By Pastor David Sperstad
First Lutheran Church, Little Falls
“See, I am making all things new.” (Rev 21:5 NRS)
You have heard that verse before. Many times I suppose. It’s a verse that is often used at funerals. It is a good verse to be read at funerals, as a reminder that this life, that death and the grave are not the end. It does give us comfort and hope.
But let us read that verse again – not at a funeral but right now in the middle of our life. What does it mean for us, what does it mean for you? “See, I am making all things new.” Jesus and the Holy Spirit are alive and well in your life today. It is easy to look around and see the renewal of life in nature this time of year, the grass is greening, the trees are budding, bees are gathering pollen somewhere as they return to their hives.
Let’s stop looking around and let’s start looking within us; how has he in the past and how is he making you new today? Does the fact that you profess to be a Christian matter in your life? In your daily actions and interactions with and in the world?
Why do I ask this? I have recently read a couple of books one called “Soul Searching” and another “Almost Christian.” They analyze a national study on youth and religion. The findings are shocking and disturbing to say they least. Not because of what it tells us about teenagers and their faith but because of what it says about our own faith and how we have shared with, taught and modeled to the younger generation.
The books raised a lot of questions for me and I pose some of them to you: Who is God? (Is he a butler, a therapist a sugar daddy?) Does the fact that God exists and has given me faith make a real difference in my life? In my actions and interactions with others? (Do I truly love as he loves?) What does God really want of and for me? What does he expect of me? (Is it simply to be good to others or simply to be happy and feel good about ourselves?) These and many, many other questions came to mind as I read these two books.
Neither of the books gave answers, nor do I have answers to give you – but together we could talk about these questions within our own lives.
The answers are in the community of believers. They come to us in the Word and Sacrament that God has given. They come through scripture, through mutual and caring conversations and through the community of believers. For God is with us and the Holy Spirit will give us the wisdom to answer… “the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.” (Rom 8:26 NRS) and God is with us “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them.” (Rev 21:3 NRS)