Sunday, July 24, 2016

Cosmic Vending Machine?

"Cosmic Vending Machine?"
Luke 11:1-13
Calvary - St. George's Church

A couple years ago I played in a co-ed flag football tournament on the Gettysburg battlefield. Me and seminarians from all over the East Coast came together at Gettysburg Lutheran to compete in the ‘Luther Bowl.’ Over the course of that day, I caught the eye of cute seminarian from Princeton Theological Seminary. (Well, not really. It was the other way around, but whatever!) Having played her team in the championship game, I worked myself up to ask for her number. I knew that at the end of the tournament all of the teams would gather for drinks. This would be my chance. It’d be time to cash in. Time to deliver. Only, when it was time to come together the Princeton Seminary kids never showed up. They’d peaced out early. My opportunity stripped away. 

But that did little to deter my younger self. Arriving back in Pittsburgh it was midterms week, but instead of studying I was on the internet trying to find the girl whose name I’d never asked for. My friend said it would be impossible. That only strengthened my resolve. And after hours and hours of stalking, I mean searching, I found her. (Don’t ask me how. I remember being ready to give up only moments earlier, but I had done the impossible.) I had to send her a message now. So I put something together. Tried to follow all the rules: be funny, brief, and direct-ish. And pressed send. And then waited. And waited. And waited... What was I expecting? This girl hadn’t even noticed me, and this was all so creepy. 

But then, days later, lo and behold, a red notification box appeared at the top right of my Facebook window. It was a message. It was from her. My shameless persistence had paid off!

In this morning’s Gospel Lesson, we see another picture of shameless persistence. (Yes, that is my transition. Shameless, get it?) But, no really, in today’s reading, we see another instance of troublesome persistence. Jesus is inviting his disciples to petition God with boldness. The author of Luke is encouraging us to pray unrelentingly. Why? Because--as this text makes clear--God indeed responds to the prayers of his children. 

Now, this is not the first time I’ve read this passage. It’s not even the first time I’ve preached on it. So I’ve known about it’s message for quite some time now. Nevertheless, I still don’t pray as often as I should. And never mind should. I still don't even pray as much as I’d like to.