Carolyn’s Sermon for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost- 8/19/12

Sermon Pentecost 12 year B

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Creator, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

You are what you eat.  You become what you take into yourself. You become what you hear and what you believe.

Remember that as you listen today.

For thousands of years, people learned new things by telling stories to their friends and neighbors. Being able to read and write was a privilege that only the wealthy shared.

At the time of the Reformation, about 500 years ago, our Lutheran ancestors started public schools. More and more people were able to get their news and information by reading books and papers.

My grandparents were able to read the newspaper every day. They also got news by sharing stories with friends and neighbors.  They visited with each other when they went into town to shop.  They were hungry to hear what was happening in the world.

My parents read the newspaper and listened to the radio to find out what was happening.   When I was a child we had a television and we watched it every night.  We saw educational movies at school in addition to what we learned from books and newspapers.

My children grew up with the world wide web.  We all now have the opportunity to be bombarded with information.  We have hundreds of television stations. We can read just about any English language newspaper in the world online.  We can hear what any commentator has to say about any news story.

We not only know what the media people say, but we know what our friends say about every little news item. We know what their friends say, and what the acquaintances of their friends say.  We can post what we think for all the world to see and comment on.

If all of this sounds like information overload, it is.  We are forced to make choices about what we pay attention to, what we take in, what we believe.  My parents could choose CBS, NBC, or ABC for their nightly news.  We have to decide from hundreds of options.

We can now choose to only listen to news stations that offer opinions we agree with.  We don’t have to hear things we don’t like, things that might make us think, or make us angry.  Because we can make that choice, we all hear different stories.

There is so much information out there that no story lasts very long.  We talk about people getting their 15 minutes of fame.  Disasters and mass shootings are not even in the news very long.

Because all the stories are different, it is hard to believe anything you hear. Trust is lost.  It seems harder to find wisdom in any of it. It is good to have enough information. But information is not wisdom. Information does not last.

Wisdom endures. Information is easy to get. Wisdom requires effort. Wisdom is about the things that matter and the things that last.  Wisdom lives forever.

The writer of Proverbs talks about Wisdom as a woman who invites us to eat her bread and drink of her wine.

You are what you eat.  You become what you take into yourself.  You become what you hear and and what you believe.

Jesus says, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I give for the life of the world is my flesh. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood will have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day.”

We hear a lot of news and get a lot of information and some of it’s hard to believe. Some of it is hard to take in.  The people who first heard Jesus talk about eating his flesh and drinking his blood were scandalized. For one thing, Jewish law prohibited consuming any blood.  The kosher way to kill an animal before you cook it requires draining the blood out first.

Think about the scandal this way.  Imagine you are a teenager today who has never heard of Jesus, but you love the popular vampire books and movies.  What would you think about when you hear that Jesus said to drink his blood and live forever?  Gross, I know, but that’s what it may have sounded like to the Jews who heard Jesus. But the gospel has always been scandalous. We need wisdom to understand.

We are what we eat.  We become what we take into ourselves. We become want we hear and what we believe.

We have many, many choices about the things we eat, about the things we take into ourselves and about the things we believe.  We can choose the things that don’t last. We can choose to live as unwise people.  We can eat junk food.  We can waste our time.  We can behave foolishly.

We can choose to believe only the things we already agree with and think we know. We can abandon our responsibility all together and refuse to listen to anything or believe anything we hear. We can make our decisions selfishly.  We can ignore the needs of others. We can live for today and forget about tomorrow.

We can choose all those things.  We are all sinners and sometimes we do make those bad choices.

But we have been given better choices.  We have been given a gift.  We are invited to eat the bread and drink the wine of wisdom.  We can live as wise people.  We can choose the things that last.  We can seek God’s will in all that we do.

We don’t have to live as foolish people.

Here are some ways we can live as people who eat the bread of wisdom:

We can use the gift of intellect and sort through the overload of information, not just to find things we agree with, but to find the truth.

We can ask questions and base our opinions and decisions on facts.

We can work for the good of all people, not just for personal short term gains.

We can regularly praise the God of wisdom with songs and hymns and prayers.

We can faithfully read and study Scripture.

We can follow Jesus, doing what he did in serving, loving neighbors, eating with outcasts and sinners, caring for the poor, and welcoming strangers.

You are what you eat.  You become what you take into yourself. You become what you hear and what you believe.

Come, eat the bread and drink the wine of wisdom.  They are the flesh and blood of our Savior who gave his life on the cross and rose again so that we can have eternal life.  Jesus Christ is the true wisdom of God and he will raise us up on the last day.

You are what you eat.  You become what you take into yourself. You become what you hear and what you believe. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Amen.

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