Harry S. Truman once said:
You can always amend a big plan, but you can never expand a little one. I don’t believe in little plans. I believe in plans big enough to meet a situation which we can’t possibly foresee now. End quote.
Plans are something that are a large part of any life. When we are young, we make plans for when we become adults. In our teenage years, we make plans for the weekend, for college, for our career.
When we get to adulthood, we make plans for a family, a house, a vacation, the rest of our lives.
Some plans seem small but important. What will I wear, what I will eat, and so on.
This week we are at a major point in our life as a parish. The testimony has been heard and it is now in the judge’s hands. It is in God’s hands.
We have plans, but no matter what happens, this Church, this family, will survive. Maybe not here, but we will survive. We are faithful to a faithful God.
Now we know that this is true. We have always known this. It has been a journey. A long, hard, unpredictable journey. I believe that no matter what decision is reached, this week’s scripture comes to us at a perfect time.
“Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the LORD has done great things! Fear not, you beasts of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green; the tree bears its fruit; the fig tree and vine give their full yield. “Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before.
It doesn’t matter where we are. It doesn’t matter where we meet. Think for a moment about the Apostles. After the resurrection, they did not set up shop and just invite people in every Sunday. They worked. They traveled. They took the Gospel to the world. Not from one singular location. They used their feet.
I could not help but raise my hand last week when Father asked “Who among you has important ties to this building.” I know we all have. Like some of you, my baptism, our child’s baptism, our wedding, my ordination, and our child’s funeral have all taken place within these four walls. But I do not say that. What I say is that those very important parts of mine and my family’s life have been shared with my family…Trinity.
The reading from Joel finishes with:
“You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame.
Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let not the rebellious exalt themselves.
Bless our God, O peoples;
let the sound of his praise be heard,
who has kept our soul among the living
and has not let our feet slip.
That is the words we must not just hear, but feel. He has us. He holds us in his hands. We do not hold up this relationship. He holds us up with his victorious righteous right hand.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.
This may be a hard pill to swallow but it is one that I challenge young people with. It is good for all of us to hear. It is this…
If we look in the mirror and don’t see Jesus, we are doing it wrong. I do it wrong throughout the day, every day, but it is in those moments that I stop and start over by taking my failures to the Father.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
From the Gospel of St. John:
For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God
That’s us. Here today.
We have already persevered. No matter where we as a Parish family are coming together for worship and learning, we have already won. We have loved God by doing his work and loving his Son. We have been a beacon of light in this world.
But the work is not done. The scripture readings we have heard today are a call to action. Today’s Gospel reading finishes like a high school football coach rallying his team to victory
“Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
What we do from this point forward is do what we have done all along. We have not just sat here and waited for man to pass judgment on us. We have done his work and must continue to do so.
I am a guy who likes social media. I engage in sometime on Facebook, Twitter and writing a blog. I know it is not for everyone and it can be ugly. But if you want a taste of how much work we need to do, take a look. I have opened myself up to the world and have attempted to reach people. The results are not always pretty, but it reminds me that the fight goes on. I cannot, in good conscience, stand in this pulpit and quote some of the responses I have received. The good fight goes on.
But it does have those moments, when I have gotten a response from people I never would have otherwise met, that have thanked me for my thoughts and my witness.
I was asked recently to share my family’s testimony recently on my blog. I did and I shared a very difficult time in our life. Most of you know that we received, and gave back to God our son Jacob on the same day. Jen and I prayed long and hard, when after our daughter Jordan was born, we were told we could have no more children. Here we are 13 years later, having had the opportunity to have so many children in our life. That is, as I will always know, due to the work done by God through Trinity Church.
We never know how God is going to do his work. We don’t know his plans. All we know is that if we remain faithful, no matter what he gives us or takes away, he will remain faithful to us. The victory is his. The work is ours. We have been called to action.