Sunday, December 20, 2015 - Fourth Sunday of Advent

Advent 2015

"Power of 'The Power of Ten'"


             My first reaction to this topic was:  what a daunting and overwhelming challenge!  All my life there have been dreams and promises of world peace, hunger relief, human rights, and justice.  From my high school senior class song, Let There Be Peace on Earth (and let it begin with me), to civil rights of the 1960s and anti-war protests in songs and by demonstrations, to the lyrics of We Are the World, and even the Coke jingles, "I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony," the message has been ongoing.  Our world is not what it should be, nor is it living up to God's ideal expectations.  Thank God, through the love, mercy, and forgiveness in Christ, the promise and the hope are still alive as the prophets foretold in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and in the words of Jesus in the Nazareth synagogue sermon (Luke 4:16-30).

             The words of Admiral William McRaven (Chancellor of the University of Texas and Navy Seal) still ring in my head:

The university slogan is, "What starts here changes the world."  I have to admit - I kinda like it.  "What starts here changes the world."  Tonight there are almost 8,000 students graduating from UT.  That great paragon of analytical rigor,, says that the average American will meet 10,000 people in their lifetime.  That's a lot of folks.  But, if every one of you changed the lives of just ten people - and each one of those folks changed the lives of another ten people - just ten - then in five generations - 125 years - the class of 2014 will have changed the lives of eight hundred million people.  Eight hundred million people - think of it - over twice the population of the United States.  Go one more generation and you can change the entire population of the world - eight billion people.  If you think it's hard to change the lives of ten people - change their lives forever - you're wrong.  I saw it happen every day in Iraq and Afghanistan."

              Do you think Jesus was on to something with an inner circle of twelve disciples?

            It has dawned on me that my tenth grandchild just arrived five days ago (Logan Patrick William Barnes, eight pounds, six ounces, and twenty inches long).  In his face, his innocent baby face, the hope for tomorrow is once again renewed.  If I can influence my ten grandchildren to love our Lord and become the presence of Christ in their sphere of influence in the world, their great-great-great-great- grandchildren have the potential to heal the world.

             After all, salvation is the redemption, the healing and restoration from brokenness, to the wholeness and holiness of God's good creation.  Trying to do it alone is an exercise in illness.  Doing it together is engaging in the blessed experience of wellness!  Our world would look like what God saw at the beginning of creation and endorsed as "Good!"  Evil would be conquered by the choice to do good!  God would not be weeping over the choices of evil persons, and the new covenant of Jeremiah 31 would prevail.

- Will Barnes


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