Are We There Yet?

Jeremiah 33:14-16 and Luke 21:25-36 Did you know that kids actually ask, “Are we there yet?” That’s not just something that happens in movies and on TV.  It’s a real thing, and I know this because of our recent Thanksgiving road trip to Georgia.  We were twenty miles out of town when I heard it for the first time: “Are we there yet?” Are you kidding me with this?  How can that question be for real?  “Yes, we’re there, but I’m continuing to drive because I love reaching back to hand you snacks or pick up a toy every ten minutes.”  No, we’re not there!  If we were there, the car would be stopped. “Are we there yet.”  Sheesh. Although…  As ridiculous as the question is, I do understand why my kids are asking it:  they have no idea how long this car ride is going to be.  They have no idea how long any car ride is going to be.  That happens when you have no concept of time or distance.  I can’t tell them, “About 200 miles.”  That would have about as much meaning to them as, “About 15 parsecs.”  And although my five-year-old can (kind of) read a clock, she does not clearly understand the difference between seconds and minutes and hours.  So – true story – although I explained that the drive would take about four hours, she became infuriated before we even left the state because she claims I said, “Four minutes.”  Honey, no drive is four minutes long.  Sorry. “Are we there yet” is a one of those questions that makes complete sense...

November 22 Sermon

Leviticus 24:1-4 The first pastor I remember stayed at my home church for a very un-Methodist sixteen years.  When the time finally came for him to leave, naturally the new guy had a tough time filling a pair of shoes that had been worn by one person for so long.  For the most part, I was unaffected by this change of leadership; I was off at college at the time, hearing reports second-hand.  But there was one thing that affected me, one change I had questions about. When I visited home and attended church, my eyes would always move from the pastor to just above him – to his left and up about ten feet in the air – to a new object he had introduced: The eternal flame. We had never had one of these bad boys before.  It looked… old.  And like something out of my great-grandfather’s Greek Orthodox Church.  Instead of listening to the sermon, I’d sit there and wonder:  Is that electric, or is it really lit?  Does it ever go out?  Is it going to burn the church down one night? And most of all:  What does it mean, and why did the new pastor care enough about it to put it in our church? Today’s sermon is, in part, for me from seventeen years ago; Leviticus 24 is part of the Scriptural basis for “eternal flames” like that one. At face value these four verses tell us what it was, and the first main attribute you might notice is “continually” or “regularly” (depending on your translation).  Three times that word shows up:  keep...