Asbury United Methodist Church
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September 29, 2017

We’re having a fabulous Friday and another weekend is upon us! What can go wrong…right?

          Well, it kind of temps fate somewhat to issue such a statement. Maybe it would be better to ask, what can go wrong that Christ can’t fix?

          This morning I thought of a humorous notation that Eugene Kranz wrote in his autobiography, Failure Is Not an Option. Kranz was the flight controller for the Apollo Eleven moon landing.

          He was also a fighter pilot during the Korean War. He tells the story of a training flight when he was a rookie; and, for some strange reason during a night flight he saw the lights of Alma, Georgia overhead!  

          At first this scene floored him. Then it suddenly dawned on Kranz that somehow he was flying upside down!

          Kranz had no idea how he did that or why he didn’t know.   What he did know was that he was trusting his own devices when he should have been trusting his instruments!

          Kranz claimed that this incident so frightened him and so disoriented him that he was concerned that he might wash out of the flight program.

          But for some strange reason from that time on, deep down in the backroads of his memory, every time that he became disoriented and afraid, John Philip Sousa’s, The Stars and Stripes Forever began to play in his head.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5bcpjUjLpU

          Well, I’d call him crazy but stuff like that happens to me all the time.  Any time I rely on my own devices, my world turns upside down; and, Trust and Obey starts playing in my head!

          Have you ever noticed that for Followers of Christ, whenever we encounter an incident that is disorienting, one that causes us to question Christ’s Lordship, the wheels come off our wagons?

          I am reminded of old Thomas the doubter.   After the crucifixion, the boys are in a mess. They are frightened and disoriented beyond measure.

          They have bet the farm on Jesus. They left their livelihood(s) because they felt called to follow the promised Messiah; and, Jesus is he!

          They’ve witnessed their hopes and dreams fade away like morning fog.  Furthermore, the rumor mill is spreading the news that Jesus’ body is no longer in the tomb!

          “Well, what else can go wrong?” they must surely asked themselves. Again, tempting fate…but things were about to go really right!

          Jesus appeared to them and said, “Peace be with you (John 20:19b NIV).” But, Thomas was not among them that day.

          Later when told of the event, Thomas said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe (John 20:25b NIV).”

          Thomas was disoriented! Thomas was afraid! He was vulnerable! He’d bet the farm on Jesus, but then Jesus died!

          When we boil it all down, Thomas was questioning Christ’s Lordship!  Was Jesus really who he said he was?

        He felt unprotected and exposed.  So, the Lordship of Jesus was lost on him.

          But, you and I know the rest of the story. Jesus had risen from the dead!

          Jesus had demonstrated his Lordship in the most profound way possible. He defeated death!

          Later when Thomas met Christ face to face, The Stars and Stripes Forever began to play in his head! “Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God (John 20:28 NIV)!’”

          As another old hymn sings, “God specializes in things thought impossible (Got Any Rivers?).” Yes indeed, God shows up and surprises us in seemingly impossible ways.

          The disciples were disoriented after the crucifixion and they saw their future not only threatened but rendered impossible.  But then God showed up in a surprisingly new way.

          Today it will serve us well to remember that often times our first response to an upset is to question Christ’s Lordship amid our disorientation. But it also pays to have faith that what’s before us is not the end of the story.

          In fact, what’s in front of us is always a glorious new future that we do not yet realize. Christ will show up! And, it would not be a surprise me if Jesus shows up in a surprisingly new way!

Just sayin’! It’s not like he hasn’t done it before!  

Listen for The Stars and Stripes Forever! That’s your sign!

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