A Little Faith

Presented at Memorial Congregational Church, Sudbury, Massachusetts, August 7, 2011.

Scriptures: I Kings 19:9-18 and Matthew 14:22-33

The other day, while running errands in my car, I encountered a timid driver.  You know the type: hesitating at intersections, driving slow or speeding up unexpectedly.  These drivers start to do one thing, and then without warning change their mind.  If they’re at a stop sign, you don’t know whether to go, or wait for them.  If they’re trying to make a turn, you don’t know whether to go around them, or not, because you know they might suddenly turn right in front of you.

It would be far better for everyone, including themselves, if these people would just make a choice and go with it, rather than second guessing themselves and changing their minds.  They don’t project confidence, don’t clearly indicate their intentions and leave us guessing as to how to respond.

These drivers seem to have no faith in the choices they are making.  Maybe they’re unsure of where they’re going, or perhaps they’re afraid of the consequences of making a wrong choice.  When they do choose, they change their minds the second there is any reason to doubt the decision they’ve made.

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The Fabulous Flying Fuzzball

A sermon I presented in 2008 at Payson Park Church in Belmont, MA…

Back in the mid 90’s I bought a home in rural Virginia.  The house had a huge backyard.  I had to keep the grass there under control, but could not afford a rider mower, so I bought three lambs instead.  (I figured I’d eventually get a meal or two out of the deal, but did not tell this to the lambs.)

The Bible often compares us to sheep.  Frankly, now that I’ve owned a few, that’s a scary thought.

I am not sure that sheep are as dumb as many have said they are, but they sure have a talent for getting themselves into trouble (mostly – I think – out of curiosity).  When sheep are frightened, they run.  However, if it is their curiosity that gets them into trouble, they often just sit there until someone comes and rescues them, rather then figuring out how to rescue themselves.  I think of this behavior as a sort of silent whining.

Sheep love to climb.  I remember more than one occasion where they tried to climb onto the two swings hanging from my daughter’s playset in the near corner of the backyard, in the opposite corner from where the sheep’s shed was: I’d come out in the morning and see them standing there, front hooves on the ground, back ends up in the air hanging from the slings, patiently waiting to be rescued.  Every so often they’d somehow climb up on the slide – never did figure out how they did that, but I’d find them standing up there in the morning: surveying the back yard, waiting for me to show up and make it all better.

The two ewes, Heidi and Sally were fairly docile, but we were wary of the ram, Fuzzball, because he became more and more aggressive as he approached his first birthday.

One morning, Fuzzball’s curiosity collided with my own carelessness, and so earned his place in history…

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