I staff an Episcopal retreat for high schoolers called Happening. All weekend there are no phones, no clocks, no watches, etc. We like to say we’re on “God’s Time.” Now, “God’s Time is relative, but basically if we need the Happeners in the Large Group Room in a minute I would say that we have “this much time” and if it’s morning time we would have “this much time” until dinner. Well, it’s almost May which means I have “this much time” till exams, “this much time” till graduation, “this much time” till orientation, and “this much time” until I have to move into Room XXX of Ridgecrest South at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. To give you a reference, Christmas was “this much time” ago. I’m getting closer and closer to the point where I will be trading my current life for something new.
This past summer the theme verse for our annual mission trip came from Revelation chapter 21, “Look, I am making everything new.” It’s one of my favorite theme verses that we’ve had, just because of how well it fit in with the work we do at work camp. Basically, you’re assigned to a group of 5 to 6 people from all over the country and world and y’all spend the next 5 days together working on a house doing repairs, painting, or building porches and wheelchair ramps. The most exciting day is always when we first arrive at our worksite and get to meet the resident of the home we’re about to fix. Most of the times, they are even more excited than we are, but there are some residents who are hesitant at first. This always confused me. I didn’t understand why anyone would be nervous, I just want to say to them “what’s wrong with you? LOOK, We’re making everything new! And not just new, BETTER.” Sure enough, by the last day they are always delighted with their home, and can’t believe they were nervous before. I partially understand. New is scary, it’s different. When you’re comfortable with something you naturally tend to resist change. The same goes for me as I’m getting ready for college. I’m excited, but also terrified. It’s not like my life now is broken, though. My friends, my family, my church are FAR from being a rotting porch or some chipped house siding. How can I be ready for new if I don’t even know that it will be better.
Revelation tells of a new heaven and a new earth where “God will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them” and the best part, “death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” I think a lot of times we get so preoccupied with our everyday lives. With the concerns of this “first earth.” We want to make sure our lives are perfect and we are so fearful of letting that go. But Jesus has so much bigger plans for us. He is ALREADY making all things new, and not just new. Jesus has already begun the kingdom. That is what church is, His body, His bride, His children who already live in joy. But it is NOT FULLY here. There is more to come. It will be BETTER than we can imagine! Brooke already talked some about the plan God had for Jesus to be crucified and save us from our sins and the plan he has for our lives. But God’s ultimate plan is beyond heaven and earth
Being able to give the sermon today has also given me an opportunity to say some things that I cannot pass up I want to thank my parents for raising me to love Christ and doing an incredible job of preparing me for the future. I love y’all.
Growing up in St. Andrew’s has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. I am more thankful for the wonderful people at this church than I could ever put into words. There are some downsides to being a priest’s kid, but I’ll tell you what, I think there are so many more positives. This church has been a huge part of me and I can’t thank y’all enough for how sweet you have been to me and my family and how much I love this congregation. On behalf of the whole youth group, I need to give a special thanks to Julie, Jill and Chris. Y’all have put so much time and effort into EYC and I know we don’t say it enough, but we appreciate all your work. The youth group here at St. Andrew’s is the best group of young people I have ever been around and truly are my family.
I don’t know how this next year is going to go and I don’t know what my future holds. But what I do know, is it is all going to be okay, for the Lord said “I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end” and God himself will wipe away every tear from their eyes.