Monday, May 21, 2012

Conquering the World

          Do you believe everything you that people say?  When someone swears that what they are about to speak is the truth do you believe it?
          Everything you’ve ever heard about Jesus, is it true? What do you believe about Jesus? God says that Jesus is his Son. Do we believe it?
          In John’s epistle he says that if we take human testimony at its face value then how much more reassured we should be when God gives testimony that Jesus is his Son. Surely we’re more apt to trust what God says than in what any person would say, even if they swore on everything that’s holy.
          God’s testimony is that he gave us eternal life, life in his Son. So, whoever has the Son has life; whoever rejects the Son, rejects life.
          If we believe that Jesus is God’s Son John says we can conquer the world and have eternal life. That would make us champions, right? Whoever is born of God conquers the world! Those who are conquerors are champions, right? How can we become conquerors? How can we be champions? How do we defeat the world?
          John doesn’t give specific details so that means we have to look to the One who came to be an example for us, Jesus. What did he do?
          If we go to the gospels and read what Jesus did we discover that he wasn’t concerned with what the world had to say about status or reputations or prejudices. He rose about the words and thoughts of the world. Jesus was concerned with only one thing and that was to do the right thing no matter the consequences.
          Friends, does that look like a champion? Maybe not in the world’s eyes but that kind of behavior is capable of conquering the world by helping one person at a time.
          Granted we aren’t Jesus, but friends, God created us in his image a little lower than the angels. I believe if God made us in his image and if we are just a little lower than the angels then we should have the ability to make a real difference in this world.
          I can already hear the “buts”. But I’m too old. But I don’t have the money to help. But I’m not physically able to help anymore. But I’m not smart enough. But I’m afraid. But they’ll make fun of me.
          Friends, Jesus, even though he was divine, helped many folks by doing ordinary things. He sat and listened to people talk. He invited the community to come and listen as he taught. He fed the crowd fishes and loaves, with a little help from his friends. Yes, he made blind people see, crippled people walk, cleansed lepers, and forgave those others wanted to stone to death. It was surely with God’s help but remember Paul and Peter did some of these things too. Jesus wasn’t physically with them when they did them. It was God who provided the power to heal.
          Jesus told his disciples that they would do even greater things than what they had seen him do. And they did. So, what makes us think that we can’t heal illnesses, cure diseases, help crippled people walk or forgive those the world has discarded as unworthy?
          What did Jesus say? He said something about faith as small as a mustard seed being able to accomplish great things. Look back at what Schweitzer did; look at what Mother Teresa accomplished in India. Neither one of these people were super humans. They were plain ordinary people like you and me and yet they worked tirelessly to make the world a better place. And they didn’t pay any attention to what was printed about them in the press or said on the radio or the television. They trusted in God and His Son and the power of the Holy Spirit.
          So, good friends, what I’m trying to say is we can be conquerors too. We can be champions who defeat the world. And when we do we too can be filled with the joy Jesus talked about in John’s gospel God’s joy will be our joy.
          One of the secrets to being able to do all this is to do it by loving people in the same way we wish to be loved.
          Now, we all know it’s not easy to do any of this. In fact it’s a struggle to try to live and love like Jesus. But as a community of sisters and brothers working together, supporting each other the world can be conquered. The unloved, discarded people in our communities can be saved and made whole.
          Friends, remember we aren’t in this work alone. God is beside us and within us as we do this work he has blessed us with. Thanks be to God for his grace. Amen.

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