Sermon – 10-16-22 – Proper 24 – Cycle C
Scripture: Genesis 32:22-31; Psalm 121; 2 Timothy 3:14 – 4:5; Luke 18:1-8
Sermon Title: “Persistence”
is the firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.
Brandon and Bella are a young couple. They just managed to buy a home with a yard. Bella wants a big rock as a centerpiece for a flower bed. She had seen the rock she wants. She has passed a house where a big rock has a “free sign” on it. “That is my rock,” she says to herself that day while she turns the car around. “Yes,” the man said, I will save it for you for a week.
“Okay” says Bella to herself. Surely Brandon can bring his truck sometime before a week to get that rock into our yard.” She might as well have been the widow in our gospel lesson, persistently begging the judge to grant her justice against an opponent. Brandon has no intention of figuring out how to get that rock from its current resting place into the spot in his and Bella’s front yard. You guessed it. Bella knows how to whine in her lovely, sweet voice. So Brandon rents equipment to load and unload the rock in just the right place and the whining stops.
Jacob is persistent in our Old Testament lesson. I will never understand how this God-man can not win over Jacob; cannot free himself from Jacob’s grip. But this is how God makes the event play-out. So Jacob persists. The God-man gives Jacob a bit of a strike in his hip along with a blessing and a new name and then disappears. Somehow, Jacob with the sin of betraying his father and brother, but also with persistence, becomes our prominent, religious ancestor. His new name Israel becomes the name of a holy nation.
How have you persisted in your life? Did you pest your parents until you got what you wanted? My mother was persistent in waiting until I stopped being persistent in pesting to grant my wish. How about our children? Are we persistent with them? Have we waited for years for them to grant our desire for him or her or them?
Paul in the book of 2 Timothy, is instructing Timothy to be persistent. Persistent in what? In proclaiming the gospel of forgiveness and resurrection. This afternoon, I will be leading the funeral for a man who was persistent in spreading the gospel. He made thousands of crosses – all sizes. He gave them to everybody. When he was dying in the hospital, one after another, doctors, nurses, aides, housekeeping people stepped into the room to tell this person they were carrying the cross in their pockets. They loved him for the gifts of the cross. This man was persistent in sharing the gospel. May we be also.
Before we affirm our faith together, we have an example of persistence. Some of us have started crocheting the mats for the homeless. Believe me, this is an endeavor of persistence. Even though none of us has completed even one mat for a homeless person, we are being persistent. We have a goal in mind. Being persistent, in this case, is not a hardship except to find the time and the ability to count to less than 50.
Yvonne Rentschler is further than anyone, I think. She has even designed a color pattern. She was also creative in having the top bigger for the person’s head to be comfortable. We will bless this plastic mat now. This is the Rentschler’s last Sunday with us before they become snow birds. This mat will become finished. Yvonne knows how to persist in this endeavor.
Let us pray. Holy and persistent Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we seek your blessing on this mat made of plarn – plastic yarn. May the person who sleeps on the mat be protected by your blessing on him or her. May the person be kept healthy. May the person feel your presence of safety and comfort. May Yvonne and each of us who are being persistent in our crocheting be blessed for our work in your earthly kingdom to continue. We pray in the name of Jesus who seems to have been homeless on many nights. Amen