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Sermon – I’m not perfect and that’s okay with God.

Many Bible scholars call the reading from 2 Samuel assigned for today’s worship as ‘sanitized’. Skipping verses 6-8 significant. These verses speak about David’s brutal capture of Jerusalem to make it his capital once he became king of Israel and Judah. Most of us carry our Sunday School picture of David in our heads: a handsome young man with a harp in his hands and contented sheep at his feet. The truth about David is the polar opposite. He was ruthless, immoral and full of flaws BUT this is the man God chose to lead the faithful. This is the same man we connect to Jesus’ heritage. The Good News is God doesn’t need us to be perfect.

2 Samuel 5: 1-5, 9-10

1Before long all the tribes of Israel approached David in Hebron and said, “Look at us—your own flesh and blood! 2In time past when Saul was our king, you’re the one who really ran the country. Even then God said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel and you’ll be the prince.’”

3All the leaders of Israel met with King David at Hebron, and the king made a treaty with them in the presence of God. And so they anointed David king over Israel.

4David was thirty years old when he became king, and ruled for forty years. 5In Hebron he ruled Judah for seven and a half years. In Jerusalem he ruled all Israel and Judah for thirty-three years.

9David made the fortress city his home and named it “City of David.” He developed the city from the outside terraces inward. 10David proceeded with a longer stride, a larger embrace since the God-of-the-Angel-Armies was with him.

 

Hear what the spirit is saying to the church.

THANKS BE TO GOD!

 

Sermon – I’m not perfect and that’s okay with God.

In my travels meeting with people asking about what concerns or troubles them in life – the things for which they are seeking some spiritual understanding – one of the most frequent responses =

“I’m overwhelmed by the impossible expectations placed on me.”

What this amounts to, quite simply, is our response to the quest for perfection.

I found an April 12, 2012 article in the Examiner.com  “Feeding – tube diet frenzy: Have brides’ pursuit of perfection gone too far?”

Talks about doctors who will insert a nasal feeding tube into a woman thus restricting her daily caloric intake to 800 calories -> one dietician likened it to “eating cotton balls.”

 

A Jan. 15, 2012 article in the Guardian from GB noted that the fastest increasing sector of people seeking cosmetic surgery = 16 – 24 year olds.

Media promotion of unrealistic ideas of beauty continue to influence people’s attitudes to their own appearance.”

Think no further than Michael Jackson’s ever-changing face or a host of women celebrities’ bodies for confirmation of this trend.

 

I truly find comfort in reading the messy bits about the life of David.

It reads a bit like a grocery store tabloid.

He could be heroic in one moment, cruel the next.

He wrote beautiful songs and was horrifically unfaithful.

 

Sam Giere who teaches at Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa (Interp.) contends that David was not nice or sweet.

What David was = a man made great by God – a God who chose him in spite of his serious flaws.

David’s greatness comes from his covenant with God – a covenant that was often a struggle for him to keepBUT God stayed steadfast in it.

 

“ I hog the covers, and my second toe is longer than my big one. My hair has its own zip code… You don’t love someone because they’re perfect… you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not.” – Jodi Picoulty, My Sister’s Keeper

 

We need, in our own lives and with the people we care about, to better communicate God’s love for humanity that is not commensurate with us being perfect.

 

David, the great king of Israel was not perfect.

 

Jesus chose 12 disciples who proved themselves over and over again to be imperfect.

 

Modern heroes like Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela have all revealed their failings.

 

As A.J. Swoboda writes in his recent book Messy: God Likes it that Way.

Because it’s in our imperfections and pain that we are most authentic and open to God.

A book that teaches faith and “real love is nondenominational… doesn’t require that we agree…”, instead God’s love requires we love one another. And true love, like most have learned, is a “…dizzying mess of contradictions and struggles…”

 

I’ll leave the last word today with David.

 

Even David, a man who experienced much heartache and failure, understood the extent of God’s love. “Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!” (Psalms 66: 20).

Categories: Sermons