— I John 1:1-4.
In 1492 Christopher Columbus set out for the Orient and ended up in the Caribbean. Some people have said that Columbus set a pattern that’s continued for the last 500 years… that men still won’t stop and ask for directions.
All of us are on a journey … a spiritual journey. You might be a spiritual seeker, someone who’s not yet committed to following Jesus Christ but who’s investigating the Christian faith. You are on a spiritual journey.
You might be a skeptic or an agnostic or an atheist or simply not sure what you believe. You are on a spiritual journey.
You might be a follower of Jesus Christ, His disciple, and your aim in life is to please Christ, to live out His plan for your life. You’re on a spiritual journey.
There is a common denominator among us. We are all on a spiritual journey. For our spiritual journey to be joyful we must have a foundation in reality, not in wishful thinking or fantasy.
Our spiritual journey is joyful when it is built on that which is real; that God’s Son, Jesus Christ, really lived, that He really died on the cross, and that He really rose from the grave. The Incarnation wasn’t an illusion or a hallucination. Christ’s resurrection wasn’t a myth or a fairy tale. It was real.
In 1849 a wagon train was traveling through Death Valley to follow the gold rush into California.
As this particular wagon train trudged through Death Valley, the hottest place in California, they looked ahead and saw a sheet of water they all believed was Owen’s Lake. But it was just a mirage created by the intense heat, and the harder they pressed on to make it to the water, the more frustrated they became.
The foundation for many people’s spiritual journey is no more real than that mirage.
People base their entire spiritual lives on illusions, whether it’s the psychic friends network, astrology, some strange teacher, or some new claim to have special insight into the future.
In contrast to that, God invites us to base our spiritual journey on the Incarnation and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This reality was witnessed by those who knew Jesus, and they wrote down what they saw and heard in what we have today as the 27 books of the New Testament.
The New Testament is our link to their eyewitness account of the Incarnation and Resurrection of Jesus.
Only a spiritual journey based on the foundation of reality can bring us genuine joy.
Anything less is a mirage.
The Rev. Paul Johnson is pastor of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church. Sermon notes is a column by local religious leaders.