Sermon for November 13, 2022 Twenty-third after Pentecost “Impossible Possibility”
I drive by Burger King almost every day. There is a big sign that says ‘Impossible Whopper’ and I have always wanted to go in and discover what impossible looks like. Part of me thinks that since their whopper is impossible, then I might just get a wrapper as the contents are impossible but I know it is a catch phrase, even if it is a poor use of language.
We are nearly at the end of the season of Pentecost and Jesus is preparing the disciples and followers for what is to come next…that time after Jesus is no longer a physical presence in their lives. When the disciples have the teaching and the Holy Spirit as their daily motivation.
Jesus points to the majestic buildings and in particular the Synagogue and says ‘see this building, not one stone will be left in place, it will be utterly destroyed’. You are going to endure some challenging days as not only will the Temple collapse but all you hold dear will be turned upside down. Families will battle with each other, creation will seem on the verge of collapse and that was seen as normal will be displaced. This is what awaits you, so you need to be prepared.
With a collective voice the disciples proclaim…Impossible.
We know from our perspective that what was seen as impossible was possible. The Temple was destroyed and rebuilt. Further to that the movement Jesus started lay shattered and buried for three days then resurrection and the movement and way of Jesus was secured and built on the faith of the people for generations. In spite of our humanness, our capacity to squabble and do battle with each other, despite even the church with its entrenched history and doctrine, the teachings of Jesus have survived and even thrived.
From those first impossible moments when the disciples locked themselves in a small home in Jerusalem to today when the message seemed doomed to insignificance, the possibility of God and Jesus still astound and surprise us. The apocalyptic nature of the teaching of Jesus in John may seem to be nearing reality. But I would argue that for the past 2000 years we have not been as kind to each other as the Gospel teaches and we continue to be unkind, especially to those we deem as different. And if I look at the equality issues with men and women, in the last 20 -30 years the bar has not moved very far.
And yet the vision of Isaiah lingers in the teachings of Jesus and in our best work for treating all as valued. 65:17 For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.65:18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. 65:19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress. 65:20 No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed…65:25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent–its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD.
We may very well say or at least whisper…impossible, but I know that we have enough life experience to know that with God all things are possible.
The possible miracle begins with one, you and me as we live as faithful witnesses to God and the love of Jesus. And before you think to yourself…not me, I can’t do that…surprise…you already are.