“Going Where God Is”

Matthew 28:16-20

Trinity Sunday – Confirmation – June 11, 2017

The Rev. Todd R. Goddard, Pastor

West Walworth: Zion & East Rochester United Methodist Churches

 

Matthew 28:16-20

 

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

 

 

Prayer.

 

In a very famous interview

The greatest hockey player of all time,

Wayne Gretsky,

Was asked by a sports reporter

What it was that made him such a terrific hockey player.

 

 

His response was this:

“A good hockey player plays where the puck is.

A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”

 

 

To be become

Means there is a willingness and ability

To go where opportunity presents.

Willingness.

Ability.

Mobility.

 

This past week

I traveled with Pastor Lida and Ray Swartz from our confirmation class

 

 

To the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability in California.

It was a great conference where

Research was shared,

Best practices were presented,

And, most importantly,

Friends were made and

Conversations were held long into the evening.

The limitations of an abled world were removed

Enabling each of us to share, listen, and speak

With refreshing freedom,

Without the need for justification, qualification, or regret.

Grace abounded,

And God was there. 

 

 

To be become

Means there is a willingness and ability

To go where God is present.

Willingness.

Ability.

Mobility.

 

My sermon today

Is really a message for three individuals:

Grace, Trystan, and Ray …

… each members of our Confirmation class,

Who have demonstrated this past year

A willingness, ability, and desire to move …

… each willing to become one

Who is intentionally on the journey that leads towards God.

 

The rest of you are welcome to listen in, if you’d like;

But on this Trinity Sunday,

God’s Word, and my interpretation of God’s Word,

Are for you three.

 

Grace, Trystan, and Ray,

I’m confident that

Once this stage of your journey is complete

You might be wondering

 

 

“What does God have in store for me next?”

This is a great question.

It should be one that is revisited frequently.

What does God have planned for me

Today, tomorrow, and for the rest of my life?

 

You are in good company if you are asking this question.

I ask God this question nearly every day,

And I suspect many others assembled here today

Ask this same question, too.

 

Some thoughts,

Deeply rooted in our Gospel for today …

 

On this Trinity Sunday

 

 

We are reminded that we are children

Of God’s Creation.

The Lord, and Father of us all,

Made each of us out of the chaos of the cosmos,

Filled us with love,

And set us forth to care for his creation.

 

God is present

In all of creation;

In the world and oceans,

In the forest and the waterfalls,

In animals and the fish of the seas,

In water, fire, wind, and earth

In this congregation, and in the next.

 

When you or I might find ourselves

In a place where doubt overwhelms,

Or we perceive God is absent,

Creation is waiting

For your visit.

God is there,

Searching for you to come to Him,

Looking for your stewardship,

Longing for you to care.

 

I encourage you to express a willingness

To care for God’s creation.

You have been given the gift of ability

To speak and act on behalf of God’s natural order.

The same Spirit that blew across the waters

When the earth was formed

Grants to you all the mobility you need

To make a positive difference

In caring for this beautiful world.

 

You will find the face of God

When you care deeply and passionately for what God has made;

The land,

The creatures,

And all God’s people.

 

 

To be become

Means there is a willingness and ability

To go where God is present.

Willingness.

Ability.

Mobility.

 

On this Trinity Sunday

We are reminded that

 

 

we are disciples of the living Christ

And that we have been given the inheritance,

As God’s beloved children,

Of God’s amazing grace

And eternal love.

 

When you or I might find ourselves

In a place where we perceive God is absent

Turn to Jesus

Because God is there.

Like we hear in the Gospel message today

The original disciples

Went as instructed to where Jesus was

And experienced his directive,

His claim on their lives,

Even as he ascended into heaven.

 

When we go to Jesus,

We drink in the water of our mutual baptism,

We share the bread and cup of his Last Supper

With every generation of Christians who have come and gone before us

And who now join us at the table.

When we go to Jesus,

We are able to experience forgiveness.

We relieve ourselves

Of the burdens of our regrets

Enabling ourselves

To make a fresh start in life.

When we come to Christ

We are able to bathe ourselves in the promise

Of a world that is being transformed into a kingdom

Just as it is in heaven.

At the same time

We uncork the bottle

That leads to eternal life.

 

Come to Jesus every Sabbath day.

Listen for him to speak through the proclamation of the Word.

Jesus, like the puck,

Waits for us to join him,

Both in worship on Sunday, and

Every hour of every day

In the mission field beyond our doors.

 

A willingness to seek Jesus

Comes from both within, and from God.

Confirmation has given you the ability

To seek the resurrected Christ.

You have the ability.

You’ve been gifted this ability.

Sometimes all it takes

Is the power of prayer;

For prayer gives everyone the mobility necessary

To reach out and touch the face of God.

 

 

To be become

Means there is a willingness and ability

To go where God is present.

Willingness.

Ability.

Mobility.

 

On this Trinity Sunday,

We pause to remember

 

 

And we breathe deeply to experience

The presence of God

In and through the Holy Spirit.

 

I remember long ago a famous theologian,

A seminary academic,

Who expounded extensively about the absence of God.

In the thirty-five years since then,

I have come to reject his thesis.

 

God does not leave us.

We leave God, or we think we do.

You or I might go wandering far afield of the river of faith.

Like some of the disciples in our Gospel lesson for today,

There may be times of doubt.

We may abandon the journey towards God.

Yet, it is the gift of God’s Holy Spirit

That follows us where ever we go and whatever we do.

There is no place in heaven above

Or in hell beneath

Where one can escape the presence or love of God.

 

God loves you so much

You were created in God’s very own image!

God loves you so much

You were given God’s Son to forgive you and save you.

God loves you so much

You’ve been given the gift of eternity

In the love and presence of God.

 

When you feel like letting go,

Be willing to hang on.

The Spirit is with you.

When you feel like you can’t,

You can,

Because the Holy Spirit has given you the power and ability.

When you feel like you’re stuck,

You’re not,

Because the Holy Spirit

Brings liberation and freedom and new life.

 

 

To be become

Means there is a willingness and ability

To go where God is present.

Willingness.

Ability.

Mobility.

 

Grace, Trystan, and Ray,

Go where God is

This day,

And every day of your life.

This is God’s plan;

The answer to your question about where you go from here.

 

 

Go where God is.

This is God’s deepest desire.

For you are God’s greatest love.

Amen.