So here you go, a sermon that involves most of the stuff that I spend my time thinking about. The Gospel, Disney World, Science. Had I been able to include Pam, Nathan, woodworking, rock music and Puns I guess it would be the whole ball of wax. And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. That pouring image is very vivid for us when we pour the waters of Baptism each week. We can visualize that overflowing cascade filling our hearts to overflowing. In thinking about the sensation of feeling, seeing and hearing poured water, all three are very pleasurable to me. There is nothing like a waterfall, and then my mind came to rest on the thought of just about the coolest moving water thing I have ever seen. The first time I ever saw this trick or phenomenon was at EPCOT at Disney World, but they also reproduced a less impressive version at a hospital I visited. The trick is a fountain or squirting water, but it’s no ordinary fountain or water burst. The water comes out and looks like a glass tube or glass ball. It retains it’s shape and flies through the air and looks remarkably clear. I’ve had water poured on me, stood under a waterfall, been sprayed with a garden hose and been shot with a fire hose and all of them have the same thing in common. Aside from getting me wet, I could feel the sensation of droplets hitting and pounding on me. All the water comes apart, but the water that I’m talking about, the magic water, all stays together. I can’t describe the sensation of one of the water missiles hitting you or what it feels like to catch one of the water balls in your hand. Well, maybe it’s not magic. Actually, it’s pure science. To create water columns like this you merely take advantage of what the physicists call LAMINAR FLOW. The opposite to laminar flow would be a turbulent flow which is what we most often encounter. Laminar flow occurs when a fluid flows in parallel layers, with no disruption between the layers. At low velocities, the fluid tends to flow without lateral mixing, and adjacent layers slide past one another like playing cards. There are no cross-currents perpendicular to the direction of flow, nor eddies or swirls of fluids. In laminar flow, the motion of the particles of the fluid is very orderly with all particles moving in straight lines parallel to the pipe walls. A turbulent flow is characterized by conflict, disorder, or confusion and is not controlled or calm. Synonyms include rough, stormy, tempestuous, violent, wild and raging. Turbulence evokes negative thoughts when we even hear the word. I found some interesting and very telling quotes on Brainyquote, “When I am on the plane and turbulence kicks in, I can’t abide it. I feel like we are all going to die, and it takes everything in me to stay calm. (Marsha Thomason) I’m an appalling flyer. I get very tense, although I no longer weep uncontrollably for no reason – I just sob if there’s turbulence. (Samantha Bond) I don’t like to fly. I’ve never been a good flyer. I have a lot of friends that have permanent nail marks in their arms… The moaning that comes from me when there is turbulence. It’s awkward for everyone around. (Sandra Bullock) Digging deeper into fluid dynamics we find that turbulence is caused by the fluid molecule’s interaction with one another and with their surroundings. I found another quote interesting. When a system is in turbulence, the turbulence is not just out there in the environment, but is a part of the organization or organism that you are looking at. (Kevin Kelly) Then a quote really hit home. I was going through a little bit of turbulence in my career. And so, it’s funny how turbulence itself will make you hold onto something for security. And so the only thing I knew is trust in the Lord and lean not unto your own heart, in all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy path.(Emmitt Smith)” There you go. There is a remedy or a cure for turbulence. In water or fluid dynamics you introduce screens like rolled up scotch brite pads and you control the flow which calms the turbulence and gets all the water molecules flowing in harmony with a common direction. That’s how the imagineers at Disney pull off the Jumping Fountains and Juggling Balls of Water. We as human beings behave just like water or dynamic fluids. Left to our own devices we crash into one another, we cling to the wrong things like fluids adhering to the walls of a pipe and spinning off in the wrong direction. We move fast and take no prisoners and create chaos and turbulence and disharmony all around us. But just like in fluid dynamics there is a remedy. God has provided the “rolled up scotch brite pad” for our human dynamics. As Lutherans, we call it Justification. Justification means “to make right”. Or if you think about it in word processor terms, to make it even and square, which is what the justify button does to your paragraphs on your word processor. Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans that “since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to his grace in which we stand.” The act of love and grace that Christ made on the cross stands as a screen that gets us flowing in harmony and peace. It says in proverbs that God established The Fountains of the deep, and assigned to the Sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress God’s command. God created and understands fluid dynamics, also our human needs, desires, wants and our fondness for going down the wrong path and the wrong direction. God saw the turbulence in our system and even watched as his Son got caught in it, so he made some changes to the system. Through faith our lives flow through the grace of the cross and are put back into harmony. Justification is nothing less or more than the promise that God accepts you as you are not because of who you are or what you have done, not because of what you might become or do, not because of who you have promised to be or what you have pledged to do, but that God accepts you because that’s who God is and what God does – justify the ungodly in order that we might know peace and turn in love to extend the same grace, mercy, and acceptance to those around us. So to be a community that looks outward rather than inward or even upward. Outward not inward: we are not called to survive, but to bear witness to the peace of God in Christ that responds to the needs of the neighbor. Outward not upward: God doesn’t need our good works, our neighbor does. In a sense, God in Christ takes care of all the “vertical” dimensions of our life – our relationship with Him and our eternal destiny – so that we can throw ourselves into the “horizontal” dimensions of our lives with those around us. When we turn our eyes outward and extend the peace of God that allows us to transform suffering – ours and that of others – into endurance, character and hope because we have experienced God’s love, the Spirit of Christ is surely present. This is living the cruciform life, or the life of the cross. Receiving from God and serving as vessels or conduits to pass it on. In this the turbulence, the conflict, disorder, confusion, roughness, storminess, tempestuous winds, the wild and raging violence are ordered and redirected into the fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.These are a description of a laminar flow life, a life that flows through the Cross of Jesus Christ and that is changed by it, so that, it can flow out into creation as an awesome spectacular thing. When we are flowing together it is a beautiful thing, better than Jumping Fountains and Juggling Water. It’s our mission and what God intended in His wisdom ever since he laid down the foundations of the Earth. Amen.
The lord be with you and let us pray. Almighty Creator and ever-living God: we worship your glory, eternal Three-in-One, and we praise your power, majestic One-in-Three. Keep us steadfast in this faith, defend us in all adversity, and bring us at last into your presence, where you live in endless joy and love, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Jesus’ ongoing presence with the disciples will be made known through the coming Spirit who will guide them and communicate to them Jesus’ will and glory. The Holy Gospel according to Saint John the 16th chapter. [Jesus said,] “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”