On July 20, 1969 some first human words were spoken on the moon. You will find out the nature of those words on Sunday but rest assured in the vacuum, stillness and silence of that barren place, the "moon and stars" had heard other words. What about when God spoke all things into existence? What about the oldest book of the Bible recounting God's word to Job, asking Job if he was present "as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy (Job 38:7)?" Our foray into the unknown reaches of space are, Biblically, preceded by the God who was and is and is to come. All that said, Buzz Aldrin's story is pretty moving ... I look forward to sharing it with you.
But Sunday we will also share some other first words. They are the first words of the Church (the Ecclesia, the 'People of the Way'). Spirit-filled disciples leave the safety of their hideout and the Church of Acts goes out to preach the Gospel to all people in all languages. Those first words were filled with God's power and overflowing with a grace that called unlearned, ill-equipped and error-prone disciples out into the dangerous waters of serving God. The story still gives me goosebumps and sends excitement running through my veins.
As the past two weeks have progressed we have heard some first words here. First words of new servants as they (God's new creations) came up out of the water, leaving the kingdom of this earth and entering the Kingdom of God. First words of new members of the Church as the makeup of God's Holy People was forever altered because God added them to His Church. And Sunday, as we share Holy Communion and, yet again, allow God to change us and move us closer to His place for us. None of us should EVER be the same!
As I reflect upon the last few weeks I remember seeing the splendor of ornate and ultra-expensive churches/cathedrals in Europe. It reminds me of the scene from the Raiders of the Lost Arc as the bad guy tries to pick out the cup of Jesus. He chooses the expensively adorned cup and pays with his life for the bad choice. The real cup of Jesus ends up being the plain cup ... the cup of a servant.
Our beginning to this summer has seen people from all walks of life sharing the Sacraments of the Church, sacred because of Jesus' presence. We bring a message that doesn't need to be dressed-up. The message we offer is plain, simple and comes in the words of a servant. All of the other messages and other gods might look ornate, appealing, glamorous and powerful ... but they offer falseness and death. But we carry, like the Church of Acts, the simple message of life that overruns language barriers, social classes, political borders and theological constructs. "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call" (Acts 2:38-39). It is the message brought to us by one who became a servant so that we may have life. Randy