Sermon 24 May 2020

Sermon 894 FRED on the New Normal John 4: 1-10
I my name is Fred. Some of you already know that. I want to tell you that I am not related to your minister. We were born at the same time and place and to the same mother but we are really are no relation at all.
I have come today to preach – to give your regular guy some time off. I hear he works really hard. I don’t come by that often and when I look around, I see that many of you don’t either. The size of the congregation today is pretty much the same as it was the last time you heard I was coming.
They tell me, that you are now using contactless worship . We used to do the same thing when I was a kid. We just called it prayer – and I can tell you, if you were praying off by yourself and you felt a contact – you got plenty scared.
Anyway I suggested I show up as I had a weird experience. Someone asked for my advice. I know they often ask the preacher here and he told me to tell you he was pretty good about giving advice, but asking me for advice is as useless as a one-legged dog trying to bury a bone in an ice rink. It just doesn’t happen.
The question they had was about this here disease we are going through. It’s pretty upsetting for some. I know one fella and he is so unhappy about it he calls it the Pan-damn-it!
The good thing about it is that everyone has to stay far enough apart that you can’t tell if you have had your yearly bath.
They asked me if I had any idea about what the new normal would be like. Well golly I don’t think they were asking the right person. I don’t know what the old normal was like. Look at me.
It’s different for everybody. What I consider normal might be illegal somewhere else – probably is. Especially when it comes to marriage – just joking! But it depends where you come from. Depends what age you are too. I bet for some of you it used to be normal to be able to put on your own socks.
I had a friend – his name was Bob. He was only about 18. He was real good at running this fancy machine with all kinds of handles and levers and such. One night he was about to go on a date with a girl and his boss said he had to stay and teach a new woman how to run the machine. Bob wasn’t happy cause like I said he was about 18 and going on a date is pretty important at that age. To make matters worse the new woman had just come to Canada and didn’t speak even one word of English. So Bob decided to do things a little differently. When the boss came in on Monday morning the new woman was very pleased to show him how well she had learned the names of all the levers. She had no idea why the boss was upset when she called each one of the levers by a new swear word. The boss called Bob in and said “Bob, what you did is not good. It’s not normal. You are going to have to undo it.” Bob said, “Why should I? She thinks that is what they are called. For her – that is normal.
Normal is relative – and none of my relatives are normal.
This here disease is sure making us look at what normal was. It’s kinda setting fire to the whole world. You know a horse often lives in a barn. For that horse the barn is normal. But a strange thing. Horses are pretty smart but when a barn catches fire some of them go back in cause they think they are safe in the old normal that is burning up. They die cause they are trying to get back to what was. A city fella asked me why their young horse would go into a burning barn. I said because the fire is warm and the horse was Colt – sorry, I thought it was funny.
When those people asked me what the new normal would be like I had to tell them we needed to think about it. Our thoughts right now on this is kinda like pickin parsnips in the fall – they just haven’t had time to develop fully.
So I thought I would do a little research and help those people pick a new normal.
I had a hard time trying to figure out who to ask.
First group I asked was the pharmaceutical organizations cause they seem to be on the front edge of what is happening. They said they were going to get this world back to the old normal by giving everyone vaccinations. That had me a little worried. I had a personal difficulty with them vaccinations. When I was young we lived in an old log cabin. My daddy got hurt falling off the roof. Doctor said he was sick and gave him a vaccination to take away the shingles. From that day on the roof leaked. I thought if the pharmaceutical company can’t keep the roof on my house they sure can’t fix the world. They don’t have a key to the future
Next I went to the banks. You know it was the first time I walked into a bank with a face mask on and they didn’t call the police. You notice I didn’t say it was the first time I walked into a bank with a facemask on – just this is the first time they didn’t call the police. I spoke to the bank manager. He said this whole pandemic was good. People were finally were moving to a cashless society. I told him some of us have been cashless for years. He didn’t get it.
He said this is making everyone use etransfer and online banking. Means you have to use your debit card for more than picking locks. If you want to get money you have to use the machine. It is going to be a while for me cause I just got used to sending pictures of cash through the fax machine. The reason I use pictures is cause the new money is plastic and it melts on those hot fax rollers.
There is another problem with going cashless. Let’s just put it this way, if one of your relatives was operating an illegal – shall we say still – the government can follow all your transaction. Nuff said.
I don’t think the banks have the answer to the future
Next I looked at the real estate folks, to see if they had any suggestions about the future. The woman said that due to social distancing they were going to have to build bigger houses so families could keep apart. Houses have been getting bigger for a long time. And as far as families keeping apart – well I just have to show up and they all leave.
Finally I looked at the retail group. They want things to return to the way it was.
There is going to be some awful big sales when things open up.
Kind of reminded me of the horse going back into the burning barn.
Suddenly I thought about the burning barn.
What do you need when there’s a fire? More than marshmallows…
You need water.
I happened to be flipping through the bible and I read that part about Jesus getting water from a foreign woman. He did a lot of new things. He changed a lot of what was normal. He didn’t talk about pandemics and dying, he talked about living and living water; water that could put out a world that is burning up with greed and hatred. Living water that brings life and love.
Sometimes you need the bad to find the good
Had a friend whose house was in a tornado and a big part of a corner was destroyed. I went to see her – which wasn’t difficult cause the walls were gone. When I saw her I sympathized. She said “every bad has some good – now I get the kitchen I always wanted.
The world seems to be burning up faster than a bad rumour spreads
But maybe if we pour some living water on that fire, something beautiful will grow out of the ashes
See what happens when you ask for my advice – you get it.
Prayer
God we live in a world that is not controlled. A world in which you gave us freedom to choose wisely or not
Sometimes we excel at improving the lot of everyone’s life, Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we do a wonderful job of sorting out our own problems and sometimes – not so much.
We know you never abandon us. We know you never stop loving us. We know you never stop hoping for us
Open our hearts and minds to hear and use the answers you have for us, Open our eyes to see Christ in everyone and everything.
We pray now for people who are close to us, We pray for others who especially need pray at this time.
Now we pray in the way Jesus taught us.
We repeat together the Lord’s Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven
Hallowed by thy name
Thy kingdom come,
thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us
lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil
for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory
forever and ever Amen