Pulling the ThreadMark 13:1-8
[Intro: Sermon Title change]
Let us Pray…
There is a thread loose. Don’t how how it got loose, but there is a thread loose. It is minuscule, but it is hanging there. A speed bump on the smoothness of the material. It dances when the breeze breathes across it. Waving as the dust mites dance in the ray of the shining sun. the is a thread loose.
This loose thread started at the first breath of creation. It is wound from the bark of the tree of life. Generation after generation adding to its story. Winding itself on the spinning wheel of the cosmos; as this piece is woven the thread is attached to the shuttle of time and passed over and under the warp of history. It weaves the fist row as the first ones walk through the garden; adding each successive row with each generation. The warp and weft of the material grows heavy as the weight of history begins to leave its mark. Frayed edges; places where neglect skipped a thread; the dinginess of the manufacturing floor; this veil is hung in the high place of the temple. This garment of history is hung between the dwelling place of God and of God’s creation. And there is a thread loose.
I am going to confess that this is not the sermon I was planning on preaching. Once again we are coming face to face with he evil that is in our world. The words of Jesus this morning can not be more appropriate for today, can they?
Every where we turn it seems all that we can see is death and destruction. We see hurting and pain. It is enough to make on sick. And I am sick. I am sick and tired of having to preach these kinds of sermons. I am tired of seeing hate on my Facebook news feed. I am tired of having to shield my daughter’s eyes from the television. I am tired of hearing people spew hatred to an entire religion because of the actions of madmen. I am tired of it.
I want to be one of those disciples who ask Jesus to tell me when it will all be over. When will the killing end. When will the death end. When will the hatred end. I want to pin him to a wall and make him give me a straight answer. I am sick to death of all of it. Enough is enough.
And then I think about a loose thread.
And soon as that thought appears it is gone. Consumed again by rage. Jesus answers his disciples telling them that there will be many who claim to know the answer saying, “I am he.” He tells the that there will be politicians who claim to be the messiah in the bellicose blathering. They will claim to speak for him when they advocate killing and war. They say they speak for him when the ignore the plight of the refugee and immigrant – in fact they will use them as pawns in their political maneuvering.
The thread is loose.
Jesus warns of wars and rumors of wars. He speaks of terror attacks in Paris leaving hundreds dead. He speaks of bombs in Beirut that will level the cedars of Lebanon – 40 dead and 200 hundred injured. A Baghdad funeral leaves more dead.
Jesus must be getting tickled by the loose thread because he says that these things must take place. The end is yet to come. What is the end, Jesus? When will all this end? We just wanna know.
There will be more destruction. A heroin addict overdosed 3 blocks form the Church Thursday night, and instead of concern for the person there was the mantra of – one more out of the hood. There was a man murdered by arson 8 blocks away, a man without a home and in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Nation will rise up against nation, Jesus says.
There will be earthquakes and famines, Jesus says.
The thread is loose.
It all makes me want to pull the thread and let it all come falling down. I just want to rip the seam and let all of the horrible happen and just be done with it.
The thread is loose. Then Jesus says something else. He opens his mouth again, Listening to him – what else can it be? What else is left?
“This is but but the beginning of the birth pangs.” And in 48 hours he, too, is dead. It is the end.
I stand there looking at his outstretched arms. Nailed to wooden beams. I see him there. And waving in the breeze stuck in the crown upon his head I see a thread. Dancing in the breath of the breeze.
I hear a scream. The rain starts to pour. I run to that place of safety the temple and there I see it. I see the thread ripping tearing its way down the veil between the Dwelling Place of God and God’s creation. I see through the rip in the veil, as the tread zig-zags its way down, I see light breaking through. Light making its way into the darkness. In that light I see the silhouette of the cross. I see Jesus calling me to lay my weary head on the foot of the cross. I see on the cross all of the tears, I hear all of the cries. At the cross I see God, Fully God – die a fully human death. I see in Jesus, God taking upon God’s self all of it. All of the death. All of the destruction. All of the hate.
I see myself in the face of Jesus. I see you in the face of Jesus. I see all of your pain. All of your fear. I see all of the darkness that you carry on the cross. And I hear Jesus. Jesus is calling out this is the beginning of new life. This is beginning of the birth pangs of a new creation.
The thread is loose. And in the light now busting through from the dwelling place of God into the place of God’s people I see an unveiling. I see the true glory of God – there on the the cross. I see hundreds of Parisians gathering on the night of a terrorist attack with a giant sign that says “Not Afraid.” I see Baghdadi’s getting married in the face of death. I see the might cedars of Lebanon laying the foundation of a new generation.
I see the Hebrews dancing across the Red Sea.
I see Sarah laughing.
I see Mary holing her belly knowing that this day would come.
I see Christians facing the lions.
I see Harriet Tubman conducting the underground railroad.
I see children holding hand not caring what color they are.
There at the cross I see Christians and Muslims protecting each other as they pray and proclaiming Terrorism Has No Religion. At the cross I hear the words of theologian Fredrich Buechner echoing the words of the angels, “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”
This is but the beginning of the birth pangs of a new creation. The cross happens to prove that there is nothing to fear. Nothing our God will not do for us. Our God died for us, so that when the terrors come we would know that we are not alone – for even God understands terror.
The loose thread finally fully unfurled reveals that even in death Our God comes out on the other side. Our God declared victory over the all of the forces that seek to destroy. That doesn’t mean they go away, or that we will never encounter them – no, it means that we don’t have to live in fear of them. We don’t have to live in fear of terrorists, because we know the promise of God. We don’t have to live in fear of the wars and rumors of wars, because we know that the prince of peace will triumph. We don’t have to live in fear of those who look different from us or believe different from us, because we serve a God who died on the cross for all of us.
The thread is no longer loose, but has been ripped out revealing God’s new and glorious creation. Giving us hope. Giving us perseverance. Giving us the reminder that God’s love for us knows no bounds. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
War can’t keep us from the love of God.
Terror can’t keep us from the love of God.
Addiction can’t keep us from the love of God.
Abuse can’t keep us from the love of God.
Death can’t even keep us from the love of God.
For in all these things we are more than conquerers. Nothing in all of creation can keep us from the love of God. This is the new creation.
Friends, Be not afraid. Trust in the love of God. Trust in that in the cross of Christ – all of the powers of death of destruction came to an end and no longer can control you. Be not afraid. Weep. Cry. Lament. Lean on the cross. But be not afraid. The thread is gone and the veil is torn. You are God’s.
Thanks be to God