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June 24th, 2018

Sermon: The "Voice of Truth"

A Sermon preached at St. Paul’s, Baileys Crossroads in Falls Church, VA on June 24, 2018
5 Pentecost, Year B (RCL): 1 Samuel 17:(1a, 4-11, 19-23) 32-49; Ps. 9:9-20; 2 Corinthians 6:1-13; Mark 4:35-41

I speak to you in the Name of God: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

One of my favorite Christian bands is a group named Casting Crowns.  Seeing the lessons for today and knowing that I'd be preaching, I've been playing Casting Crown’s "Voice of Truth" repeatedly this week, often singing along.  The song, written by Mark Hall of Casting Crowns and Steven Curtis Chapman, relates the account of David and Goliath and today’s Gospel as Peter walks on the water to Jesus.

In First Samuel, the soldier Goliath vividly depicts the superiority of Philistine military might.  He mocks Israel’s God.  “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?”  And he curses David.  In contrast, young David is armed with a slingshot and a deep reliance on God.  "You come to me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This very day the lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down …”  David’s victory witnesses to the whole earth that “there is a God in Israel.”

In today's Gospel from Mark is another life-threatening moment.  The disciples who accompany Jesus fear the winds will shred their sails and that waves will sink their boat.  As Jesus sleeps, they panic, and waking him, they ask, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?"  After rebuking the wind and calming the sea with the words, "Peace! Be still!", Jesus challenges his disciples with "Why are you afraid?  Have you still no faith?"  I sometimes imagine what would happen if Jesus were to ask them, "Don’t you know you have God with you?"

I wonder that because these same followers of Jesus have been with him.  He had recently rebuked demons through the power of his word.  Jesus has been revealing himself through his teachings and signs to be the Son of God.  And yet, the disciples still wonder who Jesus is.  Who or what do they imagine Jesus is?  How do we see and know Jesus?  Do we imagine God with Us?  Can we acknowledge God with US?  Do we see this?

I’ve since learned that "Voice of Truth" relates to Mark Hall's struggles with dyslexia and his learning issues as a child.  Co-written by Steven Curtis Chapman, the track is a pop rock ballad that encourages listeners to face their giants, tackle their personal fears, and to step out in faith.  “Voice of Truth” was on the debut album of Casting Crowns released in 2003.  Let me read you the chorus:
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