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Are We There Yet

Luke 1:26-38

The Rev. Jon Roberts

20 December

2020

Calvary Episcopal Church

Indian Rocks Beach, FL

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” 35 And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. 36 And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

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The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1897

If you’re looking for an adventure, take a trip with Jesus for it has no end; And if you begin to wonder and be filled with a little regret, it’s Ok, along the way, to ask, “Are we there yet?”[1]

Once upon a time there was a little boy who got so excited about going to Grandma’s house. For him it was an adventure to a place that had such wonderful memories. However, along the way, watching through his window the change of scenery, over the river and through the woods, he began to say, “Are we there yet?” His brain began to get bored and minutes felt like hours. Hours felt like days and days became months. And months felt like a million years. Letting his imagination assist him, he created friends of the past and shared exciting adventures that took him to new cities and even new worlds. In the children’s book, written by Dan Santat, titled, “Are we there yet?” it gives account of the adventure for this little boy who took a car ride to visit the prehistoric world of dinosaurs, the signing of the Declaration of Independence and even to a moonscape, on a faraway planet, greeted by a robot. He enjoyed his ride so much, he didn’t want it to come to an end. Only the voice of his mother, who announced, “Here we are,” did he return to the real world.[2]

The Bible is full of stories where people are taking an adventure, only to wonder, “Are we there yet?” Christmas is only a few days away and we ask that very question. In the Book of Samuel, the prophet was very close to King David and all the people of Israel who are on a journey, carrying the tabernacle of the Holy of Holies, throughout the wilderness. God plants this vision about them settling down, building a place where they can worship Him. With beautiful cedars of Lebanon for arches and beams, slate for floors, and gold and silver adorned the space, encouraging a grand presentation of the very best being offered to God. They built God’s house over a long time, and they probably wondered if they would ever complete the Temple in Jerusalem.[3] They were not worshiping the room, the arches and beams, the floors and the furniture. God ordained these things because He knew that we would become bored if we didn’t have something to fashion and to make with their imagination. What a ride they went on, and maybe it was a place in the past, or maybe the Temple was built for something in the future. Whatever its purpose, it was the way to create continuity and motivation for the people of Israel.

There is another story about the mother of Jesus, Mary who took a journey and she wondered, “Where am I going,” and “How will I get there?” They were traveling from afar, following a star and they get a visit from an angel who tells them they are in for an adventure of a lifetime. Perhaps this message of following an adventure is exactly what God has in store for us. Perhaps when we are on a continuous adventure, there will never be an end. What happens when we die? Does the adventure end? Like Mary, we say, “I am here” and “Where are you taking me today?”[4] In that response, we are to believe there is never an end for the ones who are always ready to take a trip with Jesus. Gabriel announces this to Mary by saying, “You will bear the Son of God, and his kingdom will have no end.” This is going to be heard again in the Nicene Creed in our liturgical worship; “And His kingdom will have no end.”

I suspect we have developed ways in which we have learned to cope with things that will help future generations. Everyone is invited to take the journey, but not everyone has the way to see where we are going. But there is no secret any longer as we see God’s plan all along was for us to take a trip with His Son.[5] Passing along the season of expectancy and taking a journey with Christ is a promise that will amount to the adventure of a lifetime. This is where we are going. In theological circles, it has been referred to as, “The already, not-yetism” of Christ. We are already here, because Jesus says, “Where I am, there will be the Father also” and yet we are not there yet.[6] It is a perpetual journey. So many have the wrong impression on what Christians believe. There is language like “salvation” and being “saved” and there appears to be an end, and you have arrived. Some people are offended by this, thinking that some are not invited to go but that is not true. Our job is to tell the story so that others will take the ride after us.
This day, if you are looking for an adventure, take a trip with Jesus. It never, ever ends. Be the one who says, “Lord, I am here” and live with no regret, and don’t be troubled if you ask him, “Are we there yet?”

[1] The Rev. Jon Roberts
[2] Dan Santat,” Are we there yet?”
[3] 2 Samuel 7:1-16
[4] Luke 1:26-38
[5] Romans 16:25-27
[6] John 12:26

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