Sermon Synopsis August 7, 2016
“A Horizon Gaze”
I turned 41 in the Police Academy (many years ago). For those who are not a part of my church community you may be unaware that I was in Law Enforcement from 1998 through 2008. I was a police officer for the last eight of those ten years. I was certified by MCOLES (Michigan Commission On Law Enforcement Standards) as a Hostage Negotiator and Defensive Tactics (PPCT) Instructor. I was also certified to fly armed, and did so to Las Vegas, to escort a prisoner back to Michigan. I have letters of commendation for outstanding arrests. There was… and still is... a great need for ministry in Law Enforcement and I felt that I could better provide it from inside the community rather than outside.
The title of my message, “A Horizon Gaze” refers to a method of driving taught in the police academy to focus one’s vision farther out along the road while driving. In theory, it allows a greater reaction time and makes the assumption that you will still see those elements which are in your near field of vision. It takes disciplined practice but like most new activities it can be accomplished. The challenge is to learn to process that which your near vision sees and to react in a timely manner.
Our Scripture passage arguably conveys a similar message to the church today. The writer of Hebrews points out the value of seeing daily actions within the context of what is to come “down the road.” Not only in the sense of a lifetime but that which is promised beyond our life. We are to live and act with the faith that sees the overarching context of God’s plan.
My experience has encountered many who live solely in the moment without thought of the consequences of their actions. I am as guilty of this as any other… when ordering a large desert following an ample meal, for example. The lifestyle which lives only in the “now” can easily lead to despair without the ability to see the benefits achieved through life’s difficult lessons.
The other danger, and one which may be prevalent in the church, is a focus so leveraged on what is to come in the afterlife that we forget the value of the moment. The story of the Good Samaritan gives examples of religious figures so “out of touch” with the importance of the moment that they forgot the value of life. Instead of the religious leaders showing compassion it was the hated foreigner who addressed the victim’s needs today and paid the innkeeper to look to tomorrow.
As people of faith we are to see the world as more than the present… to hold onto that which is promised by God... but we are not to blind ourselves to the joys and heartaches of each and every moment in which we are blessed to take part… and to live accordingly.