Sermon Details

Where Is the Lord?

June 26, 2022
Wabash Avenue Presbyterian Church in Crawfordsville, IN, invites you to join us as we worship in this time of SARS-CoV-2. Today's Sunday service will be led by Pastor John Van Nuys and Liturgist Rob Hunt. The sermon title is "Where Is the Lord?". Hymns accompanied by Alan White. Thank you for joining us remotely.
(1) When the Lord took Elijah up to heaven, Elijah and Elisha were departing Gilgal. (2) Elijah said, “Stay here.” But Elisha said, “I won’t leave you.” Arriving in Bethel, (6) Elijah said, “Stay here.” But Elisha said, “I won’t leave you.” So they went on. (7) Fifty prophets watched as they reached the Jordan. (8) Elijah took his mantle and struck the water; the water was parted and they crossed on dry ground.

(9) Then Elijah said, “What can I do for you before I leave?” Elisha said, “Grant me a double share of your spirit.” (10) He replied, “This is a difficult request; yet, if you see me as I depart, it will be granted.” (11) Suddenly, a fiery chariot appeared and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. (12) Elisha cried, “Father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” When Elijah was gone, Elisha tore his clothes in grief.

(13) Then Elisha picked up Elijah’s mantle, returned to the Jordan, (14) and struck the water with the mantle, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” And the water parted and Elisha went over.
– 2nd Kings 2:1-2, 6-14

Here are some signs that you might be a geezer: If you own a heating pad and always keep it in your favorite chair, you might be a geezer. When your phone confuses you and your first thought is “I need a young person to help me,” you might be a geezer. If you yearn for the good old days, you might be a geezer.

That last one probably qualifies us all as geezers. Most of us idealize a past time when things were right: Prices were right. Music was right. The world was right. Most people idealize their young adult years as the benchmark of the way things should be. That golden age constitutes our worldview of what is best. And whatever your idealized era is, standards have definitely slipped: “Children today love luxury and they’re lazy. Young people disrespect their elders; they mock their parents; and they tyrannize their teachers.” So said Socrates 2,400 years ago.

Nostalgia is constant, but it heightens during times of accelerated change. Like today. We want things to be like they were. And if you have faith, change makes you wonder about God.

It’s easy to see the hand of God in the world when things are stable; when reality matches our expectations. But with things changing so fast that we don’t know what to expect, it’s harder to see what God is doing. It’s sometimes hard to believe that God is doing anything. Especially when our heroes depart.

Like the World War II generation – the Greatest Generation. They are almost gone. They saved the world. They fought to save democracy. They tried to create a better world for us. And now it’s up to us to pick up their mantle and do the same for our children. Will we be able to?

That’s the question in this scripture. Elijah, the greatest of all the prophets, is leaving. Next up is his successor Elisha, who asks the question many of us have: Where is the Lord?

After Elijah ascends to heaven, Elisha is left with Elijah’s mantle. But having a cape doesn’t make you a superhero. Repeating Elijah’s action of using the rolled up cape to part the Jordan, Elisha towel snaps the Jordan, asking: “Where is the Lord?”

And the waters parted – not because Elisha was worthy; not because his action was perfect; not because his faith was pure – but because God is good. God is worthy; God’s action is right; and God’s faithfulness is from generation to generation. That’s why we can trust God to be who God is supposed to be and do what God is supposed to do.

N.T. Wright says this about being faithful when challenged: “Acknowledge the difficulties; say your prayers; and get on with it.” Trust that God will make the way as you make the effort. And as you do, don’t pine for the past. Instead be grateful for it and move on into the future, trusting that God is at work to make it good as well.

We don’t have to fear tomorrow because God is already there. And we don’t have to be afraid that we are not up to the task because God will help us. Always has. Always will. But God’s help changes. God often has a better way to bless us that feels weird at first, but that will be wonderful as we live into it with trust and hope.

Elisha became a mighty prophet. But he did that by being himself – not by trying to be Elijah. Instead of looking back to Elijah’s past glories, Elisha looked forward and lived into future blessings.

We can, too. In all of our difficulties. God is ready to help us grow, change, and prevail. We just need to focus not on our anxieties, but on the Almighty. Yes, we have challenges, but we also have Christ. And we can do all things in Christ who strengthens us. We are more than conquerors through him who loves us. Who became like us so that we might become like him. So that we could conquer not through the love of power, but through the power of love. Not so that we can win and everyone else can lose, but so that we can all cross the finish line together.

We can have that hope and live into that future because Jesus Christ is risen today. If Jesus Christ conquered the grave, then surely he can conquer everything else: Your fears, the future, your life, this world — all of it shall be shaped by him into a new creation of love, justice, and peace.

We have that future before us. Our Savior is alive. We have a story to tell and a song to sing. God’s kingdom is among us. God’s new day is at hand. Where is the Lord? Right here with you.

In reading this, your heart may be stirred. What you’re feeling is the Holy Spirit drawing you to Christ. To begin or renew a relationship with Jesus, just pray:

“Lord, help me receive your love. I regret the wrong I’ve done. Forgive me. Jesus, I believe you are God’s Son and the Savior of the world. Be my Savior. Save me from myself. Save me for yourself. Enter my heart. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Help me to serve you faithfully and well. Help me to love as you love. Lead me in your Way, Truth, and Life now and forever. Continue to show me who you are and who I am in you. Amen.”

If you pray this prayer, contact a pastor. They’ll show you how to live for Christ with purpose, peace, and joy. Jesus says: “Behold, I make all things new.” That definitely includes YOU!