Who Wants to Live Forever

SERMON # FOURTEEN AUGUST 2018

Who wants to live forever?

Readings: Ephesians 4: 25 – 5: 2 and John 6: 35, 41 – 51

“O almighty God, we pray for your Spirit to be present and at work in our lives. Amen”

Eternal life, in general, brings to mind the notion that we will add more days, month and years to our lives after our death. For most people the idea of ‘not existing’ is difficult to comprehend and so to have or enter into eternal life is important.  However, it can be said that eternal life is not just about adding more years to our lives after our earthly death but a way of life that starts in the here and now. To have this or enter this, it is also important that we live a life, as a community, in which the Spirit is present and at work. It is by belonging to such a community that we as individuals can grow in having inherited eternal life. 

When we speak about a community filled with and witness to the presence of the Spirit we speak immediately about the fruit of the Spirit or the gifts of the Spirit and sometimes more specifically about speaking in tongues and so on and so forth. We also speak about the things we can do and the things we cannot do. But we also need to speak about such a Spirit filled community in another way. Such a community’s life is strengthened by the Spirit if it knows that in Jesus we see or know ‘God in the flesh.’ This is an offence to some and to others nonsense or perhaps a mystery or something magical.

To know that in Jesus God is known in the flesh can also mean that God is in Jesus both weak and powerful at the same time. In Jesus we see God fully human – as weak as can be – for instance on the cross Jesus is weak to the point of death. Yet at the same time God is powerful for Jesus is resurrected. The Spirit points us to this Jesus who is both weak and powerful at the same time. A community which is strengthened by the Spirit knows its weaknesses and its strengths – it is convicted by the Spirit of its sinfulness and at the same time empowered to overcome it. The individuals who belong to such a community draws strength from this and in this way the community becomes for them a place of nurture – of being fed. The community is the body of Christ and are fed because of this. Such a community is serious about its failures and thus becomes a place of healing to overcome them. It does not do away or deny its weaknesses because in Christ we have seen how God does not deny humanity’s weaknesses. In Jesus God chooses to be weak. Yet it also does not deny its power to offer life for in Christ we have seen how powerful God is – even death is overcome. Eternal life is something that begins here – in our weaknesses overcome and this is the food that Jesus gives us. This is what happens when we share in his body.

“O God who is weak with us and powerful with us – thank you for the presence of your Spirit in the life of this community. We pray that your Spirit always be present in such a way that we may overcome our weaknesses and failures and sins. Thank you for the gift of eternal life in which we are victorious in Jesus over death and that we can share in that life even now. Amen” 

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