You are not here on your own - that's what we've been talking about together for these past days! You're not just your mother's son or daughter put on this earth to find your way for seventy or eighty years and then go out like a light. You were made by a loving Father who made you as part of his only Son - the son that expressed himself in a human body in the first century as Jesus of Nazareth. One of his disciples put it like this - " we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that he has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" - and the corollary of this is what Christ himself said - "you are in me, and I am in you". You have been put here to let God's son, Christ Jesus, live a unique version of himself through you - that's why you exist and why you'll exist forever.
But you know as well as I do that we have not lived like that - we've lived as if we made ourselves - as if we have to get the world's approval or fame to fill up the emptiness we feel inside. Our indifference to the reality that our Maker's Son is in us leaves a very big hole - we miss the favor of our God; we miss his love and the feeling that we really do belong to somebody who cares for us; and we miss the assurance that we really will not go out like a light but will continue to live as we somehow feel we ought. Our daily lives bring home to us repeatedly both the absence and the presence of our real identity - we face the sense of resentment when people don't respect us, but on the other hand we feel at times some of the humility of the man who washed his disciples' feet. We face the fear of losing our jobs and our source of money and clothes, yet on the other hand we find within us some of the feeling that the Father who feeds the birds will feed us if the time comes. So, all of us have experienced the failure of the world of people and things to give us security and significance, yet we've also experienced feelings of goodness within us that we think must come from somebody better than ourselves.
Our nature seems to let us down! We see good in the world and ourselves, but we also see bad in the world and ourselves. There seems to be something or someone inside us trying to get out; but it or he seems to be repressed or imprisoned or opposed by our own personalities that behave as if we made ourselves: we feel we have to get what we need from the world outside us rather than from someone inside us. This personality seems to be perverted or corrupted, and - try as we will - we cannot make it work from the inside out - it seems empty and incapable of living independent of the world outside.
And, of course, our Creator knew this - and arranged it all this way, so that we would face the fact that we are part of his only Son. Only as part of Him could we experience in his death our Maker's absence yet regain in his life our Maker's presence. Only thus are we enabled to "have our cake and eat it" - to experience the nothingness that exists outside God, yet have the chance to choose the reality that exists inside God. What we see on this planet is community without God and individuality without God. Both have been graciously re-created in eternal space-time so that we are able to taste them both here in time. Only the Creator can actualize that new creation here in time and only his spirit can radically change the corrupted nature of the world and ourselves. Let's look next time at the changes this brings.