|Transparency. Vulnerability. Authenticity. Biblical leadership tenets long before they were business principles. The psalmist David, that king from whom the Messiah descended, embraced them wholeheartedly. But it feels more complicated, or maybe just riskier, in our own lives. |
Teachers, business leaders, university employees, social workers. People with jobs and responsibilities and reputations to uphold. Each time one of you shares your personal journey and experience of God, we are encouraged to know you more. To be drawn closer into this community of faith. But it is vulnerable to yield ourselves in worship, to follow the Spirit, in front of everyone.
I’ve told the good news of your righteousness
in the great assembly.
I didn’t hold anything back—
as you well know, Lord! Psalm 40:9 (CEB)
David’s identities as shepherd and king, songwriter and loyal subject, warrior and joyful worshiper- must have sometimes seemed to conflict. Husband, best friend, father. Some hats more comfortable than others. Chosen but not perfect. As we all are. With a heart after God, yet prone to the temptations and the mistakes of the powerful. When I read these psalms, my heart says, “Yes!” Not holding anything back.
I’ve never woken up on a Sunday morning, heard what feels like a message from the Lord, and then traded places with the scheduled preacher. Or stood in the pulpit with only the lectionary scripture slides and a handful of penciled notes. Or stopped mid-teaching to ask people to gather, lay hands, and pray for unsuspecting individuals. Now I have. All in one day.
I didn’t keep your righteousness only to myself.
I declared your faithfulness and your salvation.
I didn’t hide your loyal love and trustworthiness
from the great assembly. Psalm 40:10 (CEB)
Church seems like the obvious place to speak of our experiences of God, but even for David, it was no small thing. Vulnerable and personal. Sometimes because of our position and responsibility in the community. We want to maintain our cool-headed, rational reputation. Other times because we are assailed by self-doubt.
Imposter syndrome. Feeling inadequate despite apparent success. And the real knowledge of our own weaknesses and mistakes. So that we can’t see straight, and our courage fails us.
So now you, Lord—
don’t hold back any of your compassion from me.
Let your loyal love and faithfulness always protect me,
because countless evils surround me.
My wrongdoings have caught up with me—
I can’t see a thing!
There’s more of them than hairs on my head—
my courage leaves me. Ps. 40:11-12 (CEB)
Fear and guilt can inhibit us from living into the freedom of becoming the person that God is calling us to be. David. You. And me. But God doesn’t want us to get stuck. Keep living and growing. We can be vulnerable and authentic because of mercy and the faithfulness of Jesus. On behalf of us all.
The result is that grace will rule through God’s righteousness, leading to eternal life through Jesus the Messiah our Lord… Romans 5:21a
Grace rules. And so we can live boldly. Learning who we are in the context of the kingdom, and becoming more and more that authentic person. Whole-hearted. Vulnerable in worship. Pursuing lives of love and justice.
May grace rule in our understanding. In our interactions. And in our hearts.
Order of service: 10/20
Sermon: Generation to Generation: Hebrews 4:12