I'm sure some of you are wondering what this week's interesting engagement bit is going to be,
Or maybe not.
Well, in your pew you will find a bowl with a little capsule in it.
Do you know what the capsule is?
If you do, you might be able to figure out what the theme is for today.
In the passage from Revelation today,
John hears God say that God will give a gift of water to all those who are thirsty
from the spring of the water of life.
The spring of the water of life
is a symbol of new and refreshed life.
Not quite the same as the fountain of youth so longed for
by the medieval kings and queens of old.
God's water grants resurrection life,
God's water is the living water of Jesus Christ.
I'm going to walk around with a pitcher of water here
and all those who are "thirsty" or simply curious as to what is going to happen,
hold out your bowl,
and then drop the colored capsule in it.
It is regular water, but the imagery is good.
Just wait and see.
(walk around with pitcher of water)
In John's vision, we hear God say,
"See, I am making all things new."
Transformation is also a gift from God.
John sees God create a new heaven and a new earth,
a brand new creation.
Interestingly enough, the vision specifically leaves out the sea.
At that time, the sea was the primeval force of chaos,
The sea signified unrest and turbulence,
not the order and goodness of God.
That is why the sea was no more.
The vision compares and contrasts what God is doing in recreating the world,
by creating order and peace,
Instead of the chaos and turbulence which pervades our world today.
Thankfully, the vision doesn't leave out the goodness of water entirely.
We do have the water of life imagery,
God gives the water of life to those who are thirsty.
How is your bowl of water doing?
What has happened to your capsule?
It has been transformed.
No longer the dry little pills, all the same shape,
they have been made new with the gift of water.
Now we have lots of different shapes!
They have been transformed,
not of their own power,
but by our grace and purpose
Just as we are recreated
not on our own power,
but by God's grace and purpose.
While most of us long for salvation, for some saving help,
like we talked about last week,
not all of us long for transformation.
Yet, sometimes despite our best efforts,
God does offer us transformation
and we do transform throughout our lives.
Sometimes in very directed ways,
sometimes in more wandering ways.
Transformation is not always easy.
Okay, I feel I'm always saying things are not easy.
Most of life is not easy.
But good transformation is worth it.
Especially transformation in Christ.
Its another one of those things that happens
and half the time we don't realize its happening
until we look back and see, golly!
Things have changed.
I am a process person, in that I like good processes.
They make sense to me, lined out step by step,
with progression forward and learning and testing and change.
However, not everyone is like me.
And some of us grow, learn, and change in very different ways.
God works in us without us always realizing it.
God is transforming the world around us all the time.
We move through an ever changing world
we move through death and new life hundreds of times in our lifetimes.
God is making all things new.
It is a promise, a threat, a comfort, and a warning.
We don't know what the world will be like when God is done making it new
We don't know what we will be like when God is done making us new
Another interesting note in the vision John sees is the community.
Not once in the book of Revelation is there a scene in the visions of heaven,
where there is only one person or angel or cherubim off doing their own thing
There is always community.
(Which is a bit of a scary prospect for an introvert like me... everyone else, all the time? Ah!)
But the comfort in this is that we are not in this alone.
Even as we change over time by ourselves,
This community transforms us as we grow into it.
God gives us this gift and will transform us together.
We grow into the full stature of Christ
as Christ formed his followers in the first century,
Throughout St. John's life, this parish and community has grown and changed.
At first it was a community that could barely hold together for regular services.
Then it blossomed into a wealthy congregation
comprised of the social elite of Franklin.
Then it widened its focus and became a broad community church,
serving all those who come seeking God.
And while the congregation is changing these days mostly by growing older,
there is new life emerging in the new faces and people who are joining in,
seeking God and joining in the community
to be transformed into true followers of Jesus Christ.
In Revelation, John wants to remind the churches of what God is doing for them.
And what a better way than to show them what they have to look forward to.
A new heaven, a new earth, a new creation.
Fully lived and loved in God.
God is making all things new,
even our messy selves.
God is working in us,
drawing us closer to the heart of Love
transforming our hearts of stone into hearts of love,
and recreating us in community.
Let us praise God today in wonder of the truly marvelous work God is doing
in transforming heaven, earth, all creation,
into something that is good and holy and loved.