Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Day the Sun Stood Still

The Day the Sun Stood Still
Joshua 10:1-15, John 1:1-18, Colossians 3:12-17

Part of my year long the Story of Scripture sermon series

The movie Magnolia is about 9 stories woven together, all of whom have quirkly and struggling lives. Toward the end of the movie, there is a scene where frogs start falling from the sky: thousands and thousands of frogs. The scene leaves your head scratching, until a picture on the wall appears of the Exodus, with the words: But it did happen. But it did happen answers the thought process that most viewers were experiencing, “But that can’t happen”. But it did happen.

Today’s story of Joshua offers doubters and believers the ultimate chance to spar.

Traditional theories espoused by biblical commentators…
Don Stewart offers the following possibilities for what happened in the Joshua story of commanding the sun to stand still. What Happened? 1. The passage is poetical and not to be understood literally. 2. The sun "standing still" refers to an eclipse of the sun. 3. The earth actually stopped its rotation around the sun for almost twenty-four hours per Joshuas request. 4. The earths rotation was slowed down, not stopped. This lengthened the day by almost twenty-four hours. 5. The sun and moon appeared to be out of their regular place by a supernaturally given mirage. 6. Rather than the day being prolonged, God prolonged the previous night.

Interestingly enough, there are
Similar myths throughout other cultures throughout world, though differing time periods.

At the end of the day: I don’t know, and I’m not sure I need to care.

The best evidence would be the accounts from the people who saw it: the story of Scripture, and that is what we have.

Whether it happened or not, it was told to have happened, and in that sense, it is important.

Why this story today, the day after Christmas? Why read today about the story of Joshua commanding the sun to stand still?

1. Part of the Story of Scripture passed down to us, for our faith.
2. continues the idea that God had promised the land to Israel, and now Israel was taking the land.
3. That God is on the side of Israel in reaching this goal.
4. That God’s hand accompanies the humanness of taking the land.
5. Miracles are a part of our faith.
6. Wanting to know is not faithless.
7. Because Christmas, the original story of Christ’s birth, that is another miracle story

We had a miracle story this week in the life of our congregation: Gracie. Gracie is the family dog of one of our members, and after being lost for several days, returned home this week! Was there a rational explanation of where Gracie was during this time? Of course, if we were privvy to that information. But that doesn't take away for to us, a miracle.

our understanding of miracles in everyday life, and trying to explain them, could be placed into one of 4 quadrants:
No data or faith no faith, but yes to data
Yes to faith and data yes to faith, no to data.

Christmas is about the greatest miracle: God in human flesh.

--Jesus, full of grace and truth. God’s picture of data and faith.
--to all who believed in this miracle, this person, this baby and child, would be given the right to become children of God.

How do we respond to the Miraculous God, who invaded human history with hailstorms, and ultimately, through Jesus?

--we who have believed have received one blessing after another.
(grace in the place of grace)
How do we respond? By living out Paul’s words to the Colossians:
And Mary wrapped the baby who was lying in the manger.
And we wrap ourselves with Christ’s clothing:
Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, love, peace, thankfulness.

Paul also encourages us to have the Word of Christ dwelling in us.
The WORD: John, the Logos, the Word. God spoke, and Jesus was the Word we could see and hear and understand and believe in. He was full of grace and truth.

There is a tremendous liberty in following the Colossian words. They provide a new template for living life.
Whatever you do, whether word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

And if you do that, who knows, even the sun might stand still for you.

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