Summary: Here we see a confident proclamation of God’s Sovereignty and of Christ’s worthiness and of God’s plan in action.
Sermon by Adam Cetrangolo
Some of you here may know that up until the end of 2008, Heather and I were living on the Gold Coast, where we had been for four years. I was working as a full-time Lay Pastoral Worker in the Catholic Church and Heather was in her second last year of formation for ordained ministry. And I was thriving in my work but wrestling with the possibility that God might be calling me to ordained ministry too.
It came to pass, over the space of about twelve months, that Heather and I both discerned—beyond a shadow of a doubt—that God was calling us back to my home parish in Melbourne … that somehow God’s purpose was wrapped up in us coming back … so after many painful good-byes and much planning, we made the transition and moved back to Melbourne to take up this new role. But when we got to Melbourne:
We discovered that the parish did not have a full-time wage for me;
We discovered that the Anglican Church wanted Heather to jump through additional hoops that she had not originally thought she’d had to;
For Heather adjusting to a new Theological College and Parish Placement was tough;
The house that the Church had provided for us was in need of an Extreme Makeover!
After three months of arriving at my parish – the Parish Priest – who I had a great working relationship with retired
And as the months unfolded – there was so much additional pressure on both of us respectively – that it was seriously impacting on us spending any quality time with each other …
And we found ourselves asking the question: What is God up to?
The call to return to Melbourne and the Catholic Parish in Rosanna had been unmistakable and we felt that we had responded faithfully despite financial, social and emotional pressure …
What is God up to? Is there really a plan?
Well … I have entitled my sermon today: “God’s in Charge … So get with the program!”
And I’m going to tell you the rest of this story a little later …
I want to suggest that this passage can be divided into three parts:
God has a Program … what is going on is not simply a set of random events;
Only ONE is worthy to enact the program;
God’s program is GREATER THAN WE CAN IMAGINE … so we need to get with it!
1. GOD HAS A PROGRAM
So the context of today’s passage is the continuation of where we were last week …
Where we were last week … if you have your Bible open, you will see that John, in the Spirit, sees a vision of the Heavenly Throne Room, Chris preached about this last Sunday. And with great, magnificent and terrifying imagery, John describes how unapproachable and indescribable the throne room of God is and how all the Elders and living creatures fall before the one on the throne saying “You Are Worthy.”
NOBODY – not even the elders or the living creatures are worthy to approach the throne.
Today’s passage begins with John seeing something … v1 What does he see?