When We Can’t Know the UnKnowable…God Sends The Power to Do the Undoable

Here’s a truth for you. When we can’t know the unknowable… God sends the power to do the undoable. You might wanna remember that come Monday morning! A friend of mine gets a wake-up call from the boss every weekday morning. It gives him the overnight business news and instructions for the day. His phone allows him to pick the ring-tone. He’s set it to recognize the call. So each morning when the boss rings in, his phone plays the song, “It’s the end of the world as we know it!” If that’s the message that announces your days and weeks, we’ve got good news today. When we can’t know the unknowable… God sends the power to do the undoable.

Here’s a better song to start the day. “Everybody on earth, CLAP YOUR HANDS! Shout to God with loud songs of joy… for God is the king of all the earth!” (Ps. 47) That’s not just David’s song. It belongs to Israel, and all who look to Christ. ‘No accident we claim it every year on Ascension Sunday, the day we celebrate Jesus’ return to the heaven. (Remember? He came from there!) The song assures us. The day insists. God rules over every thing, every one, every where. It may not feel like that when we pull in for a fill-up at the gas station… and have to empty out our purse or pockets. “You coulda fooled me!” we might say when the BGE bill shows up the same day our prescriptions come due at CVS. It’s report card day. Little Rufus, Doofus and Clueless unfurl their grades. Do you always wanna sing, Shout to God with loud shouts of joy, for God is the king of all the earth? If your kids saw your job rating, or heard what you said to your spouse last night, would they join in the chorus, Everybody on earth, CLAP YOUR HANDS? If someone could hear what you’re sayin’ and prayin’ on-the-inside while the doctor is giving you news at-the-bedside… would they believe you believe? God rules everything? Everyone? Everywhere? And all this, before we hear/see the evening news. We could use a little reassurance!

And reassurance we receive! In David’s Psalm, Israel is reminded of all that God has already done. “He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet.” (He brought us out of Egypt, rolled back the Red Sea and delivered the Promised Land to our Fathers and Mothers, to you and to me.) “He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves.” At the dawn of the church, God guarantees the triumph of the resurrection. We can see what God is doing. Jesus raises up, appears to gear up all who will believe. The Marys, Peter and John, Thomas, the rest. Forty days he walks and teaches with them. Alive after his passion by many proofs says Acts. Then, “as they were looking on, he was lifted up.” (1: 9) He rises to sit at God’s right hand. It is the final, ultimate sign that though it does not always appear so, God’s rules. Now. His Son reigns with God. Now. And the Holy Spirit will come with commandments to give and a baptism that will empower us to do what we have been called to do. This is what God will do to bring the final glory of it all.

So we know who… God. God in Christ will make it all come ‘round right. We know what. Earth like heaven, heaven all around. What we wanna know and don’t is when. Is this the day? Will we ever see the day? Or is it out there somewhere beyond the Milky Way? With his toe’s last tap on earth Jesus says. “It is not for you to know times or seasons the Father’s fixed by his own authority.” (1: 7) O, oh! We’re not gonna know. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not watching TV preachers, surfing the net, or shaking our heads at the news. Not sitting in church, shopping the mall; not singin’ praises or the hymns of the ages. Not at 8, 9:30 or 11, not here, or in any other congregation, even in heaven. Only God has, does, will know. It’s by God’s authority and God’s alone. We’re gonna live our whole lives, you and I, without ever knowing the unknowable.

But get this. The Risen Jesus announces the coming of the Spirit. By the Spirit, we’ll be empowered to do the otherwise and seemingly undoable! We’ll be doing signs small and large, intimate and shared, visible and unseen, hoped for and entirely surprising. We’ll be signing that in the name of Jesus, God is, even now, bringing God’s Kingdom by the power of the Spirit. Little things we never thought we could. We’ll get through the wait while our child’s in surgery. Others will see. And we can tell them. “The Spirit made it possible. The kingdom’s comin’.” We sit at the Women’s Tea with many knowing we’re unwell. Our friends will ask how. And we will show, and maybe say, “By the Spirit we’ve been promised.” Things not so small, ours to do. Lots says we can’t build a building just now, times are turnin’ south you know. We can’t keep up our current expenses, at least not if we let our offerings and our people “bug out” mid-June to mid-September, another business as usual congregation, of which God has 1000’s. But I can tell you. I’ve served two churches that built for 100 years of praise, in 1863 and 1867, in the teeth/on the heels of the Civil War. Both understood. The faithful offer signs of faith when everyone else is wondering what to believe! The Spirit empowered them. It will not do less among us. We just can’t to stand around looking up in the air. They did that when Jesus rose to heaven. And the angels said, “Don’t just look up, look around. See what God can do in you. Get to it. ‘Cause Jesus is coming back. For you!”

We can do the undoable, by the power of the Spirit. We are even instructed in how it can be done. (1:8) “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes to you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” Here’s a caution. It’s not gonna happen on our schedule, but only when the Spirit comes. Our personal plans may founder. Summer Thursday worship together this year could be fabulous, or a flop. This may be the season your youth listens to reason, or not. This may be the year you actually do that thing-for-God you’ve wanted but hesitated to do, or not. See, the Spirit will come when the Spirit will come. But it WILL come. We have the Lord’s word on it! And a course to follow. Jerusalem first. Our home, family, neighborhood, community. We begin by converting our own children! Grace at table, bedtime prayers, Bible in hand. Sunday School, weekly worship, VBS… some telling moment of quiet caring remembered… forever! Judea and Samaria…who’s out there beyond our door to show and tell about Jesus? Our youth to Work Camps. Adults to the Katrina Gulf. Unalaska Alaska missionaries we subscribe, coming in June to tell us miracles are happening. The world, we say. We shall see. One of our own, off to Zimbabwe, in the news for its dangers. But with our help and prayers, becoming more like the Kingdom. The undoable… done… when the Spirit empowers us, victories large and small won!

When we can’t know the unknowable…God sends the power to do the undoable. It’s worth knowin’, trustin’, claimin’… every Monday mornin’ when the alarm clock rings and another week begins.

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