Sermon for John 1: 6-8, 19-28
I can remember when I was a small child and my favorite thing about church was the stained glass windows. I loved watching how the sun would fade in and out through the glass, delighted with how the pictures seemed to spring to life.
However, only in the presence of stained glass windows in a church did I feel as if God was there with me.
I'm sure that people find, they define church by the objects they most like. For example, some people love the choir. But I'm sure they find that only when the choir is singing that they feel most in touch with God.
You can go home at night, and pray at your bedside to the Lord, but it doesn't have the same affect it does on you at church. Sure, you may have a cross in your house or a picture of Jesus by your bedside, believe me, I do. But does it come close to how you feel at church?
We come out of church on Sunday feeling at peace from spending the morning in the presence of our Lord, only to lose that feeling when waking up early Monday mornings. Shouldn't it be that we are reminded of the very presence of our Lord, at least every day?
I found my answer in an unlikely place when I traveled to New Zealand last summer. It was when we were landing. It had been a 14 hour flight (equal to two school days) one way, the cabin was dimmed, and the windows were closed so people could sleep. I didn't waste a minute when it was announced that we could look outside. Our plane was descending around a neighborhood area, nothing really special. An early morning fog covered the ground so it was hard to see. I didn't pay attention to any of this. What really had captured my mind at the moment was the rising sun.
Between two huge mountains rose the sun in what can be described as "all God's glory." I started to wonder, why has the Lord given me such a wondrous thing to look at? Why has he done this?
Then, it hit me. Here, I was, witnessing God's own stained glass window. It was the rising sun. It lights up everything it touches; making it dance with life like the windows I held dear as a child.
So, in relation to my experience, John the Baptist was the sun that God sent. His job was to shine so that people would know the beauty of the Holy Spirit. By shining, I mean telling people that the Lord is really here with us. This is the light that the gospel talks about. The Knowledge of knowing there is a Holy Spirit. And once you think about it, God sent a homeless man to "testify the light."
He was some hermit man, living out in the middle of nowhere. John wore animal skin, had a beard, and even ate bugs and wild plants. But then again, being able to bear witness to the wilderness around him, made John most aware of the kingdom God had created.
I have a feeling that the Lord wants one person at a time be able to see the light of the Holy Spirit, so that they can go on and spread this wonderful thing to those willing to listen.
What I have to say is that God is the world around us.
Even if you might not see it now, God has set your time to see the light, soon.
As John said to the Pharisees who were sent to question him, "Among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie."
—Elizabeth 'Liz' Moormann, Youth Group Participant