This is the final sermon in a six-week series on the book of “Crazy Uncle Revelation.” The text today was Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21.
I want to tell you about Wallace. Wallace doesn’t drive. He’s 34, and he has never driven a car. It’s a real hassle for him, always relying on friends and on public transportation. But he won’t drive. Because he doesn’t understand it.
Now, Wallace took driver’s ed years ago. He did great in the classroom. But the first day he got in the driver’s seat, he froze. He thought about what was under the hood, and realized he had no idea how any of it worked. The instructor sat down next to him, and said, “Wallace, do you have any questions?” Wallace said, “Yeah! How does the gas pedal feed fuel to the engine? How do the brakes work? What do spark plugs do? What’s a catalytic convertor?” And so on. The instructor finally said, “Wallace, just start the car.” But he wouldn’t. He didn’t understand how the car worked.
So Wallace went to the library, and studied the intricacies of the internal combustion engine. But the more he learned, the more he realized he didn’t know. How do the chemicals in the battery interact? What makes oil so viscous? Who designed the robotic arms that are used in the car factory? Every question led to more questions. He still doesn’t drive, to this day.
Wallace’s problem is that he thinks you need to know everything about cars before you can drive. You don’t. Wallace already knows all he needs to know in order to drive. But he doesn’t believe that.
I think sometimes we’re like that when it comes to our faith, and sharing it. Thinking about our faith can get overwhelming. We wonder things like: Why does the Bible seem to contradict itself so much? How is Jesus really present in communion? Why do bad things happen to good people? Did God really say that I’m good enough? There’s so much about our faith we don’t’ understand.
And we freeze, just like Wallace. Just like Wallace never drove, we never talk about our faith with anyone else. How can we, if we don’t understand everything? But maybe, like Wallace, we don’t need to understand everything under the hood. Maybe we already know where the pedals are. Maybe we already know how to turn the wheel. Maybe we just need to get past the anxiety, and start the car.
You already know that God loves you very much. So much that he sent his Son, Jesus. And Jesus taught, and he healed, and he died, and he was raised from the dead. You already know that God is alive today. That God forgives you. God offers you hope. God wants you to love each other. You know all this.
And that’s the pedals and steering wheel. Everything else is theological gravy.
So why do we so often feel that it’s not enough? I think we just need the key. The key is our story. The key is your story of faith. The story that answers the question, “What difference does God make in your life?”
That’s a big key. And I can’t just give it to you now. I can’t tell you right now how God has made a difference in your life. But I can model it. Here’s how God has made a difference in mine.
I am broken. I am a broken person who has done some terrible things. I have been cruel, and insensitive, and thoughtless. I have failed to do things I should have, and I have done things I’m ashamed of. And I can’t seem to break free of it.
What’s more, I have a voice inside me that reminds me of this constantly. I call it the Dark Voice, and it says things like, “You are worthless.” “You have caused more harm than good.” “You should have known better.” That voice is always with me, and it is loud.
And yet, another voice lives with me as well. A quiet voice that whispers to me every day that I am forgiven for all my mistakes. A voice that picks me up and gives me a second chance, a third chance, a fourth chance. I have heard that voice whispering to me in the night. I have heard that voice through the words and smiles of others, including some of you. I have experienced that voice through the hymns we sing, through the bread and wine we share. I am convinced, though I could be wrong, that this voice is the voice of God, telling me that I am forgiven and beloved. It hasn’t taken the Dark Voice away, but it gives me hope that I just might be okay.
That’s my story of faith, at least right now.
You have a story of faith as well. And there are some things brewing here at Prince of Peace, some opportunities in the fall for you to learn how to frame your own faith story, and to offer you a safe place to practice telling it. Because I know it can be intimidating to share faith stories, and it’s good to have some help!
But for now, let’s practice just a little, because we can get a little help from our old friend, our Crazy Uncle Revelation, whom we’ve been speaking with for the last six weeks. Today’s the last day we’ll be seeing him for a while, and today he gives us one final lesson.
- The Holy Spirit and the church say, “Come.”
- And let everyone who hears say, “Come.”
- And let everyone who is thirsty come, and take the water of life as a gift.
- Jesus says, “Surely I am coming soon!”
- Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
The last lesson from Crazy Uncle Revelation is, “Come.” We live in a world that is broken and suffering. And we, the church, are called to come, come and receive the water of life. We live in a world that is broken and suffering, and we, the church, are also called to call that world to come, come and receive the water of life.
We live in a world that is broken and suffering, and we, the church, call on Jesus to come here. Amen, come Lord Jesus! Come!
And that’s what I want us to practice today. You know there are problems in the world today. And through your faith, you can see that these problems are places where the world needs the water of life from God. We’re going to name some of these problems. Some are personal, some are global, some are in between. I invite you to call out the name of a person, or a place, or a concern, or a problem. And after each one, we will say together, “Come, Lord Jesus.” Instead of being merely heartbroken by the problems, through our faith we will boldly call Jesus to come and bring the water of life here. So, go ahead, and call out those names.
Come, Lord Jesus.
The one who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints, with all of you.