“A Long and Winding Road”

July 27, 2014
Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church
Sermon Series on “All My Day: A Summer of Prayer”
Inspired by Marcia McFee
Sermon 5 of series-
“Faith Journey”
Luke 12:1-6 Common English Bible
Romans 10:12-15 NIV Bible
“The Long and Winding Road” The Beatles

Let us pray… (Pray for God’s illumination…)

A reading from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 12, verses 12-15…listen for a word from God to you and me the people of God…

The Twelve sent out
“Jesus called the Twelve together and he gave them power and authority over all demons and to heal sicknesses. He sent them out to proclaim God’s kingdom and to heal the sick. He told them, “Take nothing for the journey—no walking stick, no bag, no bread, no money, not even an extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, remain there until you leave that place. Wherever they don’t welcome you, as you leave that city, shake the dust off your feet as a witness against them.” They departed and went through the villages proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.”

The long and winding road that leads to your door
Will never disappear
I’ve seen that road before it always leads me here
Leads me to your door

Journey – an act of traveling from one place to another… to travel somewhere. Jesus sent His Disciples on a journey. He sent out to heal and to proclaim the Good News. What a journey that must have been. I am sure they must have been a little frightened…remember they followed someone who was very radical and now they were sharing the words that He had taught them to a world that was about to put Him to death because He was so radical. But He sent them out two by two…kind of reminds us about how on the Ark creation was saved two by two…and gave them power to cast out demons and heal people of their sickness and disease.

The wild and windy night that the rain washed away
Has left a pool of tears crying for the day
Why leave me standing here, let me know the way

Faith Journey – Faith is often called a journey. Faith is a process of moving deeper and deeper into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Christian faith comes in an instant but it takes a lifetime to grow and develop. The moment that you accept Christ as Lord and savior, the work of salvation has only just begun…the Faith Journey has begun. Like the disciples being sent out by two’s, we are also being sent out on our Faith Journey by two…ourselves and God. We are never alone; we are always partnered by God…

This summer, we are invited to pray “All My Days” and to make a habit of prayer wherever you are. Each Sunday in worship we will focus on one of the steps of the prayer beads but you are encouraged to pray these categories all summer long. I hope that you brought your beads with you this morning. My continued hope is that our Summer Sermon Series “All My Days: A Summer of Prayer” will help us learn a way of prayer that will bring us closer to the maker of all we see.

We have had an awesome time so far as we have been going through the beads on the string. We have talked about the first bead…the Gold Bead…which reminds us to begin with adoration and the second bead….the bumpy beady….that is to remind us to “Drop it…leave it”…to let go and let God. How about the silence bead from last week? I have really worked on that one this past week and shall I say it is still a work in progress. The bead this week is one that we all may struggle with from time to time…the “Stepping Stone” the journey of faith bead.
Stepping stone…our faith journey is made up of “stepping stones.” Each step is a new stone set in place. It may be a difficult journey at times and we may wonder if we are on the right track in our journey…are we going in the right direction. It is sort of like the finger labyrinth’s you were given this morning. Our faith journey may have many curves to it but it is in the center where we find God…He is always at the center of all we do in His name…

Do you know how they make stepping stones?
• They mix the concrete and shape into a rough finish form of a stone
• Then they wait until it is firm enough to stamp into the form of a stone and they smooth out the sides.
• Next they put a light coat of stamping powder on it and proceed to stamp a texture on it so that it has depth and texture…Kind of like how I told the children in the Children’s Message last week about how God puts different textures on the canvas of our lives…
• Then the stone cures of at least 24 hours.
• Then color is added.
• The final step is they put a sealant on the stone to protect it from the elements.
Our faith journey is a lot like the making of a stepping stone. As we walk our journey of faith there may be times we feel we are in the “mix master”. As we wait patiently…or impatiently…for God to move, we can feel the pressure of the stamping of our lives. It is a difficult place to be.

Many times I’ve been alone and many times I’ve cried
Anyway you’ll never know the many ways I’ve tried
And still they lead me back to the long and winding road
You left me standing here a long, long time ago
Don’t leave me waiting here, lead me to your door

But as God gives depth and texture to our faith journeys it is being formed into a stepping stone for others. As the color is added to our faith journeys it illuminates with His mercy and grace. As we are sealed with the stamp of the Holy Spirit we are now ready to continue on our faith journey. Oh yah…remember we are never alone…we are in partnership with God who goes before us.

But there is a very important thing I want to share about our faith journey. As we walk in faith with God, our paths are illuminated. As our path is illuminated others who come behind us can find the path to God. Now they may begin following our path but God will make them a path of their own but…they need our path to begin their own journey. Think of those in your life that helped you find your path. Did you begin because of their journey that was illuminated? Then we too need to be that illuminating factor in others lives so they too can begin their life’s journey with God.

Our journey of faith…it really can be “The Long and Winding Road” but…but…isn’t the trip worth it? The journey may be filled with the joy of victory and the agony of defeat but we don’t travel it alone. We always go out in two’s, us and God. How awesome is it that as we travel our journey of faith we become those who are up stream for those who are downstream needing someone to show them how to “navigate by the star’s that God has put in their lives”. Let us hold fast and persevere to and on the journey. The Romans from this morning asks us:
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!””
It is not only our lives that depend on it but the lives of those downstream looking up stream for mercy, redemption, forgiveness, healing and strength that can only be found in our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ…

But still they lead me back to the long and winding road
You left me standing here a long, long time ago
Don’t keep me waiting here, lead me to your door
Yah, yah, yah, yah

Let us pray…pray about our journey of faith and how others will follow…

Amen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s