This sermon by John Grebe, ULC Minister of Children, Youth & Young Adults was not written out prior to preaching. John “reconstructed” the sermon from his notes and his memory after he had given the sermon.
“OH GOD! W here is Jesus?” 5-28-17
Allegory, Metaphor, and Systematic theology. Patterns:
For many years I have enjoyed allegory, metaphor, and systematic theology. I look for patterns in things because I believe God’s fingerprints are everywhere. When looking straight at ball with a patter we tend to believe.that that is the pattern of the whole ball. When looking at the ball from a different angle that allows a different patter to be revealed we realize our perception is limited to the data we can see and understand. The Bible is full of imagery like this that is perceived a certain way until our perceptions change.
First Lesson: Perception, We stand looking in fear yet have been given power:
After Jesus ascends to heaven the apostles stand staring up to the heavens. I find that at times it as if we all stand staring to the heavens looking as though we want to ask the question “Oh God! Where is Jesus?” We witness all these great things he has said and the great miracles he has performed. We want to know why he seemingly has abandoned us.
Second Lesson: Perception, Suffering in Christ’s name.
Adding to our bewilderment is the second passage with our right to suffer because we are servants of Christ. There are moments when suffering in Christ’s name sounds heroic but not really. I am very uncomfortable about this idea. I want Christ to make things easier and I want him to be with us now ruling the earth.
Gospel: Perception, We are given to Jesus and He gives us God’s words:
Even though the apostles and know all of Christianity has seen the greatness of Christ we continue to long for Christ’s sovereignty on earth. We are promised great things through the Holy Spirit. It is easy to be doubtful when miracles seem so distant and Christ is no longer with us.
What do these passages mean; what is the scripture telling you?:
As a child I thought I often thought the Apostles were fools for not understanding Jesus. I struggled with the hypocrisy of adults who claimed to follow Christ yet avoided difficult practices and suffering.
As an adult, I am also dumbfounded, OH GOD…:
It isn’t as easy as it looks. We see the other side of the ball and realize there are consequences to our actions and it is hard to know what will happen when and if we confront others or help others. The fear often prevents us from reaching out. The Apostles saw miracles, healing, and changed hearts and yet they hesitated due to the fact they relied heavily on Christ to do these things.
Much like the Jews I grumble in fear and doubt:
Even the Jews in the wilderness complained shortly after having witnessed God’s promise of freedom and the miracles he presented through Moses. The heroic nature of Moses and Christ are hard to fathom. It is a self sacrificing for others that seems to be more motivational that if it is just for your self. I struggle when it comes to being heroic for myself. Making sacrifices so that I might be healthier or suffering so that I might be stronger.
Memorial Day is a day of honoring those who have died after having sacrificed much to serve. Often they have given their life for others. Just the other day 2 men died while a third was wounded projecting a Muslim on a train in Portland, OR. The world affairs are caustic environment issues are being ignored, and politics are disturbing. And so I ask
And so it goes I doubt…UNTIL people like Chris and Kevin:
Chris was a youth in middle school when I met him. He was hyper, fun, and he liked to stir things up. Once while at a horse camp he helped to play a prank of a bear scare on the girls. His community of friends were all city kids but the girls at camp were mostly Canadian Country kids. The girls were a little startled but the next night the girls decided to get even. I sat by a fire watching as they crept over to the tent reached inside and pulled Chris out of his sleeping bag and out of the tent. As the girls stood there with Chris dangling between them I could hear Chris shouting and then all of a sudden the girls screamed and giggled as they ran away. In the moment of pandemonium it dawned on me that Chris had just fallen into a patch of stingy nettles and to make matters worse he was naked. The next day he was laughing about the whole thing. Chris had that way about him, he could see an adventure in all things. Years later Kevin Chris’s dad called me up one day and said that Chris was going off to war in Afghanistan and he had asked his dad to let me know that I was to do the funeral if it should come to that. It is moments like that when I feel the power of the Holy Spirit stirring in me.
Take notice of Mary in worship:
Mary had been corrected by Jesus when she requested to see him. He explained that it was more important to be present with those around us rather than worrying about holding on to him. He was revealing that he had important things to do in heaven that will benefit all so worrying about the one isn’t as significant as his sacrifice for all. I am sure it was a hard lesson for her to hear. We need to stop looking to Heaven and look to each other so that we don’t miss that opportunity to be heroic like Christ. After the ascension Mary is in with some of the apostles worshiping just as we come together to worship. May we come together to worship and learn how the Holy Sprit is in each of us so that we might proclaim OH GOD there he is!