Comment from Ken: In the active ministry I always wrote my sermon on a Tuesday – it was almost an unbroken rule in my life. Eventually that rule will return – until then, I appreciate your patience and am so pleased you walk with me whatever day it be.
Scripture: The familiar John 3: 16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
It is a beautiful time tonight to take a walk for the cool air has come into New Hampshire, and suddenly those hot summer days, unusual for the end of September, have disappeared, and Autumn has returned. It seems that the harder I try lately to keep up with my chores and take time for a walk with you, the “behinder” I get. Do you ever feel that way?
How is my new addition, my study, coming along? Oh it is progressing nicely, but I am somewhat holding it up. After doing so much carpentry on my last home, especially my study, I wished to do something to make my new study more a part of me. It was my desire to do a raised panel wainscoting, and my friend and great contractor figured out the various sizes of the panels, and how many of them were required. There needed to be milled at least fifty-five panels. I could do that; so I thought. For the last two weeks, I have gone to bed dreaming about panels and how soon I would have them completed for “Woody”, my contractor; that name is appropriate for he is a very skilled woodworker.
Night after night, I have gone to bed believing I would have those panels completed in a short time. Each day as I work, I realize my project is much larger that I ever imagined. Has that ever happened to you? Have you attempted a project only to find it was overwhelming? Now, this project is coming along and the panels will be completed, but there have been other projects I began not realizing their magnitude, and I never completed them. Such was a coffee table that was an octagon shape, and I was going to cover it with ceramic tile, the small squares. Most of the squares had to be cut at an angle and tile after tile cracked and broke. My problem was solved when I cut up the uncompleted table to just get rid of that ill planned project. How many projects have you finally just thrown away because the task before you became impossible? So many times a project whether it is in woodworking, sewing, or painting (whatever the craft) can seem to be easy, or a task you can handle if you have enough diligence. But once you get working on the dream you believed you could accomplish, you found diligence was not enough – the dream was just exactly that – a dream.
Jesus had a dream. When John the Baptist baptized Him, he heard God’s voice telling Jesus that there was a dream for Him to pursue – to bring humanity back to loving their Creator. Our Lord heard God speak to Him but what did God want of Him? What was the task before Him? Jesus finds the answer to that question when He goes off into the desert on a fast for forty days.
“I’m to be your Son, O Father, but what does that mean? What am I supposed to do? He would find the answer by the temptations put before Him by Satan. Was he to feed the hungry of His day? No, He would not listen to Satan telling Him He could turn stones into bread. Then He asks is He to be a miracle worker? Does God wish Him to miraculously heal the blind, the deaf and the dumb? No, feeding the hungry and healing the ill is not His central calling by God. Lastly, Satan shows Him all the kingdoms of the world. Jesus can become a king, a powerful ruler. Jesus turns away from all of those temptations offered by Satan and leaves the desert knowing that while He will heal and He will feed the hungry, God has truly called Him to disclose God’s will for humanity. Jesus is to feed the spirits of humankind. He heard God speak and call Him to show His Father’s love for His creation. That was the project before Jesus; that was to be His calling. Talk about an impossible task! Talk about a dream for the future! Did Jesus know when He accepted His calling by God what a project He had accepted?
Look at His life, His intense life that lasted after His calling to serve God for only three years. Jesus would be laughed at for His calling. His very family would believe He had become unstable and attempted to silence Him. He was almost never alone after He began His ministry. The ill, the hungry, and the sinner who wished forgiveness followed him. Jesus was hated by the religious authorities of His day. His enemies lurked ever nearby hoping to end His ministry. Indeed, Jesus’s devoted life was one of hurt and heartbreak, but also victory and goodness. We know how His life ended upon a cruel cross – He died with His task – His project – seemingly unaccomplished. When He died and was buried, His task unfinished – at least, it seemed to be unfinished.
It is then God, the Father, spoke and by God’s power the unbelievable was to occur. The project Jesus had accepted was completed by the power of God and the resurrection.
As we walk together, we both know we have projects and dreams in our life uncompleted or unrealized. But there is one project that seems impossible that we must complete – and that is to be embraced by the Love of God, as was Jesus. Our lives are called to be good lives, lives worthy of eternity, lives full of love for each other and for our God.
Maybe to be a son or daughter of God seems impossible to us, but it is not with God’s love and God’s power directing our lives. We must strive each day to be more like our Savior. Maybe we will leave this life feeling we never followed Jesus’ teachings as we should have, that our Christian lives were incomplete, but Jesus makes a promise – if you love God with all your heart and soul and your neighbor as yourself, you are worthy of that glorious blessing God gave to Jesus – beautiful life eternal.
Prayer: All loving God, call us as You called Jesus to Your service. Grant us the power that Jesus had upon this earth, to bring love and peace to others and to live each day with the power of Your presence that we might dream that our earthly projects, our lives
might be accepted as worthy of one day beholding Your face, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Until next week-
And now may the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other. Amen”