Summary: A sermon to help the church fulfill her role to evangelize those seeking the mystery of the spiritual.
Brothers and sisters in Christ and guests welcome to Christ’s Church in the Park.
As most of you know I am a graduate student. Whenever I travel to school at KCC in Kentucky, I realize immediately that their world is different than mine. Immediately as I depart Blue Grass field in Lexington I begin to see wide-open fields, I think they call them pastures. They line Man O’ War road and Versailles Road as I travel to KCC. The wide open spaces impress me and free me especially as we are becoming increasingly crowded here in the Tampa Bay area with a population exceeding 2,000,000 and growing in a geometric progression daily. I find it is easy to tune into a Christian radio station as I travel that 102 miles to the campus and there is no shortage of Country or Blue grass music either. AND yet as much as they are different we are similar because within any geographic area in the United States there exists 1000’s of differing worldviews. We are not in Kansas anymore Toto, the world has changed!
May I explain what I mean? The Enlightenment or pre-modern era that ended in the 1500’s believed that truth was based on God- much like many of you who are maturing as Christians. But listen to me now and please do not be threatened and do not think that postmodern thinkers are your enemy they are not. My prayer for this message is that it will help us in our maturation process as Christians as we try to understand the world in which we live today and gain a more clear understanding of our neighbors who are also hungry for a spiritual journey and searching for the truth.. Secondly, I pray that those in our presence today who are seeking to know more about Christianity and spirituality will consider Jesus in their journey for truth. I want you to clearly understand that the Bible teaches us about a spiritual journey with Christ that begins by faith and baptism, but never ends while we are on this earth. In a very real way we are all seeking God’s transcendent holy ground that brings us closer to answering the mystery of why we exist. Why were we created? What is the meaning to one’s life? Is this all there is to life?
My wife and I have three adult children and two are still at home- they have all expressed discontentment with their current stature in life. Probably the best way to explain this to you is to read you a poem written by a young man named Jason Lehman.
It was spring, but it was summer I wanted, the warm days, and the great outdoors.
It was summer, but it was fall I wanted, the colorful leaves, and the cool, dry air.
It was fall, but it was winter I wanted, the beautiful snow, and the joy of the holiday
It was winter, but it was spring I wanted, the warmth, and the blossoming of nature.
I was a child, but it was adulthood I wanted, the freedom and the respect.
I was twenty, but it was thirty I wanted, to be mature and sophisticated.
I was middle aged, but it was twenty I wanted, the youth and the free spirit.
I was retired, but it was middle age I wanted, the presence of mind, without
My life was over. But I never got what I wanted.
Pre-modern man believed he had solved these issues and questions through faith in God. His religious beliefs were primary to all areas of his life and through living a life that worshipped God by obedience the world’s problems could be solved. The person in the enlightenment period for the most part believed in absolute truth and it was God’s story what the scholar’s call a metanarrative that was the basis for moral absolutes. God was the center of the universe.
The modern period was from the 1500’s until the 1960’s. People still believed that truth was absolute, but notice the change. Absolute truth no longer came from the creator at the center of the universe. Truth now came from human reasoning, from the scientific method. If you could not touch it or taste it, it could not be considered absolutely true. The center of the universe changed from God to us. God created us in His image and man believed he had progressed long enough and far enough that he could return the favor and transform God into the image we needed or wanted Him to be. You have heard the story I am sure of the 3rd grade Christian girl who expressed her belief in God as creator of the universe to her teacher. The teacher embarrassed her by asking her, how can you believe in a God you cannot see? Her answer was priceless when she replied, “I cannot see your brain am I to assume you do not have one?” The modern world believed that man was progressing on a higher evolutionary plane and through progress and knowledge man would make the world a wonderful place. But we have not evolved into a world community of loving, caring individuals and World War II and subsequent wars have for the most part dispelled this myth.