The Ark

Good morning Faculty and Staff,

My husband doesn’t drink coffee. I have tried to convince him that it is the “nectar of the gods” but he has held steadfast over the years. Occasionally, a peppermint-mocha-topped with whipped cream or an eggnog latte has made it into the mix but only if the espresso is almost completely hidden under the sugar.

There is a reason my husband has this aversion. When my husband was about 5 years old attending a family gathering of some sort, he noticed a glass of brown liquid sitting on a table. Thinking it was a glass of soda and eager for a sip of the sugary substance he reached for the unattended beverage and took a big gulp. It was at that very moment that a pattern in my husband’s life became set because rather than the sweet liquid he was expecting, he found himself with a mouthful of cold black coffee.

I find this is the way a lot of patterns of aversion take place. At some point in time we don’t get what we expect and as a result we develop a distaste for the thing that disappointed us, that thing that did not deliver the sweetness that we had anticipated. I watched something like this happen just a few weeks ago in one of our worship services.

On a Sunday evening our students often come looking for inspiration for their coming week or forgiveness from their past one. It is a reasonable expectation because at our Collegelife services we talk a lot about Jesus, who both inspires and forgives. However, on this particular evening the message was more push than pleasure, more work than reward, more education than emotion. And some of our students, who had come expecting a sugary substance were disappointed by what they discovered in the cup and now I am praying that a pattern of aversion does not take place simply because what was expected and what was offered failed to make a match.

I think this must have been Jesus’ prayer as well because what Jesus offered to drink was entirely different than what people expected to consume. See, since the time of Noah, God’s people had come to believe in a storyline that said, when things in the world go wrong God calls his people to build an “ark” to escape it. It was firmly believed that God’s law and its requirements were to keep God’s chosen few safe from the world and rocked gently in the bow of the boat. Many came to believe that God’s desire was to rescue the righteous from the world and to leave the rest in a flood of judgment. 

But when Jesus came he didn’t build God’s people an ark and he certainly didn’t just rock them gently while singing them their favorite lullaby. Jesus’ answer to a world gone wrong was not an “ark” but a mission where a flood of living water would pour out into the whole world.  Jesus didn’t call people into a boat but rather invited them to step out of their boat onto the stormy seas of the world. And for many this was more push than pleasure, more work than reward, more education than emotion and some would spend the rest of their lives missing out on the “nectar of God” simply because it was not according to their tastes.

God’s people expected their Messiah to save and rescue them from the world and this was going to be so sweet for them. But Jesus the Messiah had bigger plans, he came to save and rescue the whole world and for that to happen he needed a group of followers who were willing to let go of their own personal tastes and follow him into the world so that things might become sweet for the entire earth. 

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.” “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” “And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. “

I know that many of us want an ark; it has been the temptation of God’s people since the time of Noah. And If I’m honest some days I wish I could ride out the waves in the peace of my own little raft. But Jesus response to the world was not ark building but mission making.  Will you follow him so that together we can flood the whole earth with living water?

We are in the middle of our International Week Celebration and we invite you to join us this morning in Chapel as we hear God’s call to follow him to the ends of the earth. One of our partners in mission, Randy Bevis, a North Park University graduate and Covenant Missionary from Thailand will be opening God’s word for us this morning and the Dave Husby from Covenant World Relief will offer us some new ways to engage. Join us as we join God in the mission.

Let’s flood the world,

Pastor Judy

 

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