Sunday’s Scripture ~ II Chronicles 15:1-12
This week at Reeves we begin a new sermon series – I am so excited!!! – entitled The Gospel According to Showtunes! Each week we will explore a Scripture passage alongside a showtune and examine where there is harmony and dissonance. Applying showtunes as an interpretative lens to Scripture will be a challenge, but it will also have its benefits.
Among the benefits is hearing the showtunes in worship. It’s gonna be awesome!
This week we Defy Gravity in partnership with Wicked and the story of King Asa from II Chronicles. Asa is of the house of David. He is a ruler in the Southern Kingdom – a kingdom that is presently pockmarked with idols. God’s people have strayed once again. Their praises seek to please static gods in the Ancient Near East rather than the mighty, dynamic, saving God that delivered them through the Sea of Reeds from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land. Asa receives a word from the Lord from God’s messenger Azariah. Azariah reminds Asa and calls to the people, “The Lord is with you, while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you abandon him, he will abandon you” (II Chron 15:2). The people’s idolatry is a sign of their sin and abandonment. In order to redirect their attention, to redirect their worship, service, and reverence Asa must remove those items that skew the people’s vision. The idols and Asherah poles – they have got to go.
At this point in the story…it looks like it’s Asa against the world. What is he going to do?
I’m a huge fan of Harry Potter. I was a little late to the Harry Potter party – but escaping into JKRowling’s England helped me write my commissioning and ordination papers. Thank you, Harry. “Always.”
In the first book of the series, Professor Dumbledore – Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – is in the midst of awarding house points at the end of term banquet. Whichever of the four houses of Hogwarts – Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, Slytherin – has the most points (awarded for good deeds and write answers, deducted for misbehavior) at the end of the year wins the coveted House Cup. At the beginning of the banquet Gryffindor – Harry’s house – was in last place, but because of a series of event (read the books folks) Gryffindor is now tied with Slytherin for first place. Has their ever been a tie for House Cup Champion? Students and staff in the Great Hall wait with baited breath…and Dumbledore says, “There are all kinds of courage. It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but just as much to stand up to your friends” (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone 17.197). And then Dumbledore awards 10 points to Neville Longbottom – the most unlikely person to ever earn House Cup Points – because he stood up to his friends. Gryffindor wins!
Asa would be rewarded 10 points…probably more. He stood up to his friends. He stood up to his family members. He removed the idols. He tore down the Asherah poles. He sought the Lord. He did not succumb to peer pressure and leave things the way they were. He knew what was right and he went after it. And if you know anything about Wicked – Asa’s acts helped him to Defy Gravity!
Where is God calling you to stand up? It could be to enemies. It could be to friends. What conviction has God given you? How is God calling you, shaping you, to become an advocate? Sit with these questions for a while…and then act. Fly high. Defy Gravity.
Prayer: “The care the eagle gives her young, safe in her lofty nest, is like the tender love of God for us made manifest. As when the time to venture comes, she stirs them out to flight, so we are pressed to boldly try, to strive for daring height. And if we flutter helplessly, as fledgling eagles fall, beneath us lift God’s mighty wings to bear us, one and all.”* Amen.
*”The Care the Eagle Gives Her Young,” The United Methodist Hymnal, 118.