This Sunday's sermon in advance...

October 19, 2008

As I grow older I have come to realize that I don’t belong in this world and probably never will.

It’s a feeling like knowing the girl you’re dating, as pleasant as she may be, is not the one and sooner or later you’ll have to move on. I find myself looking at the world as if I’m present but not attached, observing everything and even taking part but knowing I was designed for something else, somewhere else.

I watch the world and its troubles and I care, and I try to do what I can to make things better, but I know this is just a place in the timeline and eternity is what ultimately matters. There is something else and as I move closer to the horizon I realize that something else is what this part of the journey is all about.

That’s the gift of traumatic times, they provide that most precious commodity, focus, the ability to see clearly unencumbered by the distortions of comfort and success. They strip away pretense and level all false gods at the knees. Those who understand this rise above and those who can’t or won’t are condemned to the panic of the herd.

The pundits ask what these times are all about, the confusion, the strength of the rich and powerful being flexed against the weak, the shallow moral waters, and the sense of foreboding that permeates throughout. They wonder what it means but those of us who follow Christ already understand.

Nothing of this world lasts forever. Every house, save one, is made of sand and every dream is twisted by mortality before it closes its eyes in death. Everyone seems to be shouting all at once but the discerning, the illumined, will understand.

It is not for us to make this world, its life, its values, and its impermanence, our final destination. We are here, for sure, called to live in and among and do our best to be light and salt and yeast for the sake of love but we belong, as the Scriptures says, to a city whose foundation is built by God, a new Jerusalem where the tree of life, uprooted in Eden, again yields its leaves for the healing of the nations. Wherever we may find ourselves here we belong to a place where God dwells with us and every human tear is wiped from our faces.

Knowing that we can live in the present and for whatever future may come and live fully, truly, and with purpose. Those things a passing world values may elude us but we never ultimately belonged here in the first place. We can have a true sense of things because while we care for this place and this moment we realize there is more and we live with that more present in our hearts.

That is what I wish for you today, a spark of something that reminds you not be troubled. Our Lord has gone before us, to, as the Scriptures say, prepare a place for us and every day we’re closer to home. The world has many troubles, Jesus told his followers, but he wanted them to understand that he had overcome them so they would not lose hope.

Open your eyes and see. Open your heart and receive. It’s glorious and when you do, nothing, not even this world, will ever be the same.

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