You are on page 1of 2

Sermon for Church of the Holy Trinity Jay Berry May 5, 2013 Peace to you in the name of the

God who creates, redeems, and sanctifies. Have you ever dreamed that God would tell you exactly what to do? As if you could look out a window and see a sign that tells you to become a missionary in Africa, or sell your house and move to Florida, Texas or even Wisconsin. What if you heard a radio announcement telling you personally to enroll in nursing school or seminary? And of course wouldnt it be nice if God would help us prevent mistakes? Imagine looking up in the sky and seeing a message meant only from you where the skywriting Yes its OK to marry Bob or Betty as the case may be? Why is it that there are some people who claim to have frequent supernatural experiences like this on a frequent basis? They give you the impression that whenever a decision needs to be made, God somehow miraculously speaks to them, and they know exactly what God wants them to do. There may be a few people who have this experience, but most of us go years, maybe a lifetime without anything mystical or supernatural happening. But what about the rest of us who never have experiences like this? What does it mean for us? Well, it doesnt mean that God isnt trying to communicate with us. There are three points about dreams and visions that Id like to cover this morning. They are: 1. Revelation 2. Exceptional 3. Historic REVELATION God has from time to time throughout the Bible revealed his will through dreams and visions. Keep in mind that these are very rare occasions. Even still, there are many Scriptural examples: Gods call to Abraham, Moses and the burning bush, Jacobs ladder, Josephs dream, Samuel hearing the voice of the Lord, Daniels vision of the 4 creatures, Joseph being warned in a dream to take Jesus and Mary to Egypt. Last week we heard about Peters vision of the animals being lowered out of heaven. Today we read about Pauls vision of the man from Macedonia. And we should remember to include Johns vision that makes up the Book of Revelation. These examples will confirm that God does indeed communicate using dreams and visions through the power of the Holy Spirit. EXCEPTIONAL Lets remember that dreams and visions are exceptions and not the rule. God may not communicate in dreams and visions very often and he certainly didnt do it for everybody in the bible. If you look at the whole Bible in a broad sweep, it would seem that these dreams and visions could be grouped around three major periods: Moses and the exodus from Egypt, the days of the Prophets, and the life of Jesus and the early years of the Christian church. Lets face it, the average Israelite of the Old Testament or the average early Christian of the
1 |Page

New Testament rarely, if ever, had any unusual dreams and visions that would be considered messages from God. But if they did it would be by the power of the Holy Spirit. HISTORICAL God spoke during critical moments of history. God called Moses to come and lead Gods people out of Egypt. God spoke to Peter when Peter needed to understand that the gospel was not just for the Jews but for gentiles too. God spoke to Paul when he had to recognize that he couldnt stay in Asia Minor, but needed to head west to Greece and Rome to advance the proclamation of the Gospel. Perhaps God speaks in dreams and visions when Gods will is not understood any other way. There have been times when Ive felt that God speaks to me. I dont mean like an audible, linguistic type of speaking. Over the past few years Ive sensed the Holy Spirit is stirring and prompting me to go on this adventurous journey called ministry. In this period of discernment prior to ordination, I am actively listening for Gods voice. It is so interesting that I hear God speaking to me through the voices of regular people. I hear it in the affirmation of my call. I hear it when Alan acknowledges something insightful that Ive discovered. I notice it when any of the priests here preach something that speaks directly to my heart, and that has happened quite often. These are spectacular types of messages. While they are not historical, they are moments when I sense the Holy Spirit trying to shake me up and make me listen. Sometimes we may not like hearing what God has to say. In the Gospel reading today, we heard a portion of the Farewell discourse which I would consider is the heart of the Gospel, the most important discourse given to prepare the disciples for Jesus departure and the bestowing of the Holy Spirit upon them. Its his instruction to the disciples about how to live in a world full of antagonism and conflict. Good-byes are never easy. Jesus was consoling his friends. But I think theres more to it than consolation. Jesus wasnt just preparing them for his departure I think Jesus was preparing them for their departures their journeys into ministry. It will be up to them to spread the Good News of Jesus death and resurrection to all. They are being charged with letting all people know that the power of death has been broken through Jesus, and that we too are invited into this life of grace, through Christ. But these roads they must travel had trials and tribulations. The paths will have bumps in the road. Speaking of good-byes, today, we say good-bye to Richard and wish both he and Brad the best. Its hard to say good-bye but, theres a vision a purpose for new and exciting adventures. Next week I will be saying good-bye as your seminarian intern. This has been an incredible year for me. both Charlie and I have been richly blessed by this field education assignment. Alan has been a good teacher and friend. Marissa, Richard and Terry have all been very helpful with their encouragement and suggestions. And you folks, your affirmation of my ministry means so much you see its in your voices that I hear Gods voice . Saying goodbye is hard, but Gods vision and purpose prevail. When you think that God isnt speaking to you, I ask that you think about this one last vision. Johns vision of heaven with the river of the water of life is meant for all. This same river - where the tree of life will bear fruit to heal the nations which means that in Christ Jesus all will be healed. There will never be dark moments, for we will all bask in the light of the Lamb of God. We will all meet there in a great cloud of witnesses, gathered together at the River by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

2 |Page