Der Vasken's Sermon on September 6, 2020

Sep 15, 2020

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

I have a question for all of you this morning.  Have you noticed lately that it is getting harder and harder to be patient over these last several months?  I have sensed that people, in general, are feeling weary and burnt out from months of uncertainty and months of craziness caused but this endless pandemic and caused by the many social issues that surround us every day.  Our patience has been tested. Today's message is about patience.

Today's Bible reading tells of a man, who lived patiently his entire life waiting for someone who could cure him of his physical condition.  This man was born unable to hear or speak with the world around him.  And he lived his whole life seeking a cure for his condition.  The medical world of his day was unable to help him or give him any hope.  And one day he learns that Jesus, the Miracle Worker, was passing through his village.  He realizes that this may be the one chance he had to better his lot in life.  So he takes it and he seeks out Christ.  

If we read between the lines of what is happening here, we see a man, who spent his entire life waiting--waiting for someone to help me, waiting for a cure and waiting for someone to bring sound into his silent world.  And so after a lifetime of silence, he seeks out the help of Jesus, and as we all heard, this patient man received what he spent his entire life hoping for.  This is a "feel good" story. It is the story of a man holding on to hope, a man having trust in God and a man, who turned to his faith and found healing, but it is also the story of a man of great patience.  And as I said, that is what I want us to focus on this morning.

I have noticed that we have been people of great patience these last many months.

  • We have shown patience with the COVID crisis, the civil unrest, the indecision about what schools will look like in the fall.
  • We have shown patience with our virtual world of Zoom meetings, working from home and wearing masks everywhere we go.
  • We have shown patience with churches more empty than full, standing six feet apart, closed stores restaurants and many other places of business.
We have been patient.  So what is patience?  Patience is a new parent, who gets up at 3:00 a.m. to comfort his or her infant week after week after week, and does so with the greatest of love in their heart.  Patience is a parent teaching a teenager how to drive without getting angry at every wrong move.  Patience is the ability to count down from ten before saying something that may come out in anger.  Patience is the whole Old Testament waiting for the Coming of Christ and the Beginning of the New Testament. Faith is patience.  Hope is patience.  Love is patience.  Patience is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit given to those who believe.

Recently, I started reading a book by one of the two main candidates running for President in the November elections.  In this story, the candidate tells of an early life struggle--a struggle he felt that needed to be overcome.  This struggle caused him great ridicule as a child and he felt that he needed to conquer this struggle in order to achieve the dreams he had for himself.  And so he began to address the struggle and through helpful exercises, through therapy and through believing in himself, he overcame his struggle with stuttering.  And throughout the years it took to overcome this challenge, he admits that it took three things--three very important things--for him to achieve his goal.

  • It took faith in both God and himself.
  • It took the love of his mother.
  • And it took a great amount of patience.
By his high school graduation, the stuttering, the struggle, the challenge was long gone.  I got a lot out of this book so far.  Everybody struggles with some challenge and patience plays a big role in how we face those challenges.  If we struggle with patience in our own lives, imagine how many others are struggling as well.  If we saw the inner struggles of one another, think about how much more patient we would be as a society.  Patience is not something we achieve. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit within us.  We must pray for it.  It is a virtue that we receive when we live in Christ.

Think about it.  If Shakespeare, the great writer, was in us, what stories we could write.  If Beethoven, the composer, was in us, what music we could create.  If Christ, the Son of God, were in us, what a life we could live!  But there is no "if" about it.  We cannot have an indwelling Shakespeare or an indwelling Beethoven because they are both dead.  But we can have an indwelling Christ, Who always was and always will be which means that in and through Him, we can have patience or we can have whatever virtue we seek.

I will end with this.  Patience is something that seems to be hard to find more and more every day.  Patience comes from God.  It is a fruit that He produces within us to be shared with the world.  So on this Labor Day weekend, think about where in your life could you use more patience and what in your life causes you to lose your patience?  And then ask yourself, "What message are you giving to God?"





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