"But our law, our life is determined by our relationship with Jesus Christ. And we must live as Jesus told his disciples – 'What's on your money? Give to Caesar what is Caesar's.' Behave as a good citizen, by all means, but you are citizens first of the kingdom of God by your own and my own confession of faith. Second indentation, I believe saving means that we are welcomed again into the heart of God who first gave us life and breath. And that happens, too, as we welcome Christ into our hearts and into our lives, that our saving is not just for eternity, but for the kingdom of God already loose on the earth.
"Next, we confess our sinfulness both private and public, personal and corporate, acknowledging that we like lost lambs wander away into forms of religion of our own design, wanting to have, as I have described often, one foot in the profane, one foot in the righteousness of God and believe that that's an acceptable behavior.
"Here's a part of my assertion, here's a part of my risk, here is a part of my life. You may or may not agree, it's okay, but I have to say it anyway. We must dispel the myth that faith and morality are private matters. That is not true. And now you see in our own region the implications of what that means. Faith and morality in the Gospel of Jesus are never private matters. If the first assertion of faith in Jesus Christ as savior and lord along with a moral implication is true, then this assertion goes deeper to say, in the common life of St. Paul's, in the common life of every congregation on the face of the planet, these compromises of private faith and private morality are the very thing that thwart our capacity to welcome new people into our life. That would be true for me, that would be true for you.
"The assertion that in the West faith and morality are our personal business is a head-on collision with the Gospel of the kingdom of God, where we are formed into the Body of Christ, where our corporate morality defines our personal behavior. That's a hard saying. It makes itself manifest first in the lives of children who grow up to be adolescents. Any of you raising adolescents? This is no easy assignment, but they are testing the theory. Relationally, personally, psychologically, spiritually – they are testing the theory, whether or not they are entitled to a private faith and morality and whether or not you and I are going to stand tall for that which is the commonly held ethic in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You and I are being tested everyday by the normal developmental matters that affect the life of young people. They know it, and we know it.
"When one of those we love and move and with whom we have our being with for many years finds him or herself in a complicated situation, we recognize that the nature of the corporate now is more profound than the nature of the personal.
"My third assertion grows out of the same theses. My way of life, my confession of faith in Jesus Christ as savior on the one hand and lord of the other, means that Jesus is the master of my destiny. That's a hard place to get to. I believe in Mr. Wesley's parlance that would be the quest for sanctification. The holiness of life that grows out of these first two assertions – Jesus, faith in him has a moral implication. To be saved is to be saved on the ground, not just for eternity which is a glorious celebration, but for the way in which the people are formed and live together as a light to the communities around.
"But for me to surrender my life to God as lord was an exceedingly hard assignment. This third assertion that Jesus is the master of our destinies is given great, great depth in the text we read as the Gospel lesson and the Corinthians passage in chapter six. Jesus, without you, we are perishing. Jesus, without you, we are not able to sail in the midst of the storm."
"Over these many years and these five, now starting six, with you, a number of you have taken the opportunity to call on us to share your stories. And we cherish those private and pivotal moments when in confidentiality you reveal your life to us. That's what it means to engage in lordship – when the faithful of God do not pretend that they are perfect; when the faithful of God find confidence in one another and yield to the presence of the Holy Spirit in the midst of our lives.
"I could tell story after story about parishioners. One of those is Francis Boyer in Arlington church – I told you this several years ago but it seems germane. After one Sunday preaching, Francis waited for me in the back of the sanctuary, and these were her words very quickly stated: 'Ed, all of us know that you want us to do something, but none of us can figure it out.' That was a great gift, because you see I was operating out of my own intellect apart from the lordship of Jesus. I had failed to pray that the Holy Spirit in God's presence in my life to find out what lordship means.
"The answer to the perplexing questions – believe it or not – the answer to the perplexing questions of storms around us and within us is to yield again to the sovereignty of God, so that you are not working in your own strength when the storms and the rampage comes.
"When we pray, we pray like this: 'Our Father who art in heaving, holy is Your name. Your' – what? – 'Your kingdom come' – where? – 'on Earth.' That is an ethical prayer of the deepest proportions, spiritual profoundly so. Politically, yes, as we understand the root meaning of the word 'politics,' the way in which we live together in culture. Profoundly, a prayer for responsibility -- for the church to live in the mandates and the mission of our lord Jesus, but to do it in such a way that we don't compromise our rhetoric. To say yes to Jesus is to say yes to what Jesus commands.
"My pastoral functions with Jerry and others are linked to that priestly mandate – to heal, to forgive, to restore. Our work here with those who have been victimized by lots of things in their journeys – our work here, the pastoral work, administratively and otherwise is to heal, to reconcile, to make new. But to do it in the consciousness that our immorality, our righteousness or our unrighteousness, may have beneficial or devastating effects on the way in which we live together as the Body in Christ.
"We will have to face it. This is a turning-point moment. This is a time for new beginnings, of bold and creative steps forward. If the world has chosen for a little slice of time to watch us, it is our mandate to give back our utmost for God's highest glory. There is no other option. Ponder these things as we come to the end.
"In the midst of our personal lives, our family life, our community life and our life in the world which would include all of our relationships. In every social setting, in our vocations, in our worship and practice life, the discipleship that's given to us, we are called, gathered and empowered by the love of God. There is no other answer. That is our mandate. That is the way I must live. And that is the way you must live, too, personally and together, that Christ might be glorified and some saved.
"This is my response to the trial and my response to the verdict on Friday. May we pray for all of those who are victims and all of those who are predators. Mine is to accept, not necessarily to agree, and to live out of my baptism and you out of yours, so that the world might see us and that will make all the difference, by the power and the spirit of God. Amen."
Pastor Zeiders, asked July 3 by The Christian Post if he would like to add a post-script to the transcript of his sermon, declined, saying, "I have nothing to add to the transcription. I think it speaks for itself and prayerfully reveals the love of God for these white-water times and mysteries."
The full audio of "Peace! Be Still!" is available on St. Paul's United Methodist Church's website.