2 March, 2014

Sometimes We All Need a Pep Talk, a sermon


I know that I’ve talked about Kid President before here. If you haven’t looked him up, please, go home today and google Kid President, and watch his pep talk video. Kid President is a young African American kid who says brilliant things. Like, “We were made to be awesome.”

In one Pep Talk, Kid President says:

A poem: “Two road diverged in the woods…” “… and I took the road less traveled.” “AND IT HURT, MAN!” Really bad. ROCKS! THORNS! And GLASS! … NOT COOL ROBERT FROST. But what if there really were two paths? I want the one that leads to awesome.”

He follows it with:

What will you create to make the world awesome? Nothing if you keep sitting there. That’s why I’m talking to you today. This is your time. This is my time. It’s our time, if we can make everyday better for each other, if we’re all in the same team lets start acting like it. We got work to do. We can cry about it or dance about it. We were made to be awesome. Lets get out there. I don’t know everything, I’m just a kid. But I know this, its everybody’s duty to give the world a reason to dance. So get to it. You’ve just been pep talked. Create something that will make the world awesome.

You’ve all been pep talked.

Picture it. Moses has gone up the mountain, Mount Sinai, to receive the Law. He comes back down from an amazing experience with God to see that his people have turned to a golden calf, worshipping it, and praising it for their release from Egypt. Seriously, people. Where does a calf even come into play in the text? How could a cow have gotten them out of Egypt, parted the Reed Sea (or the Red Sea, whichever), been a cloud of fire in front of them? They are so willing to settle for less.

But Moses begs for God to forgive them. And after pleading for the lives of the Hebrew people, this happens in Exodus chapter 33:

The Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” Moses said, “Show me your glory, I pray.”And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, ‘The Lord’; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.” And the Lord continued, “See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”

Moses goes up the rock. God and Moses hammer out the Law on the new tablets. And Moses sees God. 

Why do you think that God might have shown Moes his glory? When he returns, the people see this:

Moses came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face was shining, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them; and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses spoke with them. Afterward all the Israelites came near, and he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face; but whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would take the veil off, until he came out; and when he came out, and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, the Israelites would see the face of Moses, that the skin of his face was shining; and Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

Moses comes off a rock with his face shining. The rock and the light are signs that Moses has been pep talked.

Why would Moses need a pep talk? Well, think about it. He’s disappointed in the people in the desert. They’ve lied. Made idols. Complained. A lot. Moses is they’re leader and he feels responsible. But they are a tough people.

Not only that, but the sins of the people keep Moses from reaching his promised land, too. Remember that he dies looking at the land of Israel. He doesn’t get to cross over.

Wouldn’t you need a pep talk?

Then let’s flip to our Book of Luke and see the story of the Transfiguration. 

Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white.

Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” — not knowing what he said.

While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.

Do you see it? Jesus goes up the rock and his face shines? He’s meeting with Moses and Isaiah. 

Why would Jesus need to meet with Moses and Isaiah?

Imagine. Jesus is heading into the tough last days of his ministry. He’s going to be cursed and mocked. Beaten and flogged. Then hung on a cross to die. Wouldn’t you need a pep talk? And who better to pep talk Jesus? Moses and Isaiah. What do you think they said? Anyone have any ideas?

Maybe they said, “You can do this.” or “God will be with you, even when you’re scared he’s left.” “We’ll be praying for you.” “You are going to make lives so much better for people living on the earth.” “You are in the midst of creating something awesome.”

And maybe even, “Remember, it’s all about love, brother.”

Jesus went up on the rock, got all glowy, and received a pep talk.

Today, you have been given a rock, as a symbol of the rock that Moses and Jesus found themselves on. As a visual representation of the pep talk they received.

So tell me. What’s the pep talk that you need? How can this bread, this wine, and this rock make a pep talk you need?

Have you ever heard of a worry stone? They stones that you carry in your pocket to help you when you are worried. This morning, you’ve all received a worry stone. Take that stone, keep it in your pocket, and when you need a pep talk, remember our Rock and our Redeemer. Remember, you can do this. Remember that God will be with you, even when you’re scared that God has left. Remember that we as a congregation are praying for you. Remember that you and God are creating something awesome. Remember that it’s all about love.

Now you’ve been pep talked.

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