Summary: In today’s world everything seams to have targets that must be met, however in our lives journey would, are targets the priority our values? Our Lord was driven by his values, quality before quantity.
This sermon was delivered to St Oswald’s, Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland on the 6th June 2010; St Oswald’s is a Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries.
“Please join me in a short prayer from Psalms 19:14, and ” Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. Amen.
Sometimes without our prompting, life will alter pace and change direction. For example: the birth of a child, sickness, work problems, marriage, and divorce. All sort of things can happen to us which take us well outside our comfort zones.
Now when these events occur some of us want to withdraw completely, to try and rest, relax and reflect on what has or is about to happen; in order to get our bearings and dealt with it.
For example, a friend on mine related the experience of the death of his mother to me. He said it had been an ongoing battle with cancer which she eventually lost.
This death became the catalyst for him intensifying his work load. Basically he hid in his work, and drove himself so hard that he ignored the signs of what was actually taking place in his life. His work had become his life, to the detriment of his family and his own well-being.
The death of his mother had propelled him into an unhealthy place, while outwardly; his work seemed to be thriving. In reality, deep within he had feelings of loneliness, isolation and patheticness.
There was a current in his life that was pulling him toward a depression, and he could not find his way out. He was in unchartered waters for a first time in his life, and he realized he needed someone to help him steer a course.
Fortunately he found help in an older Christian who just so happened to be a pastoral counsellor, and with time this pastor took him out of his current despair and returned him to “normality” if you could use that word.
He had looked at himself clearly from different directions, and with help, he discovered new things about himself, and about the life that was all around him that he had not noticed before. He also viewed God differently and allowed the Holy Spirit to re-alter his thinking. The heartache which he had first felt gradually changed to a deeper and stronger hope than he had ever known before. The Holy Spirit had led him to a new place in life.
As we read the Old Testament reading and the Gospel this morning it seems that both Elijah and Jesus were led by the Holy Spirit to a compassionate place; a place that God needed for them to find. Both the women in the scriptures were in a place of despair like my friend; and were hopelessly looking for a way out.
By worldly standards their situations were hopeless, but with God’s intervention, all things are possible.
Life’s destination is not really a place, but a relationship with a person; and that person is Jesus. Jesus wants to be on life’s journey with us personally; as He is our personal saviour. Jesus wants us to get to know Him better, and He wants us to let Him guide us in all manners of life; positive and negative, good and bad. God is more interested in us, than in our life’s successes or failures.
The Bible is clear about this, and that was what Paul meant in the New Testament reading this morning where he declared that his knowledge of God was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit directly. The King James version reads,
“I want you to know, brothers and sisters that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it directly through a revelation of Jesus Christ”.
It was Paul’s relationship with Jesus through prayer, that received his mighty revelations that led to the forming the Christian church. Paul actually wrote most of the New Testament, and he did so by revelations revealed by the Holy Spirit Himself.
Now the bible as a whole is one big ‘journey’s’ story, and one of the best known is the story of the Hebrew slave’s journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. If you look at a map this trip should have taken 40 days; but … it took 40 years! God’s great interest here was not in getting the Israelites out of Egypt, but getting Egypt out of the Israelites.
The Hebrews time spent in the wilderness was not God getting to know his people, but getting His people to know God; so they could get to know of His love, His strength and His faithfulness over and over again.