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    Jul 21, 2019

    Be Bold. Be Silent. Be Changed.

    Be Bold. Be Silent. Be Changed.

    Passage: Luke 10:38-42

    Speaker: Chris Schaefer

    Series: All

    Category: All

    Be bold. Be silent. Be changed.

    That’s the example we can take from the three bold women we hear about in today’s readings.

    “Where is your wife Sara?” Abraham is asked by three men who turn out to be God and two of his angels.  What we don’t hear in the reading today is what Sara was doing in the tent. Well, she was listening! She hears that “in due season”, she is going to have a son.  She is not going to adopt a son. No, she is going to get pregnant at 90 years old! Sara does the same thing I would do! She laughs! But only to herself! 

    Still I think I would be rolling on the ground laughing.  And God confronts Sara. He says, “Why did you laugh”. Now she’s thinking, “I only laughed to myself and He knew I laughed”, so that makes her scared.  She says “No, I didn’t”! But God responds, “Yes, you did laugh at me”! Laughing at God! Now that is bold!

    Have you ever laughed at God?  I know I have. More than 2 years ago, I realized, with the help of Fr Will and Bishop Benfield, that the pull I had felt for a long time was a call to ordained ministry.  I thought “God, are you serious? You have got to be kidding? Me, seriously? I am too old, I am not spiritual enough, and certainly, I don’t know enough”. I laughed! Boldly!

    Then there is Mary. Quiet, demure Mary! Or so we might be led to believe.  Mary was definitely quiet in words but certainly not in action.  Mary sat at the feet of Jesus. How bold! How scandalous! Women didn’t sit at the feet of a teacher or a Rabbi.  Only men did. That spot was reserved for disciples and they were men. Mary wanted to hear Jesus. She wanted to learn.  So she defied social norm by taking the scandalous action of sitting at the feet of Jesus! That’s bold!

    I think of the opening sequence of Star Trek TV episodes.  “to boldly go where no man has gone before”. But in Mary’s case I would say “to boldly go where no woman has gone before”.

    And then we come to Martha!  She looks Jesus square in the eye and proclaims, “Don’t you care?  My sister has left me to do all the work by myself! Do something! Tell her to help me!  I can’t handle this. There is too much to do and I am totally frazzled!” Martha is bossy and very demanding of Jesus.  She just about hollers at Jesus! If that isn’t bold, I don’t know what is!

    Have you ever thought - “All I do is run around!”  So many things to do. If you are not retired, you are working!  If you are retired, you are still working. Because really, we are always working.  We work outside our homes. We work inside our homes. We work for our families, our friends, our organizations, and even our church.  Sometimes it seems all we do is do! That’s when it is time for us to be bold before God!

    These three women were bold before God.  Laughing at Him when He was about to deliver the impossible.  Taking bold action to move closer to Him. Demanding help from Him when life was just too overwhelming. 

    What do you boldly want to put before God? Scripture tells us, “Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

    Jesus won’t turn us away when we boldly come before him.  He didn’t rebuke Sara for laughing. He simply said, “Yes, you did laugh”.  He didn’t shoo Mary away and say, “you don’t belong here, this spot is for men only”.  And He didn’t holler back at Martha. He simply said, “You are worried and distracted by many things, there is need of only one thing.”  

    No matter how bold these women were, God heard them and He responded.  God didn’t scold them for stating what they thought. And He doesn’t scold us. No matter how bold we are, God hears us and responds. 

    God hears us and responds!  But for Him to respond we must be silent.  I have had people tell me “why should I boldly ask God for anything.  He never answers me”. My response is, “Have you listened? Have you been silent and listened for Him?” 

    We must learn to be still.  We are told “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (psalm 37:7). Throughout our entire Gospel this morning, Mary never speaks.  She sits at the feet of Jesus and waits patiently for Jesus to teach her. She has taken the bold action and now she is silent. 

    There is a contemporary Christian song called “Just be” and the words are beautiful:

    Everything else can wait
    I’ve come to seek your face
    So everything else can wait
    I’m here for you
    I want to just be here at your feet
    Just be here on my knees
    Here in Your presence I am complete
    Jesus, you are all I need

    Because that is the one need Jesus told Martha about.  The one need to know Him and “to be silent for he will teach you the way to go” (psalm 32:8).

    And that is what Sara, Mary and Martha did.   They were silent and they waited. God worked through their boldness, through their silent waiting and things happened.

    Sara said after the birth of this impossible child “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me”.  

    Mary learned about Jesus and performed another scandalous action, an action of love by anointing Jesus with oil prior to His crucifixion.  

    And Martha well she was still proclaiming, but this time she said “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world!

    All three women were changed!  God stirs things up. He changes things.  He certainly has changed my life!  

    When we go boldly before him and then are still and wait for Him. We can be changed.  He offers us a chance to reconsider and re-evaluate.  

    All three women were different after their encounters with God. The encounters were followed by a silent waiting. By their boldness and stillness, they were changed because they invited God in. They were open to change.  They showed courage and audacity. They weren’t afraid to show their strengths but realized their weaknesses too.  

    And we shouldn’t be afraid either! Be bold before God. Talk to Him.  Tell Him what you think you need. Be silent as you reflect on what he will do for you. Open your heart to hear Him. Open your soul to the change He offers. And then Be changed.  For He will surely change you if you are open and listen in the silence. He is there! He is always there. He will not shoo us away if we laugh, if we defy, or if we holler. So, 

    Be Bold!

    Be Silent!

    Be Changed!