Monday, May 24, 2010

Faith Is A Lifelong Journey

At our last music and worship committee people were asking for me to more fully explain special days on the church calendar.
Days like today.
It has been forty days of the Easter season.
Jesus has been ascended, and his followers are praying and waiting for the Holy Spirit as promised by Jesus.
Pentecost is often referred to as the Birthday of the Church.
For on Pentecost the Church is born.
But this is by no means the end of the story.
It is the beginning of the story in many ways.
What started at Jesus birth what culminated in his resurrection is continued through the work of the church.
From the day of Pentecost the Church is born and from here the Church has much learning to do about what it means to be the Church.

It would appear on the surface that once Jesus is resurrected that everything would be settled.
But for the Church nothing is really settled.
The Church has to continue grow in faith in light of the resurrection, to fully comprehend and understand what it meant to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Think about it this way, it will take another 4 centuries before the great creeds are written.
Before that time the Church will carry on a great debate about what it means to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
In fact, we too are still learning about it.
The Church in our day is struggling with what it means to follow Jesus in the world that we find ourselves.

As individual members of the Church of Jesus Christ all of us are constantly on a journey to try and understand what it means to have Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
One of the problems that we are facing is that sometimes people believe that they can know everything about faith in only a short time in their life.
Often times we have about an eighth grade education in our faith life.
Let me tell you that this is only the tip of the iceberg.
For faith takes a lifetime to learn and understand.
Not only that but often times once we understand it we change.

In other words that faith we have at five years old is not the faith we will have at fifty-five.
And the faith we have at fifty-five is not the one we have at ninety-five.
I know many people of deep faith who have told me that only by growing in that faith do they fully understand God.

My friend Bob Sherman for example.
Bob is in his late eighties.
And Bob would tell me all the time that he wished that when he was younger he had known Jesus the way that he did now.
It was not that he did not know Jesus when he was younger, he just knows Jesus on a different level.
He had to grow in his faith over years of living with God.
And even in his eighties Bob would tell me he had only scratched the surface of what it meant to be a child of God.

What is true of individuals is true of the church.
2,000 years later we are still learning what it means to know this God in Jesus Christ.
We are still struggling with what it means to know Jesus as our Lord and savior.

If I could tell you anything this morning is that not to give up on your journey of faith.
Continue to seek and know God in your life.

Do not think that because Pentecost has come and gone that God is still not working to form us and his church.
Do not believe that all things are worked out.
I believe God is still working it out through us.

If we are still on our journey the question is how are we formed in our faith?
How do we grow in our faith?
This morning let us use the story of Acts as a guide.
The story that we read this morning from Acts is mysterious and strange.
It is one of the things that cannot be explained in any normal way.
How do you explain people understanding each other even though they are all speaking different languages?
This is why the crowd of Gentiles is so confused.
“All were amazed and perplexed.”
This is what I think God does for us.
God leaves us amazed and perplexed.

I am constantly amazed at what God can and will do.
I am amazed that Babies are born in the world,
that people who are supposed to die live,
that enemies become friends,
that hatred is overcome with love,
that people are married for sixty years,
that friends are so willing to lend an ear and word of comfort,
that people give so generously to those in need.
God is good and it is constantly amazing how much God loves and cares for us.

I am also perplexed.
I don’t know why some people starve to death in a world with plenty of food,
I don’t know why two countries have to kill one another,
I don’t know why we have so much fear of other people,
I don’t know why good people die,
I don’t know why there are people who are twisted enough to kill for no reason.
I am perplexed a lot.

And this is why the journey of faith must and does go on.
Because we don’t know why things happen the way they do.
We don’t know why the world runs the way it does.
And in being amazed and perplexed we discover the only way to live.
We discover a life of faith.

We find in the midst of both things a God who cares and loves us.
We find a God who brings dreams to the old and visions to the young.
We find a God who pours out his spirit upon the whole world.
We find a God who saves everyone who calls on his name

It is appropriate to talk about the day of Pentecost as the Birthday of the church because it is where we started from.
But like our individual lives it is not where we will end up.
The Church will continue to grow in faith, it will continue to be pushed by the Holy Spirit.
And it will forever ask the question, “What does this mean?”
And in the search it will find, as it always has, God there waiting for us.
The church in every age and in different ways rediscovers God’s abundant mercy.
We see again fresh that God through Jesus Christ desires for us to live and dream.

So on this Pentecost let us continue to grow in our faith.
Let us continue to ask the questions and let God amaze and perplex us.
Let us continue to know that God is good, and at the center of it all good and bad is a God who only wants to save us all.

No comments:

Post a Comment