sermon: the silent working of god - the rev. bill borror. sunday july 27 2014

Download Sermon: The Silent Working of God - The Rev. Bill Borror. Sunday July 27 2014

Post on 12-Oct-2015




0 download

Embed Size (px)


The Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia



The silent working of God

Romans 8:24-28

24For in* hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes* for what is seen? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes* with sighs too deep for words. 27And God,* who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit* intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.*

28We know that all things work together for good* for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

What would you take with you if you were stranded on a desert island

Your top five albums/booksFive tools

What would you chose for your last meal

I have 4 sons-which one do you love the most

Pearl of Great Prize-

Romans 8

With its sweeping summery of what God was accomplishing in the life and death of Christ; its discussion of creation and humanitys ultimate redemption and the grand finale Of the power, triumph of the love of God

But for all of Pauls rhetorical flourishes

There is something of a mystery observed in this passage

A back story to our frequent silence towards God and the even more deafening silence of God on the days we need him most

Jesus says in our Gospel reading that the kingdom of God is like both a mustard seed and leaven

God taking small acts of faith and growing them into huge realities beyond our wildest imagination

Gods hidden work like leaven in bread that works its invisible magicTwo silencesMy silence-Spirit prays for me

I grew up in an evangelical church so one thing I really appreciate about the Anglican tradition is liturgical prayer

The Liturgy is Christians who have come before me praying-as Chesterton once notedTradition is the franchise of the dead

It is also very helpful on those day for whatever reason I cannot pray-The church prays for me

Liturgy is prayer on our best behavior-(except of course when we are praying the Psalms an then all bets are off)But Personal prayer by its nature needs to be honest prayer-and there it can often be very rawI remember climbing the stairs to visit a mother whose teenage boys had just been murdered by a mentally unstable and violent neighbor-cursing every step-these would be the sixth & seventh teens I would help bury in less than a monthI was angry at the world-death-and God

It was honest prayer-but that was about me-not the situation I was about to encounterBut what happened in that room with the grieving mother was heart-breaking and grace-filled at the same time.The Holy Spirit-God within was praying To God The Father-and of course this all works because of Jesus God the Crucified SonAnd the same thing was happening within the grieving MotherGod and her grieving murdered sons

My sainted grandmother-the person most like Jesus I have ever known

a victim of alzheimers-Her personality lost in the ravaged regions of her brainBut maybe the Spirit of God within was faithfully carrying on her prayers to the Lord she loved as she hovered for years somewhere between earth and Heaven.The Comfort and promise is that regardless of your situation, faith, or cognitive state-

Psalm 42:7 Deep speaks to Deep

But what about Gods silence in the midst of the thingsWhen was the last time any of you bought a sympathy card?

I was mortified No one should ever say what was on 90% of the cardsI was paralyzed-the poor lady at the Hallmark store comes up to me and led me to a different sectionI bought a blank one-and remains on my desk waiting to see if I can do betterThe French mystic and philosopher Simone Weil once said there is not supernatural explanation for suffering, but there is a supernatural useHope God isnt causing all things-God isnt fixing all things But Neither is God disinterested, powerless and or absentI would translate the meaning of Romans 8:28 asGod is in all things working towards a goodIt helps us not try to minimize the bad or evil in the things

The same mistake can happen early in Romans 8 18I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.This not to minimize the unspeakable tragedy of children being run over by a car=airplanes being shot out of the sky-inocents caught between the cross fire of war-broken relationships-haughting calls from the doctors office sufferings are not to be minimized=glory is maximizedRomans 8:28 is about Gods silent work in the midst of history & time

Our space and our time

Standing in a hallway-more like one those infernal passage ways you move from one wing to the other in a hospital with my friends wife that in week would be his widow-

My friend had almost died that hour-but ralliedWe did not get the miracle we prayed for-but we got a miracle She was not a particularly religious person-but the miracle she got was not His healing but that God was present to her

Evil-Death-Defeat-failure-tragedy-do not get the final word in our life

God does And that final word is love. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.And that is very, very good