Preaching on the same lessons many times can be challenging, so you look for new connections and different ways to present the Good News. For this sermon, it is Play Doh. Everyone knows about Play Doh. As long as you put it back in the container when you are done, it will remain soft and malleable and you will be able to use it again and again to create something new. In Pastor’s case, he was the master creator of snakes. Short ones, long ones, multiple ones and ones that coiled. No matter the color or the flexible project’s interpretation, it was always the same Play Doh. This flexibility is demonstrated by God in the first lesson.
Through His prophet, Jeremiah, God tells his people he is doing a new thing – a new covenant which He will write on our hearts. The old covenant was broken so God exercised His flexibility and came up with a new plan. A new plan that God’s people will be able, through faith, to understand in their hearts. This what we are trying to discern on Workshop Wednesdays. We have to figure out what God wants us to do.
In the second lesson from Romans, Paul reminds his audience to be flexible and remember that our relationship with Gods is based on our faith…which is given to us by God. Therefore we can boast about this gift given to us by God. We, the Lutheran version of Christianity/Play Doh are helped to understand this by reading scripture through the lens of our confessional documents. God’s desire is to have a relationship with us. We are justified by His grace through faith. It is written on our hearts.
Jesus was teaching the crowd in the gospel lesson about freedom. But displaying their inflexibility and lack of understanding their own history, they declared that they had never been slaves to anyone. The fact is that there is a long history of them being exiled and held as slaves. So where were these feelings coming from? Was it because they were descendants of Abraham and therefore God’s chosen people? The enslavement that Jesus is talking about is when we think we can do it on our own. But relying on our own ability to handle everything that life throws at us can lead to despair, but if the Son will make you free, you will be free indeed. God is the one who is in charge. When we share suffering, we begin to develop bonds and build relationships. It is through these relationship that we can see God and have an opportunity to share our faith with others.
Play Doh comes in many different colors, just as there are many different denominations of Christians. For God there is no distinction, for we all fall short of the glory of God. The new covenant is possible only because of Jesus’s death and resurrection. God forgives our iniquities and remembers our sins no more. His grace liberates us from sin and empowers our faith in Jesus. We can all proclaim the same Good News.