2/4/2018 The Sky Is Falling – Country Site

THE SKY IS FALLING                                                                                               2-4-18

When Pastor Mark asked me to lead service today following the series we’ve been studying each week, I said “sure”.  I was actually kind of relieved that I didn’t have to decide for myself what scripture to use and what the theme of my message should be.  Then I looked at the title for today’s message, “The sky is falling”, and all I could think of was Chicken Little.  Not very sacred or religious… You know, the children’s story in which Chicken Little is hit on the head by an acorn  and she decides that the sky is falling and rushes off to spread the word…  And now I have Chicken Little, Henny Penny, Ducky Lucky, and Foxy Loxy on my mind! Not able to stop thinking about the lot of them, I am no longer so relieved that he provided the theme for today’s message…

 

But the more I thought about it, the more I could see that the story does fit with the theme and today’s reading.  When Chicken Little thought the sky was actually falling, her whole world was falling apart – she thought THE whole world was falling apart! Haven’t there been times in our own history where we believed our whole world was falling apart… We can go WAY WAY back… The exodus we learned about in the Old Testament.  I’m guessing many of those people felt their whole world was falling apart.  How did Abraham feel when God asked him to sacrifice his own son?  What about Mary being asked to carry the Christ Child?

In our own more recent history… World Wars I and II -the Holocaust – the Korean war –  Vietnam – The Gulf war – Afghanistan… and not just war. What about Katrina (and all her hurricane and other horrific storm friends), Tornado’s that wipe out whole neighborhoods – whole towns; that tsunami in 2014 that came from the Indian Ocean and took over 200,000 lives;

The magnitude 7.8 Nepal earthquake and the magnitude 7.3 aftershock that followed and took thousands of lives from Nepal, China, Bangladesh, and India; the infamous fires that took place in Chicago and Peshtigo and so many wildfires in the west; flood, draught, famine… All of these were – are – times of trouble.  And He says we should not be afraid, He is “our shelter and our strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” And yet, we are, we are afraid.  We are afraid of war, of disaster, of each other, of not having enough, of not being enough…

 

You know, looking at the “big” ugly stuff that happens in our world is something we do.  Where we live, here in the United States, in Northern Wisconsin, we watch from a distance. We are so blessed to “look on” from our little corner of the world and do our part through donations, or UMCOR, or mission trips… but we don’t actually LIVE any of that… It’s easy to watch from a distance and say or think, “Be strong, God is with you!”

 

And I thought, I get this, I can share about God and when the sky is falling… And I relaxed a little.

 

And then I went back to our reading. And I read it several times.  And I started to think about that part that says “So we will not be afraid, even if the earth is shaken and mountains fall into the ocean depths; even if the seas roar and rage and the hills are shaken by the violence” and I thought that was pretty easy for me, because I don’t live where all that stuff actually happens…

And then I thought, wait a minute, it says “even if…” So that means there are probably other, “smaller” things that happen in our lives that make us feel afraid.  And I thought about what it feels like when it feels like the whole world is falling apart — When MY whole world is falling apart. Here, in my own space – my little part of the world – my every day.

 

Pondering all of this while driving way too many miles this last two weeks, I heard a song on the radio.  One I’ve heard before and have sung along several times without ever really hearing it…

I know I’m not strong enough to be everything that I’m supposed to be

And it was like I got smacked up-side the head!  That was it! Right there in those few words.  That’s why I get scared, that’s why I’m afraid, because I know I’m not strong enough to be everything that I’m supposed to be!  It’s rather freeing to admit that, to understand that my fear is that I am not strong enough to be what I’m supposed to be. And so what came next? What’s the next part of the song?

I give up, I’m not strong enough

And there we have it, the sky is falling… we give up…

That’s what we do isn’t it?  We figure, or we decide, that we can’t be everything that we’re supposed to be – maybe because we don’t even know what it is we’re supposed to be – but whatever the reason, we just figure we can’t do it, we’re not strong enough, so why try?

 

What would have happened if all the good people who struggled in all the bad situations just gave up because it was too hard? What would have happened if Moses just gave up because he didn’t think he was strong enough to get all those people out? What about Paul? What if Paul had given up??? I shudder to think of the ramifications of that one…

 

In more recent history, what would have happened to all those holocaust victims that did survive???  Don’t you think that the allied forces feared they weren’t strong enough to defeat the enemy?

Closer to home now, what would have happened if our armed forces gave up when 9/11 happened? Would there be more terroristic devastation here in the United States?

What would have happened to the state of Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina if all those people who went down to help or sent help had decided to just give up ‘cuz it was hard, and maybe they weren’t strong enough?

But those people didn’t give up. And we don’t have to quit either!  The most amazing thing in the world is revealed in the next line of the song:

I can do all things, through Christ who gives me strength.

            I don’t have to be strong enough.

We heard in the reading, “The Lord Almighty is with us”.  And then we are invited to “Come and see what the Lord has done. See what amazing things he has done on earth.”  Look around!  Look back, look right, look left, look at yesterday and at right now. Look at all the amazing things He has done for us, through us…

 

It is SSOOOO easy to look at the ugliness, the hatred, the devastation… but what surrounds all of the ugly?  What do we see when we actually stop and see what the Lord has done?  We see God’s grace – God’s AMAZING grace!

 

This is what I want you to take out of today’s lesson… When your sky is falling, look inside of yourself and KNOW that He is with you.  Boy, I’m getting the warm fuzzy’s right now… what a great thing to do, look inside and KNOW Christ is there… feel’s good…

Yep! I’m going to do that every time things get hard or ugly. I’m going to KNOW that I am not alone…

 

Easy to say… easy to believe as we sit here in church on Sunday… not so easy to do Monday through Saturday… We need to REALLY KNOW… we need to have the confidence to believe and the only way I know how to do that is to “fake it till I make it”… Keep telling myself until I DO believe it!  So, do it with me.  Get the tune in your head and keep repeating… “hmm, hmm hmm hmm hmm, hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm.”  Let’s start quietly, telling ourselves…

I can do all things, through Christ who gives me strength…

Come on, do it with me, tell yourself…

            I can do all things, through Christ who gives me strength…

A little louder…

            I can do all things, through Christ who gives me strength…

Again…

            I can do all things, through Christ who gives me strength…

Tell your neighbor…

            I can do all things, through Christ who gives me strength…

Mean it…

            I can do all things, through Christ who gives me strength…

Feels kind of good doesn’t it?

So, when the sky is falling, be it half way around the world, or in your own back yard.  Stop, look around, see what amazing things our Lord has done on this earth.  Admit your weaknesses, your fears…

I know I’m not strong enough to be, everything that I’m supposed to be…

 

But don’t ever give up because you don’t think you’re strong enough. Remember, you are never alone, God is your shelter, your strength… The Lord Almighty is with us…  and tell yourself:

I can do all things, through Christ who gives me strength

And remember

We don’t have to be, strong enough

Amen.

 

Pray with me now, praising our Lord for His grace and asking for his guidance using the words taught to us by Christ himself…

Our father…