Summary: Finding hope in these stressful times.
“Have You Thought About Heaven Lately?”
By Rev. Ken Sauer
Anyone who has been around a
t-v lately has got to wonder: “My gosh are we ever going to get out of this quagmire that the world is in?”
I mean, what a mess!
I’ve spoken to folks recently who have given up on watching the news simply because it is either too frustrating, too depressing or both!!!
“Crisis”, “Danger”, “Terror” are some of the many words that are used by newspersons and politicians when describing our current climate today.
And how couldn’t they use these words?
Just think of the near-miss terrorist attack that was thwarted, by the grace of God, just this past week!
In our Psalm for this morning, Psalm 130, the Psalmist begins with: “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Lord hear my voice!”
I think that there are a lot of folks who can relate to this plea!
“Hear my voice, O Lord, as the world appears to plummet further and further into war and violence.”
“Hear my voice, O Lord, as the future comes to feel less and less stable and secure.”
“Hear my voice, O Lord, as I look for meaning beyond what I read in the newspapers and see on t-v!”
“Hear my voice, O Lord, there must be more to life than this!!!”
“There must be more to this life than meets the eye!”
And in our Gospel Lesson for this morning Jesus brings us the good news by telling us that there is much more to this life than meets the eye!
He tells us that there is a hope and that there is a future.
And then He tells us where we need to look in order to find this hope, and what we must believe in order to have this future.
Having fed the 5,000, having walked on water, and having begun to speak to the crowds using metaphors such as “bread of God” to declare His identity Jesus continues with: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”
But the people listening to all this begin to “grumble” about Jesus because for them…they do not understand that there is more to Jesus than meets the eye!!!
He is more than a carpenter’s son.
He is more than just another person from Nazareth!
So Jesus says to them: “Stop grumbling among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…”
Now the word that Jesus uses for “draws” is interesting.
It’s the same word which is used in the Greek translation of the Hebrew when Jeremiah hears God say: “I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”
But this word also almost always implies that there is some kind of resistance to the drawing.
For instance, it is the same word that is used in John Chapter 21 for drawing a very heavy net full of fish to the shore.
And in Acts Chapter 16 it is the same word that is used to describe how Paul and Silas were being dragged before the magistrates in Philippi.
Back in John Chapter 18 it is the same word that is used in describing a sword being drawn from a belt or a sheath.
God draws us to God’s self with loving kindness…but it appears that there is always some kind of resistance on our part.
Are you resisting the draw of God on your life?
Am I resisting the draw of God on my life?
If so, what is getting in the way?
What is causing us to resist?
What is keeping us so attached to this world that we are resisting the draw of God’s loving kindness?
In verse 45 Jesus tells us that “Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.”
Are we listening to God as He is wooing us to Himself?
Are we listening to God as He is calling out to us in His loving kindness…
…in order to draw us into His heaven, His eternity?
This world is in a mess.
Extremists across the globe are lobbing bombs and missiles at one another, and here in our own country we do not feel so safe and secure ourselves.
Daily we are reminded that another event such as what happened on September 11, 2001 could be right around the corner.
And financially, many of us do not feel so secure either.
As the gas prices continue to increase and housing costs skyrocket we wonder: “How are we going to be able to afford to live?”
And as more and more companies continue to outsource, we wonder: “What does the future hold for the United States of America?”