From Woe to Wow to Glory

God’s Word is not passive.

  • It is not about things, not about you and me, or the stuff of creation.
  • It is about doing and changing things, you and me, and the very stuff of creation.

God’s Word calls all things into being, brings order out of chaos, breathes new life where there is a dead numbness caused by jobs lost, relationships strained, bodies pained by illness, families broken by stress, and people like you and me who live burdened by selfish sin.

Thankfully God’s Word speaks and everything changes.

We meet that word, that voice, that change today in God’s Story, the Word found in the beginning, sung in the Psalms, and in Good News found in splashing water.

The Word of God Sounds Like—the Crashing Waters of Creation

In Genesis, we meet the voice of God…

  • In the sound of the wind that swept over the face of the waters.
  • In calling light into being
  • In naming light day and darkness night

In the beginning and today, in God’s Word…

  • We hear living water today in this worship space, echoing God’s voice.
  • We hear the truth that God is in the midst and works with chaos.
  • We hear comfort in God bringing order to even the most frightening of places.

The Word of God Sounds Like—the Power to Make Us Say Wow

In the Psalm, we meet the voice of God unleashed in all its power and majesty…

  • Starting with water, God’s voice thunder storming over mighty waters
  • Breaking the largest of cedar trees, stripping oak forests bare
  • Flashing forth lighting, sparking flames and fire storms
  • Skipping mountains and shaking the desert sands

The word of God is loud and powerful, changing creation itself. The Israelites see and hear God’s voice and respond saying Glory! And all we can say is woe or wow.

God is great and powerful beyond our world of wondering. We do have reason to fear and tremble. But we also have reason to trust God who creates, sustains, and saves us. But we fail to see God’s creative hand and hear God’s majestic voice. When we do, we move beyond woe and wow. When we see or hear God in what we understand and in what makes us wonder, we too say Glory!

The Word of God Sounds Like—the Promise of Claiming Us as God’s Own

In baptism, God claims us as God’s own. Through God’s Word in Mark today, we see and hear the voice of God. The Word of God is present in the flesh in the person of Jesus. Jesus who is fully God and fully human steps into the dirty waters of our lives and is washed. Jesus sees and hears as God the Spirit descends like a dove and God the Father speaks of his delight in his son.

And we who are baptized, washed , forgiven and created anew each day, are baptized with the Holy Spirit, claimed, named and proclaimed children of God. Children God takes delight in.

And when the water is shallow and smooth, When the ground and our lives don’t shake, and the winds of chaos are calm…

  • We think we have it together,
  • We think it is our doing,
  • We forget God’s hand and voice.

But we know that the waters, days and winds of life are not calm. And we who are baptized, we who see God’s hand and voice in the Word and World, know that Baptism is not some holy magic life jacket that keep everything calm. Baptism is water and wind and God’s mighty word that you and I are called into each and every day.

God calls us to the water of life. But we barely tip our toes in. We are afraid of what might happen if we fully immerse ourselves in living a baptized life seeing and hearing God’s voice and following God’s call that was given to us in baptism.

Wow we think, water is scary… And it is, water cleanses, drowns and kills.  It has to do those things to move us from wow to glory. It has to in order to give birth to new life. The waters of baptism are mighty, and the life of the baptized are not without storms. But God who delights in you, calls you to step out onto the storms of the world.

The Word of God Sounds Like—the Spark of Fire and the Splash of Baptism

In baptism we are changed. Our washing and gift of the Holy Spirit changes everything from wow to glory. In every dark cloud, each wind of change, and in the storms of our sinful creation and those that blow into our lives… in every moment God is there to be seen and heard. God’s presence and voice showing and calling us to glory is there.

  • We have trouble looking and listening.
  • We have trouble seeing and hearing.
  • We have trouble remembering our baptism.
  • Living as the baptized, trusting that in all of those storms, God is with us, leading and speaking to us all through the Holy Spirit.

Baptism is both seen and heard. A tangible proclamation of God’s presence and promise voiced for you and me forever. It is like a dirty old rock dropped into a crystal calm body of water.

We see and hear the rock as it moves toward and then is immersed in the water.

  • The thunk and splash are seen and heard.
  • The sounds vibrating out into space forever.
  • The splash is replaced by ripples on the body of water.
  • Ripples that move out from the splash and flow on and on.

Our baptism splash of new life resulted in ripples of blessing that flow out from God through us, into the world and lives of others. Our baptism sparked the flowing of the Holy Spirit into our lives to fan the flames of faith, lighting a fire that moves us to Glory!

+          +          +

 May you hear the Word of God and not the winds of your desires.

May you see sparks of God and not the flames of your desires.

May others see, hear and experience God through your life

splashing in and sharing the waters and wonders of grace

and fanning flames of faith as God’s hands and voice

moving others from woe and wow to Glory!

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