Good News for the Bootstrapper / Judges 6:7-16
Our present culture hails the bootstrapper (one who gets into or out of a situation using existing resources instead of external resources) as the epitome of the American Experiment -- without need, resilient, self reliant. The super Dad, the super Mom, the super Coworker. We often hear “God helps those who help themselves.”
I offer another definition of bootstrapper -- Coward. One who actually lacks the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things. Even in our attempted bootstrapping ways, we’re not calmly pausing to look around at available options and resources for solutions. We’re desperately fighting to get out of the perceived weight we’re stuck under. The story of cowardly Gideon in Judges is much the same. Just like Gideon, we need help beyond ourselves, we need rescue. Thanks be to God that “The Lord was with Gideon” just as He is with us. And thanks to the Lord’s holy wisdom: Weak cowards are exactly who Jesus is looking for. We’re plan A. He loves cowards at the end of our rope, and He moves toward us, wants to be present with us. We who were given faith are his tangible presence on earth as the Holy Spirit moves within us. He gives us life abundant beyond any resources we have available, any scheme we can think up, and anything we can see here in our earthly reality.
CALL TO WORSHIP
Open your hearts to the presence of the Lord.
We open our hearts to you, God.
In our world there is a presence making itself known day by day.
It is the presence of Christ, drawing all things to himself.
Let us take part in Christ’s presence in the world, joining with our God in our work,
in things great and small, in things noticed and unnoticed.
We pour out our lives as an offering for you and for others, Lord.
Church, hear this as you go about your work:
In quietness and confidence is your strength,
In repentance and rest is your salvation.
Let us dwell in the peace of your presence,
God of our salvation. Amen.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Merciful God, we are overcome with the weight of the world
-- with shame, numbness, and darkness.
Our souls long to be whole,
but we turn from what would make us whole again and again.
Too often we retreat into familiar behaviors that keep us guarded and safe,
but cause a slow decay within us.
We repent of this way of living, Lord.
Forgive us and help us turn.
We believe that we are not enough, so we scramble to make our lives look good to others,
or to feel ok with ourselves.
Will we always be afflicted by the need to prove ourselves worthy?
Deliver us from our stubbornness, Lord.
The Lord does not want us to prove ourselves.
The Lord welcomes us into himself just as we are
-- inadequate, incomplete, and broken.
The Lord is working in our brokenness to bring about our healing,
and the healing of the world.
How can we hold on to this truth, God?
Let us grow deep roots into the soil of your love,
trusting you and bearing fruit in season. Amen.