Groundhog Day Sermon

Posted By 
Fri, 02/07/2020 - 10:00am

“Back to the Book”

Groundhog Day is a 1993 American fantasy comedy film directed by Harold Ramis and written by Ramis and Danny Rubin. It stars Bill Murray as Phil Connors, a TV weatherman who, during an assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event, is caught in a time loop, repeatedly reliving the same day. In 2006, the film was added to the United States National Film Registry as being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

WHY? Because The term "groundhog day" is now commonly used in the English language to describe a recurring situation. That’s what we had with:

Ancient Israel (2Chronicles 34:29-33)

Israelites repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Bad decisions, poor choices, history repeating itself. Idolatry, bad leadership, people living wickedly. Things were so bad that they actually had lost the tablets, or scrolls with law and commandments (the Torah) !

Josiah the reformer (with cast of characters including Hilkiah the priest, Shaphan the royal secretary, and Huldah, the prophetess)

The Good Book Found and Read – Back to the Book

The Church – Protestant Reformation –

Groundhog Day all over again. Like Israel , the church had moved away from God.

Excesses like ‘indulgences’ paying for forgiveness of sins and other practices. They ‘lost the book’ - masses were said in Latin – no one knew what was being said, or what was in the Bible!

Semper Fi!... Semper Reformanda? (my 2011 Newsletter article)

Most of us recognize the first Latin phrase as the motto of the United States Marine Corp. It’s an abbreviation of Semper Fidelis, which means “Always Faithful.” The second phrase is less well known, but it was practically the motto of the Protestant church beginning in the 16th century. Its translation is, “[The church] Always Being Reformed.” It was the clarion call to orthodoxy, to a return to the purity of the church, in terms of both faith and practice. This was largely the impetus behind the movement we know as the Protestant Reformation. The reformers saw that without constant vigilance, and without consistent renewal, the church would (and does) decline. It’s like entropy, where things flow from higher to lower, from order to disorder. In other words, left alone, things inevitably go downhill.

One key idea from the Reformation “sola scriptura’ the authority of scripture as a guide for life and faith.

As a part of the reformation in Europe, The dutch reformers who coined this phrase were concerned with personal piety- These are the people who firsted ‘coined the phrase’. People Returning to roots, commitment to the illumination of the scriptures in our lives. Back to the Book.

(Johannes Hoornbeeck (1617–1666) appears to be the original source of the thought (Brienen, et al., De Nadere Reformatie, 1986, p. 93). One of his former students, Jodocus van Lodensteyn quoted him

originated in 17th-century Holland. - The saying first appeared in 1674 in a devotional book by Jodocus van Lodenstein. As a key figure in the Dutch Second Reformation (Nadere Reformatie), van Lodenstein wanted to see the members of the Dutch church, which had seen its doctrine become Reformed during the Reformation, continue to pursue reformation in their lives and practices. )

So, The protestant reformation was all about - ‘The phrase ‘ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda …secundum verbum Dei” (i.e., the church reformed, must always be reforming according to the Word of God) Back to the Book!

Later, in church history: Presbyterian and Reformed tradition added later phrase and understanding: “According to the Word of God.” The Biblical standard, while it is only implicit in the formulas as we have them, is important for correct understanding of the phrase. A high Biblical standard was an element of the Reformed tradition from the beginning This is what gave content to the idea of a distinctly Reformed church in the first place.


So what can you and I do to get Back to the Book?

“How do I love thee?” Psalm 119 is a poem, like Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnets from the Portuguese – Sonnet 43, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. How is the Bible good for me? Let me count the ways…. This is the essence of PSALM 119. Psalm 119 an A to Z poem about the Good Book (Aleph to Taw) – look at Call to Worship in Bulletin

The state of the Bible in America (Parallel with ancient Israel) Like the Torah, there are Bibles on shelves in almost every house in America collecting dust – “Honey, look what I found, the family Bible- remember when your mother gave that to us 20 years ago?!”

Read the [Good] Book! Get Back to the Book.

Israel, the church before the reformation, and perhaps the church today as well?

Definition of insanity: “Continuing to do the same things and expecting different results.”

Usually about bad habits, but can be about not starting GOOD habits too!

It only takes about 2 months; Lent is nearly that long- Let’s try to start something GOOD AND NEW during this season. (Promo study guide)


To maintain our purity, both as a church and as individuals, to be regularly renewed in our spirit and in our lives, we need something more. We need to be the guidance contained in our Holy Scriptures.  Psalm 119, that great poem about the Word of God, says, “Help me understand so that I can follow your teachings.”  God’s teachings, His instructions, ordinances and commands need to be studied and taken to heart.  It is by applying the wisdom that we find in the Bible to our lives that we can be renewed and transformed each day.  Let’s refresh ourselves in God’s Word. Let’s delve into it earnestly and often. Let’s cling to God’s truth so that, at the end of all things, we can be found “Always Faithful” – Semper Fi, Semper Reformanda!

Lets see if we can all find new ways to get Back to the Book.