Revelation 22: 12-14 & 16-17
JOHN 17: 20-26

June 2, 2019

What a glorious day for the people of faith who call Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior! <<AMEN?>>  What a special day of faith for all who are gathered here together <<AMEN>>… Two Holy Sacraments wrapped up in one relatively quick hour giving us plenty of time in our day for the things that really matter.

Interesting … revealing perhaps … so perfect for a day when a reading from our Scripture comes from a book called REVELATION.  Last week’s children’s message went to the dictionary so today I am … REVELATION has two interesting definitions according to WEBSTER.

First it’s a noun which is A surprising and previously unknown fact, especially one that is made known in a dramatic way.  I am not sure that the words in my opening of today’s message “What a special day of faith for all who are gathered here together … two Holy Sacraments wrapped up in one relatively quick hour giving us plenty of time in our day for the things that really matter.” featured any unknown facts because today is truly a special day of faith we have witnessed the baptism of beautiful Ella Rose and it is a day when we get to go to the Table of the Lord because in the tradition of our denomination we limit this gift of God to just once a month because to get that close to God on a regular basis would truly extend Sunday worship services beyond the acceptable time limits.

Now perhaps the surprising fact because it is one that most church attenders don’t think about but lets face it;  it is a reality … “two Holy Sacraments wrapped up in one relatively quick hour giving us plenty of time in our day for the things that really matter” that just might be the revelation in this preacher’s message. With the dramatic element being how I actually now have repeated the same sentence in this sermon three times.  You know three times for emphasis.

WEBSTER’s second definition for the word REVELATION is “the divine disclosure to humans of something related to human existence or the world.” Ah, now that’s the church definition …. That’s one we can fit right into church and actually friends that is something that God attempts to do through these Holy Sacraments.

We know that I poured water into the baptismal font this morning … West Deptford water from a faucet and yes, as I do with every baptism, I added a few drops of water from the River Jordan but that’s more of what we’d call a big creek rather than a rushing river of commerce.  In just a few minutes, if I keep this sermon moving, we will take a small piece of bread or if you are on a gluten free diet a little bit of cracker and either dip it into a nice looking cup filled with grape juice or you will take a plastic shot glass and drink some juice.  On the surface friends that’s what we see … but we know … you know … I know … other people of faith know … that there is something much more powerful happening here … if we have connected the dots if we truly step forward each day walking with Jesus then we know that the DIVINE can change this water into something special … that the DIVINE can transform a simple piece of bread and the smallest of tasting into the transforming power of faith … IF WE ALLOW the REVELATION to be real for us … if we focus on the Son of God who came to teach us to live in a way that counters the world … if we truly call JESUS our SAVIOR … JESUS our LORD and MASTER … JESUS our GUIDE.

We heard the words of truth again from John’s Revelation … the words of our Savior, “I am the alpha … I am the omega … THE FIRST … THE LAST … the BEGINNING and the END.”  Friends its printed on your bulletin this morning … it’s a living truth … to people of faith when we wake up each day … when we take that first step … if we are people of faith then we step forward walking with Jesus …

Dear friends … today I ask in our bulletin insert a question that frankly I found hard to ask because I have to wonder … we have ‘in-church’ Bible Study we have online Bible study that you can participate in with your phones but so few … just a few fun and faith-filled friends carve out the time … I know you are busy; I know things get in the way … I know that you are hoping that this entire service will be over by 10:45 at the very latest … but my friends do you really consider your steps and with whom you could be walking?

With each step that you take are you making sure that you are walking with Jesus or are you plans for this day and the next too important … too valuable to even consider Him? Today all of you made a vow to care for the Kaiser family as the days move on … do you remember the last child whose family stood here … are they in church today?  Are you caring for them, which is the vow you made? Or the child before that or the one before?  Are they walking in faith?  Do you remember the names or the faces or the children?

And, the cup … the bread … in our reading today the beautiful words of faith and peace and reassurance … Jesus words “I AM THE BRIGHT MORNING STAR!”  Let the one who is thirsty come … the the one who wishes to receive the life-giving water as a gift come!”

Oh how I long for Communion … you often see me reaching into the waters of the font on Sunday mornings and it is filled with water every Sunday and it is here for you to touch … DO YOU LONG for Jesus Christ church?  Are you so hungry and in need of the Holy Sacrament of Communion knowing that God reveals in a small piece of bread and a little fruit of the vine God’s very presence in you and in me … Jesus with us … and these waters.  Will you touch the water after you share in the meal?  Or is that just not something you think you should do … we call baptism a Holy Sacrament yet most of our churches hide their baptism fonts only to place holy water in them when babies who will soon be forgotten come to church.  Most of us dismiss the Holiness of the water yet we support and celebrate families on baptism Sunday’s whispering ‘how cute.” It’s more than cute … it’s HOLY as is the meal as is the One calling us out each day.

I am thirsty church … aren’t you?  I need the life-giving waters of the Holy!  I again need to have Jesus revealed to me as my waking morning bright star!!  Church are you truly ready … ok, I know you are ready because the human race is ready and in need of Jesus Christ because we hate with ease … we mistreat the poor and strangers in our land without a second thought … we chant with the sinners hiding God’s command to love as if we are embarrassed by it … we allow our nation to break down to where terrorist attacks that kill 12 innocents in Virginia Beach down the road from my brother’s home are almost second page news because we are numb to multiple numbers being killed because we love violence … we cherish hate … and these every week shootings of humans are the end result and no longer merit anything more than a here we go again.

So, church my more important question today … and it comes right from the REVELATION of JESUS CHRIST, the last book of the Bible … The SPIRIT is saying COME … the BRIGHT SHINING MORNING STAR … we see His image both behind me and in front of me … JESUS is saying COME … but church are you ready to actually be overwhelmed in the life-giving water God has given us?  Are you ready to be deep in prayer as you take the bread and the cup and then allow God’s forgiving power … God’s life transforming power to truly transform you and truly push you out stepping forward walking with Jesus each day. And, the table and water are for ALL not just some.

Mission trips are here … Family Promise the chart is still half empty when it should be filled without hesitation … RED BIRD MISSION we are doubling last year’s team but there is still room for you and we need you to get trip sponsors and to buy t-shirts … VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL who do you know with kids?  WORSHIP … soon we will have Sunday evening worship at THE RIVER plus Sunday morning worship what friends will you bring … BIBLE STUDY; oh ok that’s too much.  And, to think we are a good growing church … I would hate to think about what’s happening in those churches that are shrinking and dying.

Our Gospel message has Jesus praying … the Son of God having a conversation with ALPHA GOD the CREATOR.  We know both have been since the beginning of existence, which goes beyond anyone’s comprehension. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.  The Word was with God in the beginning and everything came into being through the Word.”

Jesus was praying that night before He was arrested not just for His disciples.  He said, “I am praying for those who believe in me.  I pray that they will be one Father, just as You are in me and I am in You.  I pray that they will also be in us.  I’m in them.”

Friends, Jesus Christ the Son of God … the One who died on the cross but on Easter morning the women came to the tomb, discovered it empty declaring HE IS RISEN <<HE IS RISEN INDEED>>!  That Jesus is with you … if you let Him in.

Jesus came to teach us about God’s will not the world’s … in the prayer to God He said, “I’ve made Your name known to them and will continue to make it known so that your love for me will be in them and I myself will be in them.”

These baptism waters are a revelation of God’s presence and God’s love … they are meaningful if you allow yourself to step forward walking with Jesus.   Nothing to be embarrassed about; God with you, Christ before you; Christ behind you.

The table that has been set comes from a lesson from Christ that when we gather we are to eat the bread and drink from the cup to remember Jesus acts of love … remember our connection in faith … to be people who allow ourselves to step forward walking with Jesus.

The life giving water … the saving grace of the Communion table are before you and me.  Are they a revelation of God to you or just the closure on a morning where the busy day that follows matters more? That my friends is up to you. But the Bright Shining Star of Jesus is always providing the light to the path God calls us to be on.  Again your choice as to who you walk with.  I pray it is with Jesus.


© 2017- St. Paul's United Methodist Church, West Deptford, NJ