Sunday, 4 September 2011

Stir Up Sunday: Labour Weekend One-Pager Sermon

Labour Day weekend. The last weekend fling before summer winds down as another year rolls by. An annual event in our cultural calendar. Our Old Testament reading tells us about how the LORD starts an annual event in the Hebrew calendar. Look at
Ex 12: 1The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.
Ex 12:14 This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.
The ESV renders it as “a memorial day.” A day to remember what the LORD had done. Year after year. A day to bring the community of Israel back to their roots. And it was to be the first month of their year.
We no longer have to do the lamb and the blood. Jesus is our passover lamb. His blood shed on the cross is now what causes the angel of death to pass over us. We remember and celebrate that Sunday by Sunday and especially at Easter.
Moses was being particular about time—a specific month, to be the beginning of months year after year. Paul is also concerned about time and its passing in our Romans passage:
Romans 13 (NIV84) 11 And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
But here’s what all this makes me think: summer is almost over, the fall is upon us. Although it’s not on the liturgical calendar, Labour Day weekend marks the beginning of a first month for us, too—of “the ministry” or program year. Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. Stir up Sunday. I think the Lord is calling each St Barnabas household to choose not a lamb but something to sacrifice by way of ministry, of doing something for Jesus, not to save ourselves but in gratitude for the salvation that Jesus has already bought for us on the cross. I might be being asked to choose something more. You might be being asked to choose something different, or to continue doing something to which the LORD has already called you. And to use it all up like the lamb and do it for love. The important thing is to ask him and give him the chance to speak to you.
It’s the first month of our year. It’s time to wake from my delicious summer slumber to put Jesus on again. To wrap myself in him. Make sure the shoes and accessories of my life match him rather than the desires of my sinful nature. You, too.