Sermon: “Handling the Truth”
Rev. Glenn G. Grant
Kirkridge Presbyterian Church
Transcription from June 12, 2022
Sermon transcription is automatically generated. Please forgive any grammatical errors.
We can date people in this room and see what kind of movies they watch by how they reacted to the sermon title this morning. Because there might be a few people whose minds went to "Truth! you can't handle the truth". I think that's the correct quote. The funny thing is I never even watched that movie, but I've heard that quote enough that I know what it is.
And I think back on this passage with Jesus telling his disciples that he'll be sending him the spirit of truth, and trying to put myself in their place, like, hold it. We've been with you for three years eating when you eat, sleeping when you sleep, going where you go, watching you heal people that were sick, watching you raise people from the dead, listening to you in your discussions with a Pharisees and Sadducees, and you tell us that we still need to learn the truth? What have you been teaching us?
And you have to wonder, would we have been in the same boat?
The school system that our children started in back in Winchester, Virginia. Well, a couple of them started before that, but that school system in Winchester, Virginia, when our kids were there, from the day kids started kindergarten heard almost daily, when you go on with your education…
When you go on with your education. And by the time they finished high school, they knew that their education was not finished. And it didn't matter whether they were going to be going to a trade school or getting a certificate in something, or doing an apprenticeship, or going to college. They knew that learning was going to be a lifelong thing because they've been taught that from a very early age.
And in the church, for some reason, we seem to think that by the time a child finishes going to Sunday school, whatever age that is, that they've learned what they need to learn. And even adults that think that they have learned what they need to learn about their faith.
And it isn't right. It's not right when we think we have learned everything we need to learn about our faith because every single day we have something new to learn about. Every day!
Last evening, Debbie and I were in Kalamazoo so I could do the wedding of Kyle Adams and Morgan Vincent. Uh, you know, I've done my share of weddings over the years. And yet every one of them comes up differently. You can have the same words on a page that you're going to use, and it still comes out differently.
I don't know that I have ever done a wedding where there was this much giggling from the couple as there was at the wedding yesterday. Giggling to the point where they couldn't repeat the lines that I was spoon-feeding them. And it was just the way that nerves came out. And yet it was a worship service and that God was present. And you learn that in various ways, God is present in those situations.
And it doesn't matter whether it's a wedding, a funeral, a baptism, a confirmation, whatever it is, those milestones like high school graduation, college graduation, or kindergarten graduation. There are places we can look and see how our faith is growing in that particular situation. We have opportunities day in and day out, but we have to be open to them and part of what Jesus was trying to teach his disciples in this farewell discourse that the gospel of John has recorded for us, is that they are going to continue to grow in their faith. That it's not done. He hasn't been able to teach them everything they need to know. Unless there was any doubt in the matter, they still didn't really quite get what he was saying when he said he had to go to Jerusalem and be crucified. They still didn't get it. So, it was really obvious that they hadn't gotten everything that he had been trying to teach them.
I don't think any one of us, I hope, none of us sitting in this room think that our faith is complete. We're still learning things every day. You know, there was a time when in the church it would have been anathema to suggest, to suggest that it was okay for other than a man and a woman to be together as a couple.
And now we are hearing from our scientific community that what we've always referred to as male and female isn't binary, but there's a lot of gradation in the middle. And I challenge you to think back to your own schooling. Most of us remember, you know, there was that battle-ax gym teacher, or those two uncles that live together, or those two maiden aunts that lived together.
And now, in reality, the church has started to realize that there's still something there to learn about our creator and our relationship with God and what that means in the way we treat one another. Whether we agree with people's choices or not, it still gives us a chance to grow in the way we treat and receive one another.
We're still learning how to grow in our faith and to treat people that have different faiths from us.
At the same time, we were having a wedding on this level of the hotel. There was another wedding on this level of the hotel that was at times drowning us out. I'm guessing a Hindu wedding. With probably 400 or 500. And the music blaring and it had started before we got there Friday and it was still going on when we left last night at 9:30, and I know those folks weren't checking out of the hotel yet.
How do you relate to one another? The best example was a young man I heard upon another level calling down into the atrium namaste, good luck! To the bride and groom. I don't think he was Hindu.
But we get are given these opportunities day in and day out to grow in our faith and understand what Jesus was saying to the disciples as part of that. Is that I have taught you as much as I can teach you with my presence. Now you're going to have to learn by living your life with the spirit.
Now, "spirit" we have to understand is the same word as wisdom. The same word as wisdom. Hagai Sophia is Holy wisdom.
So, Jesus is telling the disciples that they are now going to have to live out their faith and continue learning the truth, Holy wisdom, the truth, as they live out their lives from here on out. Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but it seems to me that the things that I've gotten where I've gotten the most wisdom from them, are sometimes painful, it was where I really blew something and I paid a penalty for it, but I also learned the most from it.
And the wisdom that comes from that kind of learning is what teaches you the truth of life. It's the wisdom that comes through painful life experiences and sometimes through extremely joyful life experiences, where you can see that that really made a difference in life. And that kind of joy that is learning the truth.
It's when we learn the joy, as well as the pain that comes from living out God's love and wisdom and grace in such a way that we continue to learn.
Now, I know a lot of times we go through life, just kind of, we go through the motions, we're putting one foot in front of the other, we're going through our daily routine, and we fall into this sense of complacency of you know, this is the way it is. And we forget to open our eyes and see what God is trying to teach us that day or that time.
So, we can walk out on a day like this when it is really beautiful outside. And we can say, oh, isn't this a glorious day. And we let it go with that. Or we can say isn't this a glorious day? I really want to go out and experience all I can of this world’s glory. And then on Wednesday, when it's 95 degrees, we can experience the glories of air conditioning.
But even in that, we can say, you know what God is in this because God gave somebody the gifts to figure out how to cool our air so that we could live in comfort. And God has given us an opportunity to appreciate something that we have that 90% of the world's population doesn’t.
And what does that mean for your faith? What does that mean? For the 90%? We have the opportunity to experience what it is and the good feelings it gives you to participate in the food distribution over at Holy Spirit. And say, you know, I'm really glad that I am not dependent on that for my food. But then we also have to realize there were a lot of God’s children that are in those cars that do. And what does that mean for our faith? What have we learned?
So, truth? Yes, we can handle the truth. But Jesus knew that you couldn't handle it all in one sitting just as, we can't digest everything that's in that book all in one sitting. We have to take it a little bit at a time as we live our lives and grow in the knowledge and wisdom that is God's truth for us. Amen.