The Rev. Jerry True – August 29, 2021
We all are familiar with bumper stickers, right? Even though I have never put one on my car, I do occasionally see one that amuses me. By cleverly stating some truism that occasionally evokes a kind of wisdom, they can cause me to contemplate. One of my favorites was attached to an older and rather well-worn Volkswagen bug,
“Don’t feel sorry for me, the bank
is using my money to finance your new Cadillac.”
another favorite was,
“Please be patient; God isn’t finished with me yet!”
another was a more sardonic rare try at humor from a funeral home but contained good advice,
“Drive carefully. We can wait.”
In our Collect for today, we summarize what we are asking of God in the form of four requests:
- In our first request, we ask God that his love may be grafted into our own hearts. We desire to own the love which we receive from God, a love which can be energized and made present within us. We ask him for an infusion of his dynamic love, to be made alive in us when we call upon him, most especially when we ask in and through the Holy Name of Jesus.
- In our second asking, we pray for an increase in us of a religion that is genuine, humble, faithful and true; A religion that is rooted in a sincerity that seeks to serve the truth in love. We pray that he will manifest his living presence in us, engendering in us a mature faith that is niether propped up nor covered up by religious, racial or social prejudice.
- Our third request is that that he feed and nourish us with all goodness. But what is goodness? At the end of the first phase of his work of creation, God declared that what he had created was “good.” But that was only the beginning. I know, I know, the scriptural writers seem to have often inferred or implied that when God pronounced his creation, “good,” he was indicating that the work of creation was finished. They were wrong, but God’s declaration of creation’s goodness was a turning point. I think he must have been declaring that things were as they ought to be.
Up to that moment in his work of creation, the works of God’s hands had not been allowed the opportunity to have any part or say in their own creation. The universe of universes, the stars, the sun, the earth, the moon, the living things too many to number, no one of them was consulted, not one of them had been asked for permission, no one of them had the ability to agree to be created, to be brought into existence. But then something truly unusual happened: God caused a new kind of life to begin, a creature unlike any other.
Oh this new life shared much in common with the creatures already living, but this creation was different in a very significant way. I will say more about this new creature in a moment.
- Turning one more time to our collect for today, we ask God that he might move, inspire and enable us to bring forth a good, happy and productive realization of our actions of love and blessings of mercy from the talents and gifts that he has given us; We ask that our faith might be found worthy of him as it might be attested to in a substantial and joyful celebration of the fruits of good works, good works such as the caring, loving, feeding and clothing of the poor, the comforting and prayerful uplifting of the sad, the sick, the suffering and the dying, and the seeking and awarding of justice, friendship, peace and relief for the innocent, the friendless and the downtrodden.
And now, let me go back to my promise to say something about the creature new to the loving process of creation.
All or most all of you have already guessed it. Let me get it outright at the top. There is only one race of these new creatures.
Though there are a variety of colors, histories, traditions, languages, ethnicities, regionalities, gender, traditions, religions and sexual orientation, they are scientifically and spiritually provable members of one human race; of the one and one only human race. The defining measure of their membership in the human race is the business of God and science. It is God our Creator, in whose image we are all being created, (if we so choose) who is the ultimate authority, and it is the study and knowledge of science that affirms the veracity of the truth that there is only one human race. Yes, the Bible says, “They were all created in the image of God!” Let me be so bold as to add one further caveat in the way of correction: “They (we) are all being created in the image of God.” There is only but one condition and requirement: “If they(we) so choose.” No one else can make the decision or choose it for us.
Uniquely in all creation, so far as we now know, we human beings alone are given a choice. Shall we decide to invite God to continue his work of creation in us and, through the saving incarnation, life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to become the dream of God as fully created human beings, or will we opt out? Will we choose to invite God to complete his work of creation in us, or will we forever choose to turn our backs on the one who has been appointed to continue the work of grace and forgiveness in us.
His mission is the completion of our transformation into the likeness of God. Jesus Christ is our only present and perfect example of man in the total and complete likeness and oneness of God. Jesus is the only example we have of perfect humanity totally united with perfect God in perfect love: in the words of that once doubting but always stronghearted Thomas, “My Lord and my God!”
I’ve seen another bumper sticker, one that I do not like but which made me think and pray, and I pray to God in confidence that it is a prophecy that will never come true. Oh, I look forward to rejoicing on the day of Jesus’ second coming, and I expect that he will bring with him all the joy of eternal life and the spirit of glorious victory and perfect oneness with the Holy Trinity, the entire family of God, including you and me. This bumper sticker I don’t like proclaims a negativity with a word that I will not utter from the pulpit, but it means that Jesus is coming and that he will be angry and bitter with disappointment. And while the notion that Jesus’ mission might fail is a lie, this last part is a witness to the fact that even Satan knows that Jesus is truly coming again and that his – Satan’s time is short. Alleluia. The ultimate victory will be God’s – and ours. Alleluia. In the Holy Name of Jesus our Savior. AMEN. Alleluis!