Proper 29 (B), November 23, 2003
The One We Can Trust
As John takes up pen to
write he begins to address those who feel defeated; those who are
troubled and distressed; those whose faith is waning; those who wonder
just when God will “right the wrongs”. That is: People just like us!
And John does not begin with shallow moralizing; not with simple
John begins building on a strong
foundation; with the constants, e.g.”from Him who is, . . . was . .
. is to come;” “. . . from the seven spirits . . . ;” and “. . .
from Jesus Christ.” He then moves to what has been done for us.
1) “We are loved.” “To him who loved us . . .” (vs. 5)
2) “We are loosed.” “. . . to him who has freed us . . .” (vs. 5)
3) “We are lifted.” “. . . has made us to be a kingdom and priests . . .” (vs. 6)
loved us, loosed us, and lifted us. How powerful! Yes, it is a
powerful statement about God’s accomplishments on our behalf. Yet the
focus of this passage is not on his accomplishments. The focus is on
Him; on God’s enduring nature and presence!
are we to take seriously God’s “promises?” When God is a constant
in our lives, in our relationships, in our congregations, and in our
world. And what could be more affirming of “God’s constancy” than the
triumphant “was . . . is . . . is to come!”
are we to make sense of those extended times when it appears God is
unavailable and unconcerned? How are we to depend on the freedom from
sin and life’s enduring hardships? How are we to depend on God’s
elevation of our lives from meaninglessness to meaning, from despair
to hope, from doubt to faith?
We reflect on
His Word; we reflect on the centuries of God’s continuing work. And
can we better summarize it than John does? God loved us, set us free,
and elevated us to a new sense of purpose and meaning? And we depend
on these enduring works because of God’s enduring nature and presence.
a woman asked me how she was to make sense of God’s silence. Others
had told her to “Continue to pray . . .” “God only wants the best
for you . . .” “Trust God.” But her life of faith had dimmed over the
years of loneliness. A recent broken relationship had damaged her
deeply. And where was God when this person of faith was injured?
Where is God for her; for us?
that she take a few moments to review her past journey with God. Where
had she journeyed with God? Where had God led her? As she “filled in
the details” of her faith journey she was reminded that God had been
with her. God had answered her past prayers.
are times when our lives are shaken to the foundations. They can be
shaken to the point one wonders about the abiding presence of God. We
need to be reminded of One who is the “Beginning” and “Ending;” “One
who is, . . . who was . . . who is to come, the Almighty.” We need to
get our vision from the limiting daily struggles of our lives to a
vision of greater purpose, greater depth and breadth, greater
horizons. How? To remember and affirm the unchanging, unswerving
presence of One who from Alpha to Omega, Beginning and Ending, was .
. . is . . . is to come!
Sermon brief provided by Earl J. Nichols, Pastor, Garden Community
Church, Bradenton, FL.