Friday, December 31, 2021

Sermon - New Year's Eve, December 31, 2021

'The book of Revelation gives us the vision of the end of time. The word ‘end’ can be defined as a stopping point, but a richer and fuller meaning might be expressed in the use of the word ‘goal.’ The goal of time is the healing of all things.' 


New Year’s Eve

December 31, 2021

The Rev. Maurice C. Frontz, III


Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.


A couple of weeks ago, Google revealed the number-one search for the year 2021 – and it was ‘how to heal.’ This question and variations on it seem to have been on our collective mind. From COVID, to mental health crises, political turmoil and division, anxiety about economic factors, people believed they needed healing and they were ready to admit it – at least to Google.


As we await the dawn of the new year 2022, no doubt we are hoping it brings some relief. However, the longer we live we are aware that the turning of a calendar page does not necessarily bring with it an immediate change in outlook or fortune. What then? Why mark this day at all? Shouldn’t we be at home, hunched over our computers or phones, scrolling through an endless stream of news, frantically searching for healing?


No, we are here, in church, because we believe that all the healing that has been, is, and will be, come comes through Jesus Christ. He is the source of all healing. We do not reject doctors, mental health professionals, medicine, or any kind of human arts of healing. We simply believe that these gifts, and all gifts of any kind, come from Jesus Christ.


These gifts may even include internet search engines, taken in moderation, that we may assess threats and formulate responses to them. They can teach us many things. They cannot, however, teach us how to trust. The concept of trust is antithetical to a search engine. We type in our searches on ‘how to heal’ or any other question, and we are suddenly confronted with a seemingly infinite number of answers and paths to take, with very little guidance as to which answer might be right for us. This can be especially true for people who become sick, begin to consult various webpages on their disease, and become paralyzed by confusion, anxiety and fright. Where is the trusted family doctor of a Norman Rockwell painting, upon whom we could rely for knowledge and a treatment?


Of course, we cannot put our trust in any human help, for no human being is perfect or all-seeing. No internet search is guaranteed to bring us quickly to the proper answers. But we may put our trust in Jesus Christ. He it is who answers our anxious questions about healing, so that with clear and enlightened minds we may ask him to guide us in the trials and travails of daily life.


The book of Revelation gives us the vision of the end of time. The word ‘end’ can be defined as a stopping point, but a richer and fuller meaning might be expressed in the use of the word ‘goal.’ The goal of time is the healing of all things. (God) will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away. And the one that was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new!’


To our anxious question, ‘Is there healing, a meaning, a renewal of all things?’ our Lord Jesus answers with an unequivocal ‘Yes.’ The creation and all things are to be made new and all suffering and death will be memory, if not less than memory. This is the Christian hope for final and complete healing. When we feel the brokenness of our bodies and of the world, when our nerves and our hope have been stretched taught and to the breaking point, we must see with the eyes of faith this vision of the end, or goal, of time.


We cannot do anything to bring this vision to fruition. To believe that such frail and fallible creatures as we are can accomplish the day of universal freedom, peace and healing is rather short-sighted, to say the least. We can only trust that God in his grace and power wills to bring it about, and that the sign of his good and gracious will is the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the presence of his Spirit in the Church.


In the light of this vision, we may take steps to bring healing to the parts of the world we can influence. We may seek healing for our bodies and minds and for the creation, believing that the final and complete healing comes through Christ. We might even use the internet to do this.


But again, the internet tells its own story to us. Every time we use it, every time we seek answers with it, its message is that the answer in which we can put our trust and faith is somewhere in its recesses, that our job is to search for it and click on it and find it. But we know this is not true. The internet does not show us God's vision for the future. The internet is a resource, but it cannot make promises. Only God can do that.


Instead we listen to God’s story, we immerse ourselves in his community, including the needy and poor among us, in whom he graciously allows us to minister to him. We put our trust in the vision of the new creation and we strive to live by it in our lives. In the year 2022, this is how we Christians can go about the work of healing, receiving it in our own bodies and minds and blessing others with the healing we ourselves have received from God.


Happy New Year! 

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