15 Pentecost (RCL), 28 August 2005
I am sure that all of you children here and many of you adults have seen the movie, Finding Nemo. In this story, a father is looking for his son, named Nemo. Nemo, a clown fish has disobeyed his father and gets caught by a dentist and put into the dentist?s aquarium. Nemo escapes the aquarium and his father finds him in the end. It is a very cute story that has many amusing moments in it. It has this spiritual quality when you think of God the Father looking for us, while we are simply trying to find life!
Most of us here today have spent time trying to find life. It?s not that we not alive physically, but as the Bible reading for today says, ?What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself??
So often when we finally ?get? what we want or worked for, it is like winning the game, or the state or national championship. Wonderful, then what? The new season starts in several months and the whole work of winning begins again! You can?t rest on your laurels, even for a moment
There is a ?trying to find life? that continually haunts us, measures our present situation and level the gavel with the verdict: you haven?t found it yet. And the worst nightmare is that we may never truly discover life when the end come, but simply have gone through the ?motions? of living.
There is a whole way of thinking that ?you better enjoy it now before it is too late.? Too late to enjoy, too late to experience, too poor to indulge, too weak to participate in and experience. All of which
Now this is a religious setting we are in today, and so it would be well to look at what this person Jesus said about finding life. For a moment, give up the many paths to life, to real living that are thrust in front of us daily. Listen up to the events in the life of Jesus.
There is simply no doubt about it. We want to live. We want to live now. We do not want to miss life now, today nor at any time in the future. So we look at today?s narrative from the life of Jesus.
Looking at What Jesus Is Looking Forward To Jesus is at the time in his life here with people where he begins to explain to his followers what is ahead for him. He?ll go to the capital city of Jerusalem. He?ll suffer a lot at the hands of the religious leaders, the moral teachers, the worship leaders. He?s going to be killed, and he?ll be raised back to life on the third day. There is a compulsion about all of this: it is a ?must do? for Jesus.
Now you have got to think about that for a few moments. You?ve been following this person Jesus as your mentor for some time. You?ve hooked up with this teacher, Jesus, and, at least in part, it was by your own choice. Now you know he is more than simply a good teacher.
Now he talks about suffering, about getting killed (not just dying) and killed as the result of some kind of confrontation with all the religious leaders you have ever known? This is a ?must do? thing for him? Why? Certainly other alternatives are possible. Jesus hasn?t thought this whole thing through very well. Can?t we his followers prevent this? Surely this doesn?t have to happen.
Our Response; the Disciple?s Response
Well, after such a loving response to Jesus? plans, you could expect a word of praise, even if you had to go through with the original plans.
Jesus? Response to the Response
(Too bad Jesus didn?t know about TV [or did he?] and all the channel switching we do from our potato perches when it is boring, non-titillating, unfunny, or too serious.)
The only problem is that if we are serious, really want to find real living in this world, we are going to have to think like God thinks and act like he acts! Wow! You can?t be serious? You?re joking? We?re not God, so change that channel now!
Listen to this Jesus, who is the Son of God (even Peter said that!).
Do We Understand What He Says?
He tells us that ?whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it!? The person who wants to get the most out of every moment for himself, live life to the fullest, taste every flavor, indulge in every experience, use every device made by others for a person?s enjoyment, see all of this world?s sight and insights will have lost! Lost life! Missed living!
Think about that. Think about that?what have I been aiming at? A
Here?s How to Find Life
If we have prayed, ?give us this day our daily bread,? we have stated that we believe he will give us all the ?things,? the ?stuff,? the accruements of life, so that we can be servants to others, so that we can fight the good fight of faith, so that we can run the race that is set before us with perseverance, so that we can take his redeeming grace to people who are going down the broad and easy road that leads to destruction, that will never give life but only death.
In this country today, we think of ourselves a lot. Look at the cars we drive?were we thinking of pollution or how good we will look, and what a good deal buying this car is? Look at the pace of our lives?hurried, so that we have no time to eat as family, eat on the run, have a good supply of the current antacid so that we can continue the pace. Are we thinking of others when we use telephones in our cars? Are we thinking of others when we use our credit cards for all the stuff we absolutely, unequivocally believe is necessary if we are going to live? In all our concern for material things, our physical health, a positive outlook and good self image, in all this and more, do we have in mind the things of God or the things of men?
How Will It All Turn out for Us?
Today may be a wake up call. Wake up to see how you treat others.
Jesus says what is going to happen to him and so it did because of wasters, scoundrels, profligates, prodigals like us. He came for us to live now and eternally. Don?t waste it with regrets. Repent, believe the past is forgiven, and live for Jesus!
The Found Life
Give up trying to find life. And lose it, and discover what it means to live. Amen .
Walter W. Harms, retired pastor