I hope you all had a WONDERFUL Easter! Here is yesterday’s sermon …
Rehoboth Congregational Church
April 20, 2014
Faith Without Control
The weather was absolutely beautiful last Saturday, wasn’t it? Sunny, blue skies and blissfully warm temperatures. I drove to church with my sunglasses on and my windows open. I wore flip flops! My friends and I pulled out their patio furniture and fired up the grill for the first time this year. Daffodils were starting to open around town. I vividly remember backing into my driveway, looking at my bright green lawn and thinking to myself how nice it was that spring was here and that we could finally say with absolute certainty that we were definitely, without a doubt, done with snow for the year.
So then it snowed on Tuesday night.
That was great.
As I sat in my car on Wednesday morning waiting for the half an inch of ice to melt off of my windshield because I was refusing to pull out my scraper out of sheer protest, I could not help but laugh.
Because if there is one thing a mid-April snowstorm will teach you it is that we really are not in control.
How fitting to be reminded of this four days before Easter. Because – let’s face it – the Easter story is also a great reminder to us that we really are not in control.
It is actually kind of difficult to preach on the Easter story, because it just sort of speaks for itself. The death and resurrection of Jesus is one of the single most powerful stories in the history of the world, certainly of our faith. Resurrection. Salvation. God’s grace unfolded in a completely miraculous, yet completely realistically spectacular way. It is truly remarkable.
But here is the thing about this story: No one – no human, anyway – could control the outcome of that first Easter. Not the people who betrayed Jesus. Not the people who put Jesus on trial and who mocked him. Not the people who crucified Jesus. No – they were not in control of that first Easter. Jesus rose from the dead! Proof to all of us that God was in control of that first Easter.
And over the past 2,000 years, that has never changed. God has always remained in control.
As we relive the Easter story, we are reminded that living a life of faith – believing in this Easter story, walking as a disciple of Christ and submitting yourself to the mystery of the resurrection – means letting go of control. It means letting go of control of the things that you understand and – perhaps more importantly – the things that you do not understand. It means letting go of the need to control the people around you. It means letting go of the question, “why?” and instead just focusing on the journey ahead. It means seeking out God instead of seeking out answers.
It means trusting that no matter what happens in this world and in your life – good or bad, joyful or heartbreaking – you are never alone. God is always with you.
This does not mean that bad things will not happen. In fact, as we remembered Jesus’ final days and death on the cross this past week, we were poignantly reminded of just how imperfect our world is. Bad things do happen – many of which we cannot control.
So I think we just have to stop trying. And I think that we have to believe that within the midst of the chaos and the confusion of life, God is working with us and within us.
The Christian Faith is not about rules and dogmas, it is about a moment in time when God stepped in and revealed his glory to us. It always has been and it always will be.
And I think that if we just try to let go of our control in our lives and in our faith, we may see God’s glory revealed to us in a new way.
You know, it is a good thing that humans were not in control of that first Easter. Because think about what might have happened if they were. Jesus would have remained in that tomb; he never would have risen to new life. We would have never been given proof that God’s love is stronger than human imperfection.
Let me put something on the table right now. I will never be able to explain the resurrection. I will never be able to show you proof that Jesus physically rose from the dead. But I believe that in some way, shape or form – some way, shape or form that is completely out of my control – it happened and it was real and the world changed because of it. I HAVE to believe that. Because without the resurrection, the crucifixion would have had the final word. Without God’s grace giving us new life, death would have had the final word. Without God’s love, hate would have the final word.
And that is not the world that I want to live in.
Not only did that mid-April snowstorm teach us that we really are not in control, but – for those of us who put away our plows and shovels and started planting things in our yard and garden – it also taught us that maybe – just maybe – we should stop trying to be in control as well.
When we embrace a faith without control, we are embracing a faith of resurrection, not crucifixion; we are embracing a faith of new life and not death; and we are embracing a faith of love and not hate.
Let us embrace that faith.
Let us allow God to open our eyes to see new things. Let us turn to God for comfort in our moments of fear, anger and sadness. Let us use God’s light to illuminate the path ahead of us.
On this beautiful Easter morning, as we remember a story that rocked a community, changed the world and gave new life to generations upon generations of believers, let us embrace a faith without control. Let us – in the infamous words of Elsa from Frozen – let it go and let God take care of the rest.
Thanks be to God!