6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: How can we find the invisible Christ in our daily life? Where does our faith enter in?

December, 2006

“Reaching for the Invisible God”

John 1:1-18

Introduction: The opening lines of Howard Thurman’s famous Christmas poem, The Work of Christmas, describes where we find ourselves today--at the end of an old year and at the start of the new one. Only a week after the wonderful-ness of Christmas eve with candlelight and beautifully wrapped packages, Thurman writes:

“When the song of the angels is stilled,

When the star in the sky is gone,

When the kings and princes are home,

When the shepherds are back with their flocks,

The work of Christmas begins.”

These words of Howard Thurman makes sense, for as we draw closer to the end of another Advent/Christmas season, it becomes more apparent that the end of Christmas calls us to begin a new endeavor. Thurman describes it this way:

to find the lost,

to heal the broken,

to feed the hungry,

to release the prisoner,

to rebuild the nations,

to bring peace among brothers, to make music in the heart.

That seems like a tremendous task. There are plenty of people who will admit that they have made a mess of their lives--Jesus came to find the lost. People want to recover from a disastrous relationship--Jesus came to heal the broken hearted. You might be a person who has lived a good portion of your life and find yourself feeling empty especially after the rush of the Season. Jesus came to feed the hungry and fill with abundant life. You might be a person who can’t get past memories of the past that keep you from having joy in the present. Jesus came to bring joy and peace. You might say you are burned out from the stresses of life. Jesus came to bring music back into the hearts of people.

The gospel writer, John, is interested in helping us to personally experience this kind of faith--the kind that goes beyond the Christmas Season and makes an impact on our daily lives as well as extending out to others. John tells us that the reason we miss out on this exciting kind of faith is because God has run into a problem with the world and we have run into a problem with God.

In verse 10, John says, “He was in the world and the world was made through him but the world didn’t know he was there.”

What does this say to us today?

1. God Is In the Here and Now: Most of the time people are not even aware that He’s there. Even before we are Christians, He is trying to get our attention in numerous ways. We go right on missing Him, trying to do things on our own, and not including him in any of the details of our life. We go through our meaningless routines, doing what we’ve always done and getting the results we always get. We miss out on what is really life changing. We don’t make it a priority to find out where He is and what

He wants of us. We are not reaching out to Him most of the time. And therefore, he remains, invisible to us.

STORY: A journalist was assigned to Jerusalem. He moved to the city and got an apartment overlooking the wailing wall. After several weeks he realized that whenever he looked out at the wailing wall there was this old Jewish man standing there praying vigorously. The journalist wondered if he might find a story here. So he goes down to the wall and introduces himself to the man and says, “You come every day to the wall. What are you praying for?”

The Old Jewish man replies, “What am I praying for? Well, in the morning I pray for world peace. Then I pray for the unity of all people. Then I go home and have a cup of tea and come back to the wall in the afternoon to pray for the eradication of illness and disease in the world.”

The Journalist was moved by the old man’s sincerity and persistence. “You mean you have been coming to the wall every day to pray for these things?”

The old man nods.

“How long have you been doing this?” questioned the journalist?

“How long have I been doing this? The old fellow thinks about it for a minute and says, “Maybe twenty, twenty five years.’

The journalist is flabbergasted. “You mean you have been coming to the wall every day for twenty or twenty five years to pray for peace, the unity of people and the eradication of disease?”

The old man nods.

“Well how does it feel to come and pray every day for so many years for these same things?”

The old man replies, “How does it feel? Why it feels like I’m talking to a wall.”

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