Monday, December 3, 2012

"Look! He's coming back!" (ESJ for Advent)

I have often cited this quote from E. Stanley Jones's sermon, "Christ is the Answer." It is particularly pertinent during this first week of Advent.
I stood in the Mosque of Saint Sophia, that amazing bit of architecture once a Christian church and now a Mohammedan mosque in Istanbul, the city that was once Constantinople. All the Christian symbols had been wiped out, and Arabic lettering had been put in. As I stood there, I looked up over the altar place at the dome, and my heart stood still. I grabbed the arm of a friend. I said, "Look! He's coming back!" I could see that the daubs of the centuries were wearing off, and there was the figure of the ascending Christ coming back again through the daubs of the centuries. "O," I said, "you can't wipe him out. He's coming back." This man overthrew empires, and everything that doesn't fit into his kingdom is doomed. Every tyranny that has come has broken itself upon the silent power of this strange, silent man. My God! What a man!

He's Lord of death. A Christian preacher was preaching in the bazaars of India, and a Mohammedan said, "Padre Sahib, we have a proof in our religion that you haven't got in yours. We can go to Mecca and find the tomb of Mohammed, but when you go to Palestine you can't be sure you've got the tomb of Jesus." "Yes," said the Christian preacher, "you're right. We have no tomb in Christianity because we have no corpse." . . .

In India they repeat montras. A priest will whisper a montra into the ear of his disciple. The disciple doesn't know what it means, but he repeats it. It's his life charm. . . . I'd like to whisper into your ear three words. Take it. It's a life montra. When in trouble, repeat it. When facing a dilemma, repeat it. When facing sin, repeat it. When facing disaster, repeat it. When facing temptation, repeat it: "Jesus is Lord." Take those three words and go into the tomorrow, and into the future. And there is no future. It's all present. Jesus is Lord.