Going Out and Coming In Sermon

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Sun, 03/08/2020 - 5:15pm

Psalm 121

A Song of Ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the hills—

from where will my help come?

My help comes from the Lord,

who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot SLIP [be moved];

he who keeps you will not slumber.

He who keeps Israel

will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;

the Lord is your shade at your right hand (SPF1million).

The sun shall not strike you by day,

nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;

he will keep your life.

The Lord will keep

your going out and your coming in

from this time on and forevermore. (your whole life long)

 

Psalm 84

How lovely is your dwelling place,

O Lord of hosts!

My soul longs, indeed it faints

for the courts of the Lord;

my heart and my flesh sing for joy

to the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home,

and the swallow a nest for herself,

where she may lay her young,

at your altars, O Lord of hosts,

my King and my God.

Happy are those who live in your house,

ever singing your praise. Selah

Happy are those whose strength is in you,

Who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.

As they go through the desert valley of Baca

they make it a place of springs;

the early rain also covers it with pools.

They go from strength to strength;

the God of gods will be seen in Zion.

 

“Going Out and Coming In” Sermon for 03-08-20 at Harbor Church

“The Joy is in the Journey” Some of the trips we make in our lives are purely for pleasure, some are meant to make us stronger, sometimes we travel to explore and learn, and in all of these undertakings we grow and become wiser. Among all the different types of journey that people undertake there are also those of a spiritual nature. This is the essence of pilgrimage. Our reading today says,

Happy are those whose strength is in you,

Who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.

The Songs of Ascents is A heading given to 15 psalms (Psa 120–134) associated collectively with “going up ” to the temple of God. Historically, these psalms were sung by pilgrims journeying up to Jerusalem for the major feasts.

Pilgrimage is an idea common to many religions. In some, it is an actual journey where one walks or travels to a holy place. In others, it is a metaphor for a search for moral or spiritual significance. In any case, it is a call to action.

A word study of this idea in the Bible leads to a fascinating discovery: walk~live.

In the NT: The word, “live” in the new versions of the Bible is actually translates as “walk” in older ones. It essentially connotes the` idea of movement, of going forward, of stepping out.

In Ephesians we are told to Walk in good works, Walk in Light, Walk in Love, Walk Wisely ,Walk in a way that is worthy of the sons and daughters of God , We are told to “watch the way we walk”

In another of Paul’s letter he said for we walk by faith, not by sight.

In the OT we read

Walk in MY ways" (Old Testament refrain - walked in MY ways, don’t walk in the ways of your fathers who wandered away from me in the wilderness) Are you repeating the mistakes of those who have gone before you? Or are you establishing newer, different, better ways of living as you walk through each day?

And we read: No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly.

“I want to be Under the spout, where the glory comes out!” – Under God, faithful living leads to good things in life. We walk with God by turning… moving… going… and obeying

The Australian Aboriginal Walkabout. here is a lot we can learn about ourselves from the land that surrounds us- and the best way to acquire that knowledge is by traveling and experiencing. This ancient aboriginal initiation ritual involves exactly this: a long spiritual hike across the indigenous land. The journey is usually made between the ages of 10 and 16. During this journey which can last for up to six months, and 1000 miles or more.

Part of this walk is about survival; living off the land. Discovering the water underneath the desert. The psalmist points this out in a spiritual sense. One can say that the walkabout is both a journey across the land and a journey of the spirit.

. The walkabout is also an excellent time for self-evaluation and reflection. For us , walking can be a time for thinking and discovering ourselves as well.

I’ve got a friend that is doing something like this in a deliberate way: He has a New England Hike book and is systematically walking the trails of the Northeast for exercise, and spiritual perspective. He’ll probably be coming out this month to walk some of our Greenways as a part of this. When is the last time you were on one of our trails? reflecting on your life and God’s goodness? It is a great way to find gladness of heart at the end of winter as we look forward to spring.

The El Camino Way is another example of this: The Camino de Santiago (known in English as the Way of St. James, is a network of pilgrims' ways or pilgrimages leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain, Each year, Many follow its routes as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth.

Many of the walkers today do the Camino for religious or spiritual reasons. The trek is undoubtedly a unique experience and is known as a haven for self reflection. They hit the trail to get away from their daily life and connect with God and nature. We live is such a connected world:

Let’s follow their lead: lets take a hike and Leave our cell phones home! A digital detox or disconnect!.

It can also be an opportunity to connect with others close up and personally. The movie “The Way” starring Martin Sheen.  The protagonist Tom decides to walk the ancient spiritual trail where his son died, taking Daniel's ashes with him. While walking the Camino, Tom meets others from around the world, all looking for greater meaning in their lives. Let’s all keep our eyes peeled for opportunities to connect with others along the way.

I have another friend who is going to Europe later this year to visit important places that have had a spiritual impact on him in the past. What a great idea and a worthy undertaking! To revisit places that have had power in his life, that have influenced him in the past, to remember the effect they had on him at the time, and to be open to possibly having new vital experiences as well.

IN the Song of Ascents that we read, we are reminded that On the journey of life, God is our keeper – Keeper occurs six times in our Psalm. to set a hedge about (as with thorns), that is, guard; generally to protect, attend to, etc.: - preserve, save watch over

The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand

(SPF1million).

Traveling can remind us of the safety and security that God provides.

We also reminded that God keeps our feet from slipping along the way.

 

Finally, we are reminded that The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore. (your whole life long)

Lao Tzu traditionally considered the founder of philosophical Taoism ("Daoism") said.”The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. Lets make this Lent a journey of discovery- lets find out

What fresh steps can we take this season to following God, to trusting Him with our lives, to discovering new gladness in our relationship with him?

What new ways or places can help us to discover anew that God is our keeper on life’s journey, protecting, providing, sustaining us with joyful heart as we realize that the Lord is with us every step of the way?

As we walk with God each day, may we all experience happy moments together as we trust the Lord with our present as well as our future, knowing that he goes before us, preparing the way our whole life long our whole life long.