcity mentality. And we have a hard time seeing and trusting in God’s provision. And so, and what I remember was like, you know, I mean many of know the stories, but like, you know, my family were refugees during World War ii. They had to immigrate to several countries before, you know, coming to the United States in 1959. And, and so, I mean, they were used to, to living with limited resources. They, they were used to being betrayed and lied to. So they didn’t trust anyone. And I remember this scarcity mentality even came, you know, to the church cuz like my, um, how my family saw the church. Cause my family had these bad experiences. They heard these bad stories. There’s a family history. We had bad models. And so I remember my, my dad one, I mean, we got in an argument, and this is when I started like trying to follow Jesus seriously.
And I remember my dad said, you know, you’re getting really involved at church, but, but I got something that really concerns me. He goes, are you, are you giving more than 10? Are you giving 10% to the church? And I’m like, yes, dad, I’m tithing. He’s like, what? What are you doing tithing? They’re just, they’re, they don’t need your money. They’re just taking it. And he was like, so angry. And, and my dad and I like got into this argument about this. I’m like, dad, what’s going on? Let me tell you what my father said. And this is what I’m, my that, that I’m told you. And now I want you to teach your children.
The church doesn’t need your money. And so when that offering plate comes, you know, people are gonna look. So you better give something. This is a bit time. And I said, dad, how much did I give? He goes, $1. He goes, every time I go to church, I always have $1 ready. And that’s all you have to give is $1 because you can’t trust the church. They don’t need your money. And there’s a bunch of hypocrites. And he starts telling me all this stuff. And and he’s like, because, you know, if you give more than $1, who’s, who’s gonna help you out when you need money? It won’t be the church. And he starts telling me all this stuff. And I started thinking about this, about how what was told to my dad that made him so afraid to give more than $1 at a church that couldn’t trust that God was doing some great, like, like here at the gathering place, right? You know, I mean, we’re able to feed, you know, more than 50 kids every week.
$1. I mean, even if you look at like the, the economy of a natural ecology, right? From a biblical understanding of these things like fur fish and birds and all that stuff. What’s beautiful about them is like, okay, with, with plants and everything, we have to, you know, like harvest and, and we have to do all these things. But, but the fish were always like a sign of god’s like abundant blessing and provision. Um, birds were also like one of those signs of God just bringing things in. And I, and I started thinking to myself how, like, how like, so much like fear, fear of the deep, fear of like the unknown, fear of all these things creates a scarcity mentality inside us, even as Christians, as a church. And we cannot see God’s abundant provision. So even from a, if you don’t get, if you don’t buy into anything I’m telling you about this message, even from a natural, just looking at this, the, the, the nature of the world, we can see that like the fish and the birds were just a, a sign of God’s abundant provision because all you have to do is just cast your net in and they’re there now.
Yes. I mean, now there’s sophisticated, you know, um, you know, sustainable, uh, harvesting a fish and all that. But, but at the, the basic sense, it’s there. <laugh>, I believe as individuals, we need to make this kind of shift and get rid of our fear, especially the, the scarcity mentality or the mentality of, of afraid of going below the surface. And I think as, as a whole corporate church, we need to do this. We need to trust in God’s care and trust in God’s provision. And also I think we have to care about the things that God provides us. So yeah, we gotta make sure that the waters are good and the birds have nice places to fly around in. I mean, that’s, that’s important. All right? Now I’m starting to medow in environmental stuff, and I know how you guys like that. But anyways, um, all right, back to preaching.
Let’s get back to the birds. Okay. So remember that word koff, right? So what, what what what struck me about the word koff, like I said, and a lot of it is, it is meant like for like wing or comes with birds, but then there’s this second meaning and double meaning in the work koff. And it means the extremity, the edge, the border or corner of a garment, the, the extreme edge. And I felt like there was a hidden message here, because I’m like, wow, out of the chaos in the air. Now remember the, in parts of the Bible, it talks about the evil one, or Satan as like the prince of the power of the air. And so people are afraid of what’s going on in the air. They’re afraid of the environment. God creates these creatures, these birds in the lower heaven. So track with me to, to be out, be in this environment, to be in this space.
And so, so God’s telling us to not be afraid of the edges or, or what’s beyond our reach. So, so I start, you know, I’m like, man, this is like really far out. So you know what I do when I do far out things, especially when it comes to Hebrew, I call my rabbi buddy, right? So, so, so I call, I call Rabbi Strauss, and I’m like, I said, fivefold man, we gotta meet. And, and he’s like, and so he started telling, he’s like, look at you, look in your Hebrew and all this stuff. And I’m like, no, I was looking at Google. And, um, and so anyways, uh, we, uh, we, we, we, I said to him, I said, man, I’m stuck on this Koff thing. And, and, and all of a sudden he is like, whoa, Koff is like huge trust. And I said, what do you mean it’s like huge for you?
Tell me what you mean. He said, this is a big deal in Judaism, because the word koff means corner, right? And I said, yeah. And he says, well, in Judaism, where we make this connection is about God’s promises to find all of Israel from the four corners of the earth and bring them together. So the furthest things, the, the things that are the furthest outta reach are the furthest out of our borders. God’s saying, don’t be afraid of the borders. But actually, that’s where I’m at. Are you starting to see the gospel a little bit? Isaiah chapter 11, verse 10 through 12. Here’s the big promise in that day, the root of Jesse, which we Christians understand is Jesus, right?
Isaiah 11, verses 10 to 12, I’ll send you my notes. Um, in that day, the root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the people. The nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious In that day, the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people from asy, from lower Egypt, from upper Egypt, from Kush, from miam, from Babylonia, from hamma, and from the, uh, islands of the Mediterranean. Now, this is the part for them where they, where they, this is the promise. He will raise a banner of the nations and gather the exile of Israel. He will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters or corners of the world, from the Koff of the world. You see, we think that God is not in the deep, but God is there.
And we think that we are afraid of borders as people. We, we like borders to keep us safe. We like them to separate us from people that we don’t like. We like boor. We think that you know what borders a you know, that, that, that, that the go out far, you know, we don’t want to do. We wanna do what’s familiar and close. And what we see is that God creates creatures that says, you know what? I’m there. My creation is there. My goodness is there connected to what Jesus said. You remember Acts chapter one, verse eight, but you’ll receive power when the Holy Spirit, how’s the Holy Spirit symbolized, right? Right. A dove right, you’ll receive power in the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you’ll be my witnesses in Jerusalem and all today, and Samaria to the ends of the earth. So for Judaism, the promise to the scattered Israelites is that God will go to the edges of the world to bring them home for non-Jews, for gentiles, for pagans, God’s spirit moves to the ends of the earth, pours out on all fledge flesh.
God calls the church to follow that spirit. What we’re called to do is go where the birds fly. We’re called to go out there and reach out because that’s where Jesus is. Jesus said, when two or more are gathered together, my name, guess what? I am here. Mission and vision, the gathering places extend God’s redeeming love. Because we believe that God is not just sitting in here and in this, in this sanctuary, but God’s spirit is out there, and we are called to gather in his name, to be our where Jesus is and to be his hands and feet. So what is this telling me God about? What is happening at the edge of society and on the borders? God cares about the people on the margin. Those birds are a symbol of promise and provision. Remember Elijah, what, when, when he was hungry and suicidal and want to die, God, you know, brings ravens to help feed him.
The, these birds on the edges is a promise of peace. Remember Noah, when he said, okay, God, is there any land? Is there any goodness out there? God starts releasing birds and sh and then one bird comes back. You know, it’s that doven, it’s a sign of peace. Birds wing things. Cutting off is a symbol of the Holy Spirit that is inside of you and inside of me. The very presence of Jesus that gets us back on mission and stops creating a church that is about serving itself in its own self-preservation and saying, you know what? We gotta extend God’s redeeming love because our world is hurting and we have a God that’s in the deep. We have a God that’s in the sky. And you know what? If he’s there, so are we because that is what our God is calling us to do. If we could just stop for a moment, if we could stop for a moment and acknowledge that yes, sometimes the waters and the skies, they can be as scariest place, especially when you think about the dark parts of creation. But in the midst of all that God was there, God moved, God created, and God took a moment to, to look and actually see what was going on. God did something and said it was good.
So what is God asking you to do again? Some of us are gonna have to, some of us are gonna have to come out of those waters and, and, and remember our baptism and again, and, and, and start doing that, that embracing that, that stuff that’s going in the deep and trusting in that, that God will will do something amazing. And we have the trust in God’s promise of provision. Trust that God is gonna transform us. But then also some of us, actually all of us, we’re not called us to be transformed then play in the water in the kitty pool. Okay, we gotta go out. We have to go out. And that means go as far as the birds are willing to go and go out into the margins and the edges, to the people that maybe are different to us. And give that invitation the same invitation that Jesus has given us today. And that is to come home, a place to belong.
Hannah Hunter (34:59):
Hey beautiful people. This is Hannah Hunter. I’m the director of Reach here at the Gathering Place in Palm Beach Gardens. Thank you for joining us this week. We love getting to share our journey in Christ and community with you. And if you’re in the Palm Beach area, we’d love to get to connect with you in person at our Sunday Worship service at 1115. For more information about our community in faith, check out our website at thegatheringplacefl.org thanks for listening.