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Sunday, November 27, 2017
Scripture: Selections from Matthew 5-7
Rev. Jill VanderWal
Let me begin with a story from the book The Starfish and the Spider about “the president of the internet.” First, think back to a time before the internet. No smartphones…or google. In 1995, Dave Garrison was a newly hired CEO of an internet service provider (think Google before it’s time) named Netcom. Dave’s job as CEO was to pitch his company and recruit new investors. Remember, the internet was barely known about, let alone understood in 1995.
In one particular visit, Dave was in France explaining the concept of the internet to a group of French investors. The conversation stalled when a question was posed: “Who is the president of the internet?” This is a valid question, it was troublesome to invest money into an entity that had no system of accountability. Without clarity around this and other details, the internet was a risky gamble. After going around and around on the question, Dave finally gave up and said: “I am the president of the internet.”
I wonder in what ways the Kingdom of God, this Kingdom of Heaven, here in our midst is like the early concept of the internet? We when first hear about it, it seems difficult to grasp, imagine or conceptualize. You mean, I’ve been missing something that is all around me?
I wonder, as we start to lean into these principles of kingdom living….prayer, spending time with Jesus, judging less, giving more, if the kingdom comes alive around us, or is it that we come alive to the kingdom? Either way…as we live into it becomes ever more present.
This has been true in my life, the more I look, the more I lean in, the more of God I experience. Imagine, knowing how to seek God’s direction in our life…for the big and small things, with the same natural impulse that prompts us to pull up Google maps for driving directions. Can you imagine…being as confident in the presence of the Kingdom of God with us as we are in the pervasiveness of the internet? Can you imagine being as reliant on God’s presence with you as you are on your smartphone with you? The invitation is to invest in this kingdom of God…with us….and which is being revealed and in the end will be revealed to all.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminds us this life matters. But this is just the brief introduction to life which will continue for eternity. What we do, how we spend our time and our resources, what and who we invest in…it matters. Not only does it matter, but it is preparing us for our eternal vocation.
In The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus presented a whole new vision of life. He let every person know there was another way beyond the complicated rules and regulations of the Scribes and Pharisees. In the sermon we discover a new way to find a restored relationship with God. It was revolutionary then, and it is just as amazing and radical today.
Build your house upon the Rock. Psalm 62:2 “God alone is my rock and my salvation, God is my fortress, I will never be shaken” and Isaiah 26:4 “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an Everlasting Rock.” This is the journey we are committed to here in this place.