Sermons

Summary: If only we could all learn the way of the Spirit, the supernatural way of listening and waiting, what a wonderful world this could be.

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I am a fan of science fiction and fantasy. I watch Syfy, qualify as at least a light-weight Trekkie, and have seen all of the Stars Wars movies multiple times… “I’m not the chaplain you were looking for.” (If you don’t get it, don’t worry. It’s not that important.) The point is…I love both watching and reading about the adventures of Gandolf and his hobbits, the daring do of Marvel comic superheroes, and the education of Harry Potter and his friends. I like Harry Dresden, and Sookie Stackhouse, Merlin the Magician and The Vampire Lestat. I’ve gone voyaging with the Dawn Treader, and know, deep down, that “winter is coming.”

You may find all of this more than a little weird, but I wear weirdness as a badge of honor. There is something in these plots and characters that breathes life into my imagination. They speak to my hopes and fears for humanity, and invite me to see beyond what is visible. They call me to embrace and enjoy and take action towards the future. They help me to remember that we all were created for supernatural living.

Though we may often forget it, and be uncertain or even ashamed of it, the Spirit of the living God empowers and encourages us towards supernatural living. That is part and parcel of our faith; we have been welcomed by the Holy Spirit into the supernatural way and truth and life. In the Spirit, we become more than we are; we become more than meat and chemicals: more than, as one of my favorite authors describes us, “little bags of thinking water held up briefly by fragile accumulations of calcium” (Terry Pratchett, Pyramids).

We have, by the grace of God and the power of the Spirit, the ability to live beyond the death-marked rhythm of stimulus and response--stimulus and response. We have the supernatural ability to reflect and meditate (In Psalm 46:10 God challenges us to “be still” and know Him.”). We have the supernatural ability to contemplate our actions and existence, and to even “sync-up” our thoughts with those of the All Mighty (“Let this mind be in you which also was in Christ Jesus…” Philippians 2:5).

One of the most surprising things about this supernatural power is the fact that it is most obviously on display in the mundane events of our lives… In how we conduct our business affairs and bear the burdens of our mortal bodies… In how we relate to others and rule our passions we reveal both the absence and the glory of the God who spoke us into being. It is not so much what we do that matters, but the Spirit in and with which we do what we do that illustrates how much more we matter than mere matter.

And it is this Spirit that we first meet in Scripture hovering over the waters of a dark, chaotic, and empty world. How long did the Spirit hover there? Peering into the darkness, unmoved by the chaos, and waiting in the void for the voice of the Father.

It was not unlike the situation we find ourselves in here today… The eminent astrophysicist and outspoken materialist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson has argued that, far from indicating the activity of a homo-sapien-loving Designer, the universe is an inefficient and dangerous place to live.

In a popular lecture making its way around the internet he argues:

Most places in the universe will kill life instantly--instantly! People say “Oh, the forces of nature are just right for life.” Excuse me. Just look at the volume of the universe where you can’t live. You will die instantly. That is not what I call the Garden of Eden, alright… We’re on a collision course with the Andromeda galaxy--gone is this beautiful spiral that we have. And of course we’re on a one-way, expanding universe as we wind down to oblivion, as the temperature of the universe approaches absolute zero. … The inner solar system is a shooting gallery. And look how long it took for multicultural life to evolve--3.5 billion years! Obviously not a good design. Then there are the earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, and one of Darwin’s favorites, lightning strikes. 99% of all life that ever lived is now extinct. None of this is any sign that there is a benevolent anything out there.

And all of this is besides the random acts of evil that haunt us on the evening news and serve as fodder for the agendas of our political idi…ots, I mean, ideologues. We are surrounded by a wasteland of broken families and relationships. Nations and classes and races rage against their injustices (both real and imagined), and wars burn around the globe, being smothered out in one place only to flare up in another. We are a people plagued by social ills: poverty, drug abuse, and violent crimes are with us always. Man’s inhumanity to man (to say nothing of the females of our species) is widely documented and bemoaned.

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