31 Maple Street
Bristol, Connecticut USA
March 10, 2019
2 Corinthians 3:1-6, 18
Rev. Kristen J. Kleiman
This message is based on the children’s book What Do You With An Idea? By Kobi Yamada, a beautiful book that won the Caldecott Award for illustration.
|One day, I had an idea||One day, a man named Saul was walking to Damascus when a light from heaven flashed all around him.|
|“Where did it come from? Why is it here?” I wondered, “What do you do with an idea?”||What is this, he wondered. Who are you, Lord? What do I do with Your love?|
|At first, I didn’t think much of it. It seemed kind of strange and fragile. I didn’t know what to do with it. So I just walked away from it.|
I acted like it didn’t belong to me.
|It all seemed very strange and frankly overwhelming. Saul didn’t know what to do with this experience, and he wished he could walk away.|
|But it followed me.||But Saul couldn’t walk away.|
I worried what others would think.
What would people say about my idea?
I kept it to myself. I hid it away and didn’t talk about it. I tried to act like everything was the same as it was before my idea showed up.
Saul worried what others would think, but Saul knew he would never be able to keep this to himself.
Nothing would ever be the same as it was before Jesus showed up.
|But there was something magical about my idea.||There was something magnificent about this experience with Jesus.|
|I had to admit, I felt better and happier when it was around.||Saul felt better, happier, lighter with Jesus than he had ever felt before.|
In his blindness, Saul realized that he could finally see.
|I showed it to other people even though I was afraid of what they would say. I was afraid that if people saw it, they would laugh at it. I was afraid they would think it was silly.|
And many of them did. They said it was no good. They said it was too weird. They said it was a waste of time and that it would never become anything.
|Once Saul regained his sight and was baptized, he immediately began proclaiming Jesus is the son of God, unafraid of what people would say, unafraid to share the good news of Jesus Christ in the synagogues and to others throughout the Roman world.|
And many people said it was no good. It was not right. They said sharing the good news of Christ’s love was a waste of time and that it would never come to anything.
|And, at first, I believed them. I actually thought about giving up on my idea. I almost listened to them.||Never was there a moment when Saul believed them. Never did he think about giving up on his calling. Never did he listen to them. He listened only to God and Jesus Christ.|
|But then I realized, what do they really know? This is MY idea, I thought. No one knows it like I do. And that’s okay if it’s different, and weird, and maybe a little crazy.||Because Saul realized, what do they know? Jesus chose him to be to Christ’s instrument and bring Christ’s “name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel.” (Acts 9:15)|
|I decided to protect it, to care for it.|
My idea grew and grew. And so did my love for it.
|The Apostle Paul’s ministry grew and grew and so did his love for Jesus Christ.|
|I built it a new house, one with an open roof where it could look up at the stars- a place where it could be safe to dream.||One heart at a time, Paul built a community of believers, a temple, a body here on earth, for Christ’s love.|
I liked being with my idea. It made me feel more alive, like I could do anything. It encouraged me to think big… and then, to think bigger.
Every day spent with Jesus made Paul feel more alive, like he could do anything “through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Jesus encouraged him to think big… and then, to think bigger – traveling farther and farther to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
It shared its secrets with me. It showed me how to walk on my hands. “Because,” it said, “it is good to have the ability to see things differently.”
Even when the disciples said, “You can’t do that. You can’t include them.” Paul trusted in his calling from Jesus.
Paul knew Jesus was calling Christians to see things differently, to do things differently, to include everyone in God’s community of love.
|I couldn’t imagine my life without it.||Paul couldn’t imagine his life without Christ.|
|Then, one day, something amazing happened. My idea changed right before my very eyes. It spread its wings, took flight, and burst into the sky.||Then one day, actually after many days, something amazing happened. It wasn’t just Jews who believed Jesus Christ is Lord. It was Ephesians and Ethiopians, Corinthians and Romans.|
|I don’t know how to describe it, but it went from being here to being everywhere. It wasn’t just a part of me anymore…it was a part of everything.||There’s no way to describe it, but through the power of the Holy Spirit, the good news of Christ’s love went from being here to being everywhere.|
It wasn’t just in Paul’s heart or in the hearts of a small group of believers. It was “written on [the] hearts [of many] to be known and read by all” (2 Corinthians 3:2)
And then, I realized what you do with an idea…
Paul realized what you do with Christ’s love….
You change the world.
The Apostle Paul had his life and his heart completely changed by an encounter with Jesus Christ one day on the road to Damascus, and his life was never the same. However, Paul also believed that God was never done changing him, Christ was never finished transforming him, that all believers were always works in progress, always being transformed by Christ’s love into Christ’s love.
There are times in our Christian faith journeys when we will feel strange and shy about sharing our faith in Jesus Christ. We will worry what people will think. We might be tempted to hide our relationship with Jesus Christ, to keep it to ourselves and try to pretend like our walk with Jesus doesn’t change everything.
And then it happens, maybe not in a flash of light, but in those small and large moments of transformation that make up the life of every believer. However it happens, one day, we realize our lives are better, brighter, more beautiful for the presence of Jesus Christ in them. We could not imagine our lives without him.
And our trust in Jesus Christ makes us stronger, braver, bolder. He encourages us to think big…and then, think bigger, and we say yes! We try new things; we look at things in new ways so we can behold the new things God is doing in our world.
We rejoice that every day we are being transformed by God. And we realize what we are called to do with Christ’s love….
Change the world.