“Bridging the Gap”
Sermon: “Bridging the Gap”
Rev. Glenn G. Grant
Kirkridge Presbyterian Church
Transcription from September 25, 2022
Sermon transcription is automatically generated. Please forgive any grammatical errors.
Having not been in the mall in a long time, I don't even know if the stores still exist. Does the gap still exist? Okay. In some places. Okay. You know the Gap got its name... Do you know where it got its name? It got its name from the generation gap because it was all jeans and things like that. And when they started out in business, it was a difference between the generation that bought those things and their parents, who probably were paying for them.
But any case, uh, the gap, A gap is this thing that we have in our language, it seems to show up in all kinds of places. Depending upon the translation of the passage from Luke that Ken read for us this morning, it might be listed as a chasm or a gap. Now, you know, gap seems a whole lot more innocuous than a chasm.
A chasm seemed so much more serious. You know, we think of chasm, and we think of, um, broad space. A broad space or a deep trench or something that is not crossable. Of course, that made a whole lot more sense to people when we didn't have suspension bridges that could cover miles or you know, where we couldn't just get into a helicopter or a plane and cover vast distances.
And so, we think about these chasms or these gaps that we're talking about in Luke, and of course, there it's the difference between heaven and hell. It is the difference between, those in the heavenly realm and those who've been sent to Hades because of in that passage, of what they didn't do in life.
But there are other kinds of gaps as well. And Jeremiah, what we read from Jeremiah this morning, deals with a different kind of gap. It is a gap between what people are thinking and feeling, and what God's reality is. And that is a much harder kind of a gap for us to get any kind of conception of in our own lives.
But let's set the stage here. The people of Judah are besieged by the Babylonian forces. They can't go out. They have to stay where they are and try and wait it out.
You know, they're surrounded and their hope for the future and what they saw as the promise of the kingdom that God had promised Abram, they think is Evaporated. Because here they are totally surrounded by the Babylonians. They see no way out. They see no hope, no future, and there's this gap between what they had grown up being told was going to be the future and what they can see.
And that kind of a gap is very hard and just as hard to get over as the gap between the heavenly realm and Hades.
But then Jeremiah is told by the word of the Lord to buy a piece of property. Not only is it buying a piece of property, but it's buying a piece of property that is beyond the surrounding Babylonian troops. So, it's buying a piece of property that he can't even access, but it's elsewhere in the Kingdom of Judah.
And so, what he is doing is an act of hope. He is being instructed by God to do something that is a sign that there is a future for the people of Judah that are holed up in this small area, and he's telling them, look, I'm buying this piece of property. I want these deeds sealed in an earthen wear jar because the word of the Lord is that we will once again be planting vineyards and harvesting there.
And that is a promise that there is a way of getting past that gap. Now, this is a season where we have lots of surveys. You know, if you don't block the calls on your cell phone or your house phone, you get inundated with people trying to do political surveys. Um, just this morning there was a report of a big survey that was done not on which party people were voting for but on what they thought were the problems in the country.
And you know, I think most of us see tremendous problems in this country, and in the greater world. I mean, we've got Iran that just fired missiles into Iraq. We have North Korea that just fired a ballistic missile “test” because the US and South Korea were about to start military exercises. We have things going on in between Russia and Ukraine, and how that is spilling over into some of the other countries between Latvia and, you know, it, it just, it's all over the place and it seems like there's no hope of us ever getting out of this.
In this country here, it's the conflict over whether we should have the right to bear arms, versus the right to be able to live without fear that somebody's going to shoot us. Or the right to whatever, you know, you put or ourselves one against the other. And it seems like there is no hope of bridging these gaps and yet, And yet we get the word of God that tells us that there is hope, that there is a future. The church, capital C, all across, you know, the Christian faith is at odds with itself. You know, we have Christian nationalists on this hand, and we have, you know, progressive Christians on this hand, and it seems like we're tearing the church apart!
And yet the word from God is that there is hope that in God's time, we will all be part of the kingdom.
The question is, as in most stories in the Bible, is where do we fit in? Are we Lazarus that put up with a whole lot of crap in our life and now we get to live in God's heavenly realm? Are we the rich man that is confined to Hades because we wouldn't do anything for the Lazarus’ of this world?
Are we the people that are entrapped by a surrounding force that don't feel there's any future even though we were promised one? Or are we, Jeremiah, that is called to do something to show the hope that we have in Christ?
I would suggest that if we claim to be Christians, then we are supposed to be taking the role of Jeremiah, we are supposed to be the ones that are proclaiming a word of hope for the future. Not ones that are saying, Oh, what kind of future do we have? But ones that are saying we can work knowing that God has a future for us. And that's a little different angle.
It's not the future that we are making. It's working to make it so that the future that God has for us is possible.
And we need to bridge that gap. We need to be the people that are building those bridges that are flying those aircraft to get people across those gaps. We need to be the ones that bring the sides together to come to an understanding where we can work together.
We need to be the ones that say, You know what? The church isn't dying. The church is alive and well. We just have to find the rest of the church because for some reason they're not in our walls. And maybe that's because of the gaps that we've created within.
Survey after survey over the last 15, 20 years has been about why younger generations have been falling away from the church, and every one of 'em comes up with the same response. Because the church doesn't have a place for us. Because the church is too restrictive, too dogmatic. And tells me that I'm supposed to hate people that aren't like me.
And if that's what the church is doing, then we're missing the boat. We are missing the boat. And instead of bridging the gap, we are making it wider. And until we start bridging the gap, we're gonna continue to lose the younger generations.
Until we start accepting the younger generation for who they are and allowing them to come along and experience life and to experience God's grace in their lives, just as we have experienced it, then we are keeping them out of the church and building the gap. So, we need to be more like Jeremiah. And do those things that are signs of God's promise for all, for that promised Kingdom.
So, let's be Jeremiah.
Why did my mind just go back to an April Fool's reading? My wife is gonna laugh now. We had a friend that for years was hoping, he kept working and said if Sunday ever came on April Fools, he was gonna sign up to be reader. And he started off by suggesting that he was going to read from Jeremiah chapter 38, I think it was.
And he said, Now let me tell you something about this character Jeremiah. Jeremiah and the choir came in with, was a bullfrog!
That's not the Jeremiah I'm talking about. I am talking about the Jeremiah that was called upon as a prophet to bring the word to God's people, that there was hope even in the midst of the oppression of the Babylonian army that was surrounding them.
And that's the same hope that we have even in the midst of all of the stuff that's going on in the world today around us. So let us live into that hope. Amen.