“Tripping is the emotional default of most of us; we are all tripped out about something most of the time,” said the Rev. Cynthia Hale during her sermon, “Why Are You Tripping?” at the 10:45 a.m. morning worship service Sunday. “We should just chill — we are at Chautauqua. And we have a God who will meet our every need and give us every blessing. Tripping feels like a waste of time.”
The Scripture text was Psalm 46:1-11.
“[Tripping] can mean meeting people, going on a journey,” Hale said. “It can mean weird behavior — like under the influence of drugs. And it can mean [the reaction to] bombs bursting into air and bringing down airplanes, the situation in the Middle East, Boko Haram, Ebola, the people under threat in Iraq, young people shot down at Sandy Hook, Aurora, Chicago and Ferguson.”
People can be tripping over a bad report from the doctor, losing a job, a fight with a spouse, “whatever is going on in the world. But we should be too blessed to be stressed,” she added.
“We trip over something that should be in God’s control,” Hale said. “ ‘Be still and know that I am God’ is not something we do well. We live our lives in perpetual motion, and we do just about everything on the go. We fuel our bodies by going through a drive-in like we were filling our cars with gasoline. We are on our cellphones, carrying on conversations [while we do other things]. We text God a prayer. We attack a problem with frantic activity.”
God, she said, tells us to stop, cease, desist and get to know him better.
“Our relationship with God is experiential. We get to know God intimately through meditation, prayer and study,” Hale said. “We know about prayer, but we are too busy for meditation. God invites us to steal away and call to mind the works and wonders of God.
“Do you neglect prayer until it is absolutely necessary?” she continued. “The greatest gift you can receive is the gift to God’s self. When you practice God’s presence, you find God speaking peace to you — giving you joy deep inside.”
According to Hale, to know God is also to trust God.
“This is essential to confident and carefree living,” she said. “You can trust rather than trip because you have nothing to fear. All of us are afraid of something. We are afraid that people will not like us if they really know who we are. We are afraid we are too old or too young. Some of us are afraid to live — to really live and not just exist. You have to step out of the box that fear has placed you in, that impedes your progress and causes you to settle for less than the best.
“Who are they [fears] to put limits on your possibilities?” she added. “You are shaped for significance, and you have only begun to scratch the surface. Abraham and Sarah did their best work at 90 and 100 [years of age].”
There is nothing to fear she said. Do not live in fear.
“Even if all the things you depend on fall into the sea, God cannot be moved,” Hale said. “God is our refuge and strength, who shields and protects us,” she said. “We dwell in the shelter of the Most High and rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
Hale said she remembered that, when she was 21, she thought racism would be eradicated in her lifetime.
“It is God who keeps us confident when we ask, ‘Will it ever be over?’ when we are weary and think let someone else do it,” she said. “Then we steal away and have stillness with God. God infuses us with the supernatural strength of the Holy Spirit.
“In quietness and trust is your strength,” she told the congregation. “God reminds us that we are never without hope or help. We don’t have to look for him; he is always there. God is not uninvolved or disengaged; his power to save is all sufficient. When we put our hearts and [the day’s] events in God’s hands, he is more than sufficient to meet our needs.”
God arises when we least expect it, she said.
“If we let God have his way, he is pre-eminent — in control of the world and people,” Hale said. “Everything has an expiration date. God could handle the madness now, but God has a plan for the world, for his people, for your life. Nothing can thwart God’s purpose and plan for you.
“At times, God needs us to forgive in order for us to be free — to release our anxiety and be reconciled with our brothers and sisters. At other times God needs us to be still; God can handle it. Then the world will be clear that only God could have worked the miracle.”
The Rev. Robert M. Franklin presided. David Lollis, president of the Denominational House Association and co-manager of the Disciples Houses, read the Scripture. Paul Robert served as cantor for Responsorial Psalm 19, “Lord, You Have the Words,” by David Haas. The Chautauqua Choir sang the anthem,”The Lamb” with music by John Taverner and words by William Blake. The offertory anthem was “Bless the Lord, O My Soul, by René Clausen based on Psalm 104. The organ postlude was Toccata in F, S. 540 by Johann Sebastian Bach. Jared Jacobsen, organist and coordinator of worship and sacred music, directed the choir. The Daney-Holden Chaplaincy Fund and the Jackson-Carnahan Memorial Chaplaincy provide support for this week’s services.