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Let the words of my mouth

by davesandel on November 30th, 2021

Tuesday, November 30, 2021                        (today’s lectionary)

Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle

Let the words of my mouth

I always wondered what I have to do in this world of God’s making, in order to be the good boy my parents wanted, in order to be the good student Mrs. Smock (who died just three days before my mom died earlier this month) wanted, to be the good Missouri Synod Lutheran boy Pastor Neitzel wanted. What did all those people out there, all of whom were over 30, what did they all want?

And further back, in the fuzzy darkness of unknowing, what did I have to do to be the good child of God that He or She wanted. My True Parents in heaven had a list for all of us, didn’t they, all of us including those over thirty-kids who called themselves my parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers and preachers, because of course they were children of God themselves and subject to the same Rules I was.

So it’s with some recalled surprise that I open today’s lectionary and read the simple truth, as Paul saw it.

David, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Oh, I can do that.

Paul explains.

For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.

It doesn’t matter if I’m rich or poor, Hispanic, black, Asian, Native American or white. Or if I’m a midwestern farm kid with manure on his shoes, who throws a baseball every night after milking at a whitewashed strike zone on the barn’s brick wall, dreaming of the big time.

The same Lord is Lord of all. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. He will enrich us all.

I love Garrison’s Keillor’s writing because it is such a rich, spontaneous stream of his consciousness. Paul launches into just such a stream, enriched and confident in God’s grace as he writes to the Romans. In reverse, he says men and women must be SENT in order to PREACH, so that others will HEAR, and therefore BELIEVE, and then CALL ON HIM. He goes on from there. Try to keep up!

How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!

Peter’s older brother Andrew was a fisherman with good social skills. He noticed the boy with fish and loaves while Jesus was preaching (John 6:8), and mentioned him to Jesus.

Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men. At once Andrew and Peter left their nets behind, and followed him.

After Jesus ascended into heaven and his Church was established, the disciples scattered. Andrew preached in Greece and Turkey and was martyred twenty-five or so years later, crucified on a “saltire” cross. Did he ever go to Scotland? Did he ever play golf on the famous green links at St. Andrews? For various reasons, Andrew became Scotland’s patron saint.

Paul saw Jesus in a powerful vision. But Andrew spent three years with him. I imagine his sermons were stories as well as exhortation. Today’s psalm 19 might sometimes have been his text, his “first reading.”

The decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple. Fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. Your words, Lord are Spirit and life. They are more precious than gold, than a heap of purest gold, sweeter also than syrup, or honey from the honeycomb. May these words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Paul tells me what I must do with my mouth, my mind and my heart. David in his psalm gets at something a little different. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life. God is not here for me, I am here for God. Turn back O man, turn toward God and let God become all you live for. Did Andrew’s stories and sermons guide his listeners toward that deepest of all realities? I like to think they did.

(Romans 10, Psalm 19, Matthew 4)

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