Rev. Dr. Ronald E Braxton, Senior Pastor
Metropolitan AME Church, Washington DC
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Scripture Text: Psalm 27: Verse 1 (NIV Translation); Verses 4-9 (The Message Bible Translation): 1 [NIV]: The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? [The Message]: 4 I’m asking GOD for one thing, only one thing: To live with him in his house my whole life long. I’ll contemplate his beauty; I’ll study at his feet. 5 That’s the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world, the perfect getaway, far from the buzz of traffic. 6 God holds me head and shoulders above all who try to pull me down. I’m headed for his place to offer anthems that will raise the roof! Already I’m singing God-songs; I’m making music to GOD.7-9 Listen, GOD, I’m calling at the top of my lungs: “Be good to me! Answer me!” When my heart whispered, “Seek God,” my whole being replied, “I’m seeking him!” Don’t hide from me now!
The scripture begins with a familiar verse: “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom then shall I fear?” Initially, I was excited that the Lectionary recommended this text for today. But I was disappointed that it broke up that beautiful, familiar text by reciting verse 1, then skipping verses 2 and 3, then going to verses 4 through 9. Critical text was omitted, which isolated the text from any present crisis. There was no mention of the violence that threatened worshippers; the evil doers; the enemies; the false witnesses. The Lectionary sanitized the personal threats, the difficulty of life, the pain of being at odds with others. It ignored how difficult it is when the dark experiences of life linger on longer than we plan.
Then it dawned on me that the scripture lesson pricked out attention to the possibility of living each day in a life filled with positive language. We will not escape problems, evil, deceit, fear, anguish, or anger. But positive language will help us to live life ABOVE those things. The theme for today is: “Living Life Filled with Positive Language”.
1. Living life filled with positive language is not something that comes naturally. Positive language is hard-won. The Psalmist had experienced many battles. In the days of trouble, enemies surrounded him. When stuff in life “hits the fan”, it can build an arsenal of either negative, or positive, language. Positive language: “The Lord is the strength of my life”. Positive language: “He will keep me safe in his dwelling”. Positive language: “I will sing his praises at all times”.
2. It is imperative that you live every moment of every day recognizing the presence of the Lord in your life. The Psalmist seeks to live in the house of the Lord. The Message Bible translation says: “I’m asking God for one thing, only one thing: To live with him in his house my whole life long.” This doesn’t mean that we are to make our beds at 1518 M Street. It means we are to live our lives in an ever-deepening walk with God. The Lord makes a safe place for those who dwell with him in the temple of the Lord. The Lord provides a place – mentally, emotionally, spiritually – a place where you can feel a “peace that surpasses all understanding”. Positive language explodes against the odds.
3. Positive langue lends itself to unabashed, shameless and sincere praise. The thing about praise is this: you know when it’s REAL. In verse 6 of the Message translation: “I’m headed for his place to offer anthems that raise the roof! Already I’m singing God-songs; I’m making music to God; I’m offering sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving!”
In my second church, I had an elderly member who used to break out in praise and shout thanksgiving as soon as she crossed the threshold of the church. Once she asked me to come to her house. She took me all around in every room of her row house in a Baltimore neighborhood. She laid out all her silver, crystal and china. She told me: “Son, my parents knew slavery; then they were Mississippi sharecroppers. Then they moved north where they lived with my brother, his wife, and their 6 children. I will never forget what the Lord has done for me. I can’t help but to praise God. So don’t be ashamed of me when I come into the church shouting!”
When I look back, I remember that God will open doors. God will make a way for you. I don’t care how hard it gets on that job, how hard it gets in life, positive language makes me wait on the Lord! ***Amen
- Sermon Notes: Living a Marked Life
- Sermon Notes: Great Living Every Day
- Sermon Notes: Living Life with Bifocal Lenses
- Sermon Notes: When God is the Center of Your Life
- Sermon Notes: Living Above Transition and Change
Tags: Rev. Ronald E. Braxton