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Rooted Growing Branching

Oct 9, 2016

Order of Worship



Jodie Hatlem, preaching


This sermon suggests that Deuteronomy 26 and I Corinthians 10 are excellent resources for thinking about how to connect past, future, and present.  The sermon reflects on the history of Erb Street Church, family lore, Anabaptist history, and the myriad ways that Scripture tells the story of the Exodus.  It makes the following claims:

(1)      The more faithfully we tell our history the more faithfully we can live in the present.

(2)      The past is not over.  When we are talking about sacred history we are talking about something dynamic, something that can transform us.

(3)      God’s work of writing history and making new family trees is not finished.

The sermon concludes with the claim that God hold us, directly, and not through the tense and tender ties of family.  We are held directly by the same strong arms that delivered Israel out of Egypt and raised Jesus from the dead.  Because of this we must refuse the temptation to think we are mere embers of a flame that once burned brighter.  God’s Deliverance is our present and future reality and because of this we are our ancestors’ contemporaries, their brother and sisters, and their co-heirs. The spirit of God hovers and at many a moment She can blow on us and we too can catch fire.


Deuteronomy 26:1-11
When you have come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name. You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time, and say to him, ‘Today I declare to the Lord your God that I have come into the land that the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.’ When the priest takes the basket from your hand and sets it down before the altar of the Lord your God, you shall make this response before the Lord your God: ‘A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous. When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labour on us, we cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O Lord, have given me.’ You shall set it down before the Lord your God and bow down before the Lord your God. Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.

I Corinthians 10:1-5
I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness.