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  • Become Thanksgiving | Anne Robertson
    but wait it out and see if you live to see morning Now I want to leave Ft McHenry hanging in the balance for a moment and jump to the end of Psalm 65 and you re going to have to trust me here that there is a connection In verses 12 and 13 we are about as far from the pains of war as we can get We have creation shouting and singing together for joy Nature is singing a song of thanksgiving Some people see this as romanticism in poetry giving human attributes to non human things and imagining something as neutral as nature doing something it s really not capable of doing I see it as showing us the truth about what it means to be thankful No the word thanks is nowhere in the Psalm But the whole psalm is a psalm of praise and thanksgiving for what God has done and when it talks starting in verse 9 about how God cares for the earth the earth responds in thankfulness with shouts and songs of joy And the point I want to pull out of this is that the earth expresses its thanks to God by becoming what God intended for it to be The pastures give thanks by overflowing the meadows feed the flocks the valleys produce grain They give thanks to God by fulfilling their purpose and place in Creation I want to say that our thanksgiving should be no different Yes it s nice to SAY thank you and to express our thanks in various concrete ways But I think that the truest form of thanksgiving isn t about what we say or do so much as what we become When we search out the purpose for which we were created both generally as human beings and individually as the uniquely gifted people that we are we are living our thankfulness We respond to the gifts and the care of God by blossoming into our truest selves A lot of times we shake our heads or snicker at those who talk of trying to find themselves or who say they don t know who they are Lots of insipid pop psychology and strange new age rituals leap to mind But I think the core question of Who am I or with a theological spin Who has God created me to be is one of the core questions that has to be answered before we can fully live a life of faith Our truest praise and thanksgiving to God is to find that answer and with God s help to become that person Now take that question who has God created me to be and let s go back to Ft McHenry I don t know of anyone who has come to grips with that question without going through some form of that dark night of uncertainty and doubt I have had many such but the darkest was the three year long night

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/become-thanksgiving (2016-02-16)
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  • Lamentations | Anne Robertson
    The God Lens The Gospel According to David The King Repents Kings Job Why Be Good Psalms Become Thanksgiving Lamentations Where is the Hope Ezekiel Can These Bones Live The Repentance of Believers Where Are The Shepherds Jonah A Big Fish Story Apostles Creed Sermons Matthew Booking Passage By Their Fruit Don t Go Back the Way You Came Epiphany Get Out of the Boat Guard Your Heart Is God Fair Jesus The Son Mount of Olives Sealed in the Tomb Temptations The Canaanite Woman Mark Blind Bartimaeus Clearing the Temple Eating With Sinners I Believe The Living Christ Whatever It Takes Luke Conceived By the Spirit Counting the Cost Going Out of Your Mind Mother of God Mt of Transfiguration Revealed Rock Concert The Duty of Constant Communion The Shepherd Channel The Shepherd Channel Transformation in Whoville Ups and Downs Who s In Charge John Immigration This Must Be the Place Wade in the Water Water Into Wine Lazarus Come Out Stay in the Machine Where are the Shepherds While It Was Still Dark Acts God s Cleansing Love Holy Spirit Sharing the Load Singing In Prison Romans Apart From the Law Maker of Heaven and Earth Tower of

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/lamentations (2016-02-16)
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  • Where is the Hope? | Anne Robertson
    the skilled workers all the brain power to work for Babylon The poor the elderly the uneducated the infirm were left amidst the rubble to fend for themselves Unfortunately that too sounds familiar The Babylonian exile was the greatest faith crisis in the ancient history of Israel They knew it was coming or at least they should have Jeremiah and other prophets warned about it for years and gave very specific instructions about how to avoid it But the warnings were not heeded The parallels are uncanny But the storm surge of Babylon came to Jerusalem even as the empire Katrina laid siege to New Orleans In response Jeremiah wrote the book of Lamentations the great cry to God over the destruction of a city and its people You heard the rawness of the emotion at the beginning of the reading as Jeremiah puts the blame squarely on God I am one who has seen affliction under the rod of God s wrath he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light against me alone he turns his hand again and again all day long There is much more In verses 10 12 he says about God He is a bear lying in wait for me a lion in hiding he led me off my way and tore me to pieces he has made me desolate he bent his bow and set me as a mark for his arrow I would not be surprised if many in the Gulf coast don t feel that way at this very moment But then down in verse 19 Jeremiah s thoughts begin to turn and we have what I believe to be the most amazing statement of faith in all of Scripture The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases his mercies never come to an end they are new every morning great is your faithfulness The Lord is my portion says my soul therefore I will hope in him Even in the midst of the worst disaster in Israel s history even while homeless in a foreign land Jeremiah can still trust that there might be a new mercy in the morning He can still believe that God is good and loving and at work to save us from ourselves and the ravages of life He can still believe that God is faithful Given the circumstances it is absolutely astounding How does he do it More to the point how do we do it How do we talk about God over a pit of burning babies or over a city of floating corpses How do we get through even the much smaller ravages of life and still say anything remotely like The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases One point is that such faith

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/where-is-the-hope (2016-02-16)
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  • Ezekiel | Anne Robertson
    to David The King Repents Kings Job Why Be Good Psalms Become Thanksgiving Lamentations Where is the Hope Ezekiel Can These Bones Live The Repentance of Believers Where Are The Shepherds Jonah A Big Fish Story Apostles Creed Sermons Matthew Booking Passage By Their Fruit Don t Go Back the Way You Came Epiphany Get Out of the Boat Guard Your Heart Is God Fair Jesus The Son Mount of Olives Sealed in the Tomb Temptations The Canaanite Woman Mark Blind Bartimaeus Clearing the Temple Eating With Sinners I Believe The Living Christ Whatever It Takes Luke Conceived By the Spirit Counting the Cost Going Out of Your Mind Mother of God Mt of Transfiguration Revealed Rock Concert The Duty of Constant Communion The Shepherd Channel The Shepherd Channel Transformation in Whoville Ups and Downs Who s In Charge John Immigration This Must Be the Place Wade in the Water Water Into Wine Lazarus Come Out Stay in the Machine Where are the Shepherds While It Was Still Dark Acts God s Cleansing Love Holy Spirit Sharing the Load Singing In Prison Romans Apart From the Law Maker of Heaven and Earth Tower of Love Who s the Judge 1

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/ezekiel (2016-02-16)
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  • Can These Bones Live? | Anne Robertson
    clear The first is that God is defined as the living God When Moses asked what God s name was the answer God gave was I am The God who is the ever present tense God was not born God does not die the living God Idols of wood and stone are nothing If you can burn it in the fire if you can kill it it is not God It might be a sacred or holy thing but it is not God By definition God is the one who lives and never dies The other main thing we learn about God in Scripture is that God loves us and all of creation so much that God wants to jump right in and experience it with us From the very first pages where God bends over Adam and breathes life into him God has been eager to participate in the physical stuff of history trying to keep us from filling our valleys with dry bones Don t do that said God But we did Don t kill don t steal love God with everything you ve got don t lie about your neighbors and don t be jealous about what they have Treat your family right take care of the poor take some time off and rest don t cheat If you keep to those simple rules said God you will live We didn t Sin continued and bones continued to pile up in the valleys Try as we might we never could seem to get it right We looked on our valleys and we cried out to God The cry of a baby boy on Christmas morning was God s response Jesus is not some second string deity Jesus is the one the only the living God taking on the flesh of humanity That is the beginning of the answer to the question Mortal can these bones live These bones of mine can live because God decided to live in them and you can t kill God God s life on earth was not easy and the worst death that the culture could devise was waiting for him But God endured it God did not cut out when the going got rough God literally hung in there until the end to experience what we experience to die as we die to take a human body to the grave with the fullness of God in it so that the fullness of God could blow the lid off of death once and for all Jesus was God s way of saying I m tired of being separated from my creation by the effects of sin I m tired of having the creatures to which I ve given the breath of life die and be away from me I love them too much to see them always hurting when they look at the valley of dry bones What they have done no longer matters It is forgiven and as often as the

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/can-these-bones-live (2016-02-16)
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  • The Repentance of Believers | Anne Robertson
    terrifying to think of losing it at least it is for me It s like any love relationship We can go for decades living without a person we ve never met Suddenly we meet fall in love and if we become separated life seems like it can t go on It had gone on fine before but once you discover what the closeness is like the separation becomes unbearable That s the best illustration I know of for what happens when sincere Christians sin God doesn t leave us but we put up a wall that shuts out the love of our lives and we feel the pain of it That is what s scary to me about sin as a Christian not to mention the pain and hurt I may have caused myself and others But I also find the knowledge comforting and liberating It is comforting because in an odd way knowing that as a Christian I am still capable of sin offers me some protection I have seen a lot of Christians get themselves into trouble because they think they are immune from sin because of their faith In thinking that they march right into dangerous situations and end up falling headlong The converted alcoholic begins to think it is safe to march back into the bars to share faith with the people there Soon they are off the wagon again No matter how far we go in our spiritual walk our freedom is never taken from us including our freedom to sin Remembering that will not only keep us humble it may also save us from falling where we really ought to know better and that brings a measure of comfort Knowing that I am on the road rather than at my destination also allows me to feel more comfortable in calling myself a Christian I once thought that if I had made a commitment to Christ and then sinned that my first commitment must not have been real I thought I needed to be baptized again to run down to the altar again or something I began to doubt myself thinking I couldn t really be a Christian or to doubt a God who would make it so impossible to get in the door I doubted the faith of the hypocrites around me who called themselves Christians and still had not eliminated sin from their lives It was a great relief and liberation to learn that being a Christian was about growing and learning more than it was about graduating I m not usually one for bumper sticker theology but there s a lot of truth in the old slogan Please be patient with me God is not finished with me yet The real hypocrites in churches are not the ones who say they are Christians and fail but the ones who say they are Christians and don t try to succeed Missing the mark is far less of a problem than never aiming for

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/repentance-of-believers (2016-02-16)
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  • Where are the Shepherds? | Anne Robertson
    there done that And you have to stay away from a couple areas where the tiny swarming biting beasties called midges hide But for the most part you can always find a private place a thinking spot The farmers have made peace with the tourists wandering amongst their sheep and cows as long as we remember to close the gate as we enter and exit the pasture And so one day I had finished my chores at the MacLeod Center and wandered down the one lonely road through a couple of pasture gates and down to the beach on the north side of the island After some time alone with the rocks and sand and waves it was getting close to suppertime and I needed to start the walk back Back up the beach back through the pasture gates and back onto the road I went until I was about a quarter of a mile from the center At that point I could see that the pasture gates on either side of the road were open allowing the sheep to cross the road and head from one pasture to the other No one was anywhere nearby but clearly the sheep knew the routine and almost all of them were now in the new pasture All of them in fact except two I held back a bit from the gates so as not to frighten the sheep and to let the last two get across but then I saw the situation more clearly The two sheep that were left in the old pasture were a pitiful sight Lame with foot rot and probably other things they could hardly move One of them consistently fell onto its front knees now black with mud and dirt And so she hobbled and crawled on her back legs and front knees painfully trying to get to the gate and then across the hard road Her friend stayed close but wasn t in much better shape The other sheep did not fall to her knees but she limped and hobbled ever so slowly also trying to make the painful pilgrimage to the new pasture with the rest of the herd Tears were streaming down my face as I watched them They were too big or I would have taken them on my shoulders and carried them across My own knees hurt every time the one of them fell on the hard asphalt of the road I looked around There was a house nearby but no one was in sight Where was the shepherd No one was out along the lonely road Someone had come out and opened the gate at some point but where were they now Anger and panic welled up inside me The sheep were hurting the sheep were lame they could barely get to the pasture Where are the shepherds I wanted to run up and down the road and scream for them Shepherds Where are the shepherds I stood there and cried

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/where-are-the-shepherds (2016-02-16)
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  • Jonah | Anne Robertson
    The God Lens The Gospel According to David The King Repents Kings Job Why Be Good Psalms Become Thanksgiving Lamentations Where is the Hope Ezekiel Can These Bones Live The Repentance of Believers Where Are The Shepherds Jonah A Big Fish Story Apostles Creed Sermons Matthew Booking Passage By Their Fruit Don t Go Back the Way You Came Epiphany Get Out of the Boat Guard Your Heart Is God Fair Jesus The Son Mount of Olives Sealed in the Tomb Temptations The Canaanite Woman Mark Blind Bartimaeus Clearing the Temple Eating With Sinners I Believe The Living Christ Whatever It Takes Luke Conceived By the Spirit Counting the Cost Going Out of Your Mind Mother of God Mt of Transfiguration Revealed Rock Concert The Duty of Constant Communion The Shepherd Channel The Shepherd Channel Transformation in Whoville Ups and Downs Who s In Charge John Immigration This Must Be the Place Wade in the Water Water Into Wine Lazarus Come Out Stay in the Machine Where are the Shepherds While It Was Still Dark Acts God s Cleansing Love Holy Spirit Sharing the Load Singing In Prison Romans Apart From the Law Maker of Heaven and Earth Tower of

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/node/22558 (2016-02-16)
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