Summary: This was for our church’s Christian Education Sunday and opening of our day school year.
God said, “They will proclaim my glory among the nations. And they will bring all your brothers, from all the nations, to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the LORD—on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels.” says the LORD. You may be seated.
The Great Adventure. That’s the theme of this 110th year of St. John’s Lutheran School. The Great Adventure. I love adventures. I like reading about them. I like listening to stories and dramas about adventures. One of my favorite radio drama adventures starts out with the words “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a great adventure took place.” As American’s we love adventures. Movies and books. “The Adventures of Robin Hood.” “The Adventures of Batman.”
My favorite movies are adventure stories. One is a story about a man who takes an adventure to an exotic island to perform an act of perilous courage. Like most adventure stories, this man finds himself along the way. He learns about what makes him afraid. He learns what he really believes about God and man and himself.
So many of the adventures we love are like that. The “hero” is someone like ourselves – an ordinary, everyday person in an extraordinary situation. And in getting to the end of the adventure, the hero or heroine learns quite a bit about themselves.
I’m sure you’ve heard the slogan, “life’s an adventure – live it!” Or something like that. And its true. Our lives are adventures. Some are more exotic than others, but they are truly adventurous. That was the idea that Mr. Hessler and our teachers had when they picked the theme for this school year. Each one of our students is on an adventure this year. It may not feel like it at times, but it is nonetheless true.
I recall when I was in the sixth grade. My teacher, Mr. Lambs, started me on an adventure. I didn’t think it was at the time. At the time I thought I was struggling to memorize my multiplication table in the back of my math book and twelve Bible passages that he assigned to us for the year. I remember that we made special Christmas ornaments at Christmas time out of glue, glitter, and cone-shaped drinking cups. But while I thought I was going through a typical sixth grade year in a Lutheran School at the time, I know realize that Mr. Lambs – and really, God – had started me on a road of adventure that currently has me standing before you in a pulpit as your pastor.
The dirty, little secret that Hollywood never tells you is that adventures aren’t exciting and hair-raising 24/7. Sometimes Hollywood comes close to the truth – as when Dr. Indiana Jones lectures his students that archaeology is mostly a career of research. 99% of your time is spent in libraries and x never, ever, marks the spot.
Too often, I think, we expect the adventure that is our lives to be exciting and breath-taking all the time and when it isn’t we’re truly disappointed. That might be the reason so many marriages fail these days.
School can be like that. It isn’t fun and games all the time. It can’t be if we’re going to learn anything. But it is an adventure all the same.
Right now, our school year is in the Battle Ground of the Great Adventure. We’ll be traveling through various grounds – Holy Ground, etc. and making our way to Higher Ground.
We’re starting out on Battle Ground. As Christians, our lives are battles. We’re at war with Satan and his evil angels. Jesus warned us of this but didn’t leave us unarmed or unprepared. He gave us armor and weapons to use against Satan. Faith and His Word.
And the war is already lost for Satan. He knows that. But it doesn’t stop him from attacking anyway. In fact, it makes him attack all the harder.
Last week I was reminded of this fact all too clearly. The adventure that is being the pastor of St. John’s truly is on a Battle Ground at times. Satan has been working extra hard in his attacks on us as a church. He has encouraged some members to speak ill of our ministry and our ministers. Some people talk to others in this town and I think they honestly don’t expect me to hear about it. But I do. And the talk I’ve been hearing about has be particularly harsh and un-Christian-like. That’s Satan attacking us. We must be doing something good and powerful in our ministry here at St. John’s for him to take particular aim at us in the past few weeks.
If I didn’t know that the war has already been won, I would give up on this adventure in a heartbeat. I’d walk out, wanting a refund. But Jesus won already.