What Could Happen if We Really Believed
Sermon by Rev. Steven McClelland. Focus on the power of belief to do amazing things in life. Also check out Rasaan Bourke & The First Presbyterian Church Choir as they sing: I Can Only Imagine.
What if we really believed that there was life after life? What if we believed that through love we could accomplish everything we ever wanted to accomplish? What would it be like to live by faith and love and not by fear and doubt?
The following is a story that was written by Utmutato a Leleknek for Mother Earth News. I saw this posted on Facebook this past week and can’t think of a better way to explain what John is talking about in his letter.
There are two babies being carried in a mother’s womb the first twin asks the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”
“Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”
The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.”
The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.”
The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”
The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover if there is life, then why has no one has ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.”
“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.”
The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. I f Mother exists then where is She now?”
The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by Her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not exist.”
Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”
To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and you really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.” Brilliant story – great insight!
Jesus said you can perceive God’s presence when you love another person. And in the act of loving another person you can experience heaven on earth. You can experience eternity and get a glimpse of what lays in store for all time. What could you accomplish if you believed with all your heart, mind, soul and strength in the power and reality of the resurrection?
What could you do? You would be absolutely free from fear. Nothing would own you. You would be completely and truly free – free to pursue your dreams, free to try, free to fail and free to succeed because in it all you would know that God has given you the power to explore the limits of life here on earth knowing that there is more to come after this existence.
Such is the case with Diana Nyad, who in 2013 became the first person to swim from Havana, Cuba to Key West, a 110 mile swim without a shark cage. Maybe you’ve heard her story. She was 64 years of age when she did this. In fact she had tried five times before succeeding in her quest. She had used up most of her life’s savings, had given her life to something that seemed to be an impossible task especially after the first four failures. When all of her friends, coaches and family were encouraging her to give up the dream as unrealizable, she continued.
Then on the morning of August 31, 2013 with her face sunburned and lips swollen, with barely enough energy to speak, Nyad waded ashore at Key West after a 53-hour swim and delivered a simple message to onlookers: “We should never, ever give up…. You never are too old to chase your dreams.”
The iron-willed Nyad had been trying to achieve the crossing for 35 years, describing it on her website as her “Xtreme Dream,” and seemed determined to prove The Beatles were right that there is plenty to live for “when you are 64.”
“Diana shows that at any age you can do whatever you want,” said Nancy Jordan, 57, a volunteer pilot on one of Nyad’s support vessels. “That’s what she set out to show; don’t ever give up your dream.”
Dave Magmone, whose boat was used to prepare Nyad’s meals, said, “She has a mental and physical strength like no one I have ever known. She is an example for all people, regardless of their age.”
Women and men of a certain age have been inspired in recent years by a wave of older athletes breaking records and snagging headlines.
Last year, then Colorado Rockies player Jamie Moyer, now 50, became the oldest pitcher in Major League Baseball history to win a game. Canadian Ed Whitlock, now 82, shattered records when he ran the 2012 Toronto Marathon in 3 hours 30 minutes. And Dana Torres in 2008 at age 41 became the oldest-ever American female swimmer to win an Olympic medal.
Nyad’s team said her fifth attempt at the Florida crossing benefited from several key factors, including calm seas, the surprising lack of jellyfish and favorable currents in the powerful Gulf Stream that flows eastwards through the Florida Straits.
“You can’t do the swim unless you have three things – the belief you can do it, the weather and the cooperation of the Gulf Stream,” said Ron Bartlett, her navigator.
The belief Ron Bartlett said, you have to have the belief that you can do something this crazy. You have to believe that it’s ok to come out of the womb and into a bigger world than you are currently experiencing. Is it scary to do this? Yes! But it’s also the most freeing thing you can do – to believe as Jesus believed!
As he told us – “The things that I do you will do and greater things than these.” Just as walking on the water wasn’t the point of the miracle so too swimming the length of the Florida straits isn’t the issue. The issue is belief. The issue isn’t setting world records it’s setting the world on fire with love. What could you accomplish in your life if you believed and loved like Jesus? What could our church accomplish if we believed with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength?
As we move forward into the future there will be tendency to want to quit or say we can’t do this thing we are being asked to do, but I’m here to say as my grandfather said to me over and over as a child: “Can’t never did anything.” Amen