We know this proverb – one bad apple spoils the bunch.
certain this sermon could go any number of ways – if this were a
lectionary passage, it would be fascinating to compare what all
the guest preachers (and Eliza is guest preaching in Springfield
this morning) all the preachers would do with this proverb.
NRSV says: Wisdom is better
than weapons of war,
But one bungler destroys much good.
bungler. The bungler, always making you shake your head at
their ineptness or throw up a fist in frustration with the
clumsy, stupid. Michael Scott is a bungler. The guy from the
Office (you know Steve Carell…). This guy has got great heart,
wants to help others, and every time he talks you just
instinctively brace yourself because he is a fool. With a
But that is
my point it would be too easy, and I mean too easy to pick out
any number of bunglers, hotheads in this world today and use it
to inspire you to action:
would rather inspire you to action, by thinking for yourself,
and to speaking for yourself- for your loved ones, and for your
home on Earth. Wisdom is better than warheads. Quiet words of
the wise are more effective than the shouts of a ruler of
In our world
everyone is talking most of the time. Most of our
talking is documented, quotable from a blog, comment, voicemail,
e-mail, an edit to a Wikipedia page, an amazon.com transaction,
you tube videos. It’s all there. Forever. I spend a
ridiculous amount of time trying to write the perfectly
articulated well-crafted sentence as an online response to some
knucklehead I knew in high school who is spouting racist slurs
on a Saturday night. God be with me as write this sentence.
I don’t want to be misunderstood. There is much noise in
our world now – it’s hard to make & hear the wisdom among all
Think of how the internet this year has built solidarity for
causes like the non-violent resistance in Egypt - or how news
story or petitions can be shared quickly, one step, connecting
to all the people you can be to share some wisdom, spread the
word. Dutch Brothers did it last week to raise money for
Officer Kilcullen? When wisdom is spoken it is easier than
ever to spread it.
regardless of its ease or convenience in our bones we live
another proverb: It is best to think before you speak. I mean
what’s the number one rule of carpentry? Measure twice and cut
once. And you know who started out as a carpenter? Harrison
But hear this
from Ecclesiastes – even the weakest of voices can save the
whole city. You may be poor in spirit, poor in education, poor
financially but you can still speak and save the city. There is
a time to speak up and when you speak, do so from the heart,
with passion and sincerity.
You have got
to speak it – I know. That shiver up your spine, that
feeling of repulsion most of you now have, that deep anxiety – I
know that. We all know that. (The ones that don’t know this
anxiety will never hush up.)
you feel at being asked to speak your wisdom, to tell your
story, to lead us in prayer, that is The anxiety I have in
preparing a message for Sunday morning .
What if I get
it wrong? What if I make a mistake? Someone will hear me and
all the good work I’ve been building toward will be lost.
And that may happen. It wouldn’t be the first time.
teacher told us last week –there is hope - “by yourself you are
unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round
up a third? A three-stranded rope isn't easily snapped.”
are not alone, that others will speak with you – are you ready
to speak up? There is a community here listening. There are
fifty other people here who want to speak up too but are too
nervous to do it alone. Can you put yourself out there? Can
you take a hand as you do so? That is what Jesus is asking us,
what Jesus asks Peter in John 21 – Do you love me? Then Feed my
sheep. Do you love me? Love my sheep. When you speak up (and
it is time to speak up) on behalf of our children, when you
speak up for justice, when you speak up for the protection,
conservation, of the Earth, you are not just giving your wisdom
to the world – echoing the prophets in the Old Testament, the
apostles in the New Testament – you also discover who is there
to stand with you – catch you when you fall, help you back up
should you make that mistake, when you are the bungler you so
despise. And that makes us stronger.
the youth of Eugene took that risk and spoke up. The I matter
march was sponsored by Spencer Butte Middle School here in
Eugene but there were sister marches all over the country, It
was on Mother’s day – and more than 1 million youth and children
with parents, teachers, friends, marched in cities for climate
change. This event was organized by youth, supported by adults,
but motivated by the youth to send a message to the “ruling
generation”, send a message that is so powerful that it actually
causes a real shift in our world. (Pull up website) – Look at
the theme at the top of the site: Our Climate. Our Future. Our
Revolution. (check it out at
www.imattermarch.org) There is more to do – you can help
them by visiting the site.
are only one aspect – the education another. But these teens
are suing the government for not protecting their future and for
allowing climate change policies to serve the corporations and
threaten the security and health of the Earth.
don’t have enough money to play the game of corporations, they
are not even able to vote, and they know that politicians don’t
necessarily listen to one voice, let alone one that can’t vote,
but they are asking all the little voices to stand up
together. And asking the parents who do vote to stand up with
leave them there alone – it is the right time to speak
up. These young citizens are trying to change the way we all
think – about our daily consumption and energy use yes – but
also the way we think of ourselves.
Pass it on - Your voice
matters. You can speak up and we will stand beside you.
There is also
a right time to listen – it is just as valuable as speaking up –
to listen to one another, grow because of one another.
I said when
we started the series that I was leading up to an event on May
22 – The Million Letter March – and I’d like to invite Phyllis
Weare up to speak her wisdom with us. Phyllis is the chair of
the Power and Light Committee, who is organizing this event.
share her personal motivations and inspirations for speaking up
for the Earth. She will advocate for each person to think of
their personal reasons for speaking up.
this video about the Million Letter March. (4 minutes) link
can be found at:
You know with
all our connectedness – for the ease we have in communicating to
our congressmen, our president, our mayor. It is in fact too
easy apparently and so a personal letter is what it will take –
To date there are 1315 letters submitted – we want to add
matters and it is right to speak up.