When washing the dishes, you lose your grip on a water glass, and it hits the floor smashing to pieces, my guess is that you will get a broom and sweep up the broken fragments and put them in the trash.
After all, it’s just a water glass, but what if that same thing happens to your favorite coffee mug, you know the one that says “The World’s Greatest Grandma.”
You don’t even think about getting out the broom, but you get down on your hands and knees and pick up each piece and get out the super glue.
Carefully you glue each piece back in place. The cup is all fixed, and you try to convince yourself that it’s as good as new and that only you will notice the glue lines.
When it comes to broken things and fixing them, we have to remember, the epitome of all things fragile, Humpty Dumpty.
I always wondered as a kid what Humpty Dumpty was doing on the wall, why did he fall, and how come all the king’s horses and men could not put him back together again?
I guess they didn’t have any kind of super glue in those days.
The earliest version of the poem of 1797 has this as the last line, “Could not make Humpty Dumpty where he was before.”
If you think about it, we learned one of the most important of all of life’s lessons as a child-we can never go back to the way things were before, for those good old days are now only memories.
The obvious truth about life is that we are meant to move forward. The calendar keeps flipping to a new day, and we go into this new day when we wake-up in the morning.
I do have to point out that time has always moved forward except for a few moments in the Old Testament when the sun’s shadow went backwards.
When King Hezekiah, who was a faithful servant of the Lord, had fallen ill, Isaiah promised that he would get better. Hezekiah wanted proof, so God had the sun’s shadow go backwards along the stairs, and the Lord also added fifteen years to Hezekiah’s life.
Hezekiah was a devoted follower, and God answered his prayers for healing. God answers our prayers, too, but I would not count on God turning the clock backwards for us.
I can be pretty sure that God will never have us go backwards because if we did, we would never realize the goal of our faith. We are meant to keep going forward, so we can enter into heaven one day, just like our loved ones who have died in the faith have done.
Those good old days are gone, but how can anyone say that good new days are not to come or even here now, today?
But, even knowing how our final chapter of this life will end by stepping into heaven, our days can get so overwhelming that they consume us.
It’s enough just trying to make it through this hard day, so how is it possilbe to think that this day is a good day to have joy in?
Do you really want to hear what’s on my list of problems, and who knows what is coming?
Not too much joy here.
Knowing that anything can happen in a day can be scary. And bad things do happen and are happening.
We do know that the world around us is be dangerous with increasing violence in our cities, and as we are hopefully getting out of this pandemic, we are watching if variants of the virus will spread widely.
As humans, we live with facts that are not at all pleasing to us. We are vulnerable- once we step out of the door, anything can happen. We are limited in our control, for evil can lash out at any moment. And we can really mess things up, even with our best intentions to make things right.
It’s not that we are unhappy, miserable, and fearful people all the time, but we are not totally settled in our human condition, either.
So, as we look at a world of issues- political conflicts, social unrest, a ton of injustices, and our lives that are far from perfect, we want it all to go better.
For a few moments, let’s play the “What if?” game.
Here’s an example question that I ask myself every day, “What would happen if I ate this apple instead of this donut.”
Or, “What if I won I won the lottery?” I don’t play it, and I know you have to play to win, but I still imagine what I would do with a mountain of cash.
Going deeper-let’s talk politics, “What if politicians debated and came up with super-ideas that worked for everyone?” Talking about protests, “What if everyone listened to one another?” Talking about the homeless, “What if everyone had adequate food and shelter?” Talking about jobs, “What if everyone had at least a living-wage?” Talking about the sick, “What if everyone had at least minimal health care?” Talking about education, “What if everyone had access to a good education?” Talking about immigration, “What if all countries had thriving economies?” Talking about injustices, “What if there was fairness across the board?”
How about this one, “What if God intervened in the world and made everything good for everyone?”
Talking about prayer, we do know that God says, “Ask and it will be given to you.”
And, we know the power of God. I mean He can can turn back time, and He can add years to a person’s life with a host of a lot of other things.
We’ve read today from Scripture how God restored the Nation of Israel after they were in exile, and how Jesus fed thousands of people from a boy’s lunch of a little bread and fish.
God can make the world perfect like a paradise for everyone. He can “fix” this broken world with no glue marks.
So, it begs the question, if God can make all things right, why doesn’t He do it?
Let’s ask the question in this way, “Why do things have to be so difficult?”
I know the answer, and I know that you know it, too, after living so many years, we know how life works.
It’s like what we learned from broken things like our favorite coffee mug and Humpty Dumpty-life is meant to have its broken parts, even when we “fix” things, those things have glue marks-nothing is ever perfect. Is it?
We have come to accept that life is hard at times and that we will not know all the answers.
To be accurate here, we do know some of the answers. God did mean for humans to live in paradise. But, the first humans chose to disobey God’s good will for them, and people still chose not to follow God’s will.
Talking about the human condition, our condition is sinful. We were born into sin and we sin in thought, word, and deed.
Because of sin, we are left with this question, “What if people just stopped sinning and followed God’s good will for them? What if that happened? What if people did stop sinning? The world would be better off by a lot more than it is now.
It’s sin that creates division, injustice, hate, and all our messes.
The hard truth is that sin will always be here. We can try to curb sin, but humans have sinful natures, so we will sin.
Right now the big problem that some are calling a culture chaos is that people are pointing at others and saying that they are the problem.
A lot of talk these days about fixing other people, and it doesn’t seem that we are pointing to ourselves so much.
Going back to prayer, we pray all the time, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Heaven is perfect, and we pray that God will bring that perfection to the earth.
Also, we pray that God will forgive our sins as we forgive others.
We need a reversal here in our time of this cultural chaos. Instead of blaming others, we need to confessing our sins to God and to one another and to be forgiving people.
Here on earth, what we need to see is that things are “fixed” with no glue marks.
We need to see that for one, here on earth, we never get things right by ourselves.
Not to overuse Humpty Dumpty, but we can try to look at the reasons that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not put Humpty Dumpty back together again.
Was it because that they were short on resources-like not having enough glue? Why were there not stockpiles of glue for such emergencies? Were there not enough horses and men? Were they not properly trained? Did they have to go through to many bureaucracies-too much red tape? Was there not enough in the budget?
Some say that Humpty Dumpty was an egg. Was the problem just too big? After all, we don’t have the technology even today to put a cracked egg with its yolk spilled all over back together-what a mess!
With all our issues in the world, we have to see that we have huge Humpty Dumpty kind of problem going on. We try, as we should, to get things together as much as we can.
The hard truth is that we can’t fix some things at all, and the other things that we can fix will at have glue lines.
We’ve talked about what humans do, now, let’s talk about what God can do.
God can fix things perfectly, and He has fixed the biggest problems that no human can fix.
Our biggest problems are sin, Satan, and eternal death.
When we confessed our sins this morning, God forgave all of them, and we are perfect with no glue lines.
Although Satan tries to create a mess in this world, Jesus defeated him and anything that wants to harm us by his death and resurrection.
We will die a physical death one day, but we will join our loved ones in heaven and we will be like them, perfect in every way with our joy complete.
It’s plain to see that the world is broken in many ways and our lives are far from perfect.
But, we are “fixed” by God’s grace in Christ with no glue lines.
In the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, we can talk all day about how Jesus cares for us in every way. We can talk about how we are to feed and care for others as Jesus did. We can talk about how we are to be good stewards of what we have as they gathered the leftovers-nothing was wasted.
All good things, but what we need to talk about most is how the disciples were changed after that miracle and also after the miracles of raising the dead, casting out of demons, healing of the sick, and calming of storms, and, then, the what’s most important, his dying on the cross and his rising on the third day.
They saw Jesus as the Son of God, and after seeing Jesus as God himself, they could not go back to their old lives.
Their lives were changed by seeing Jesus as he was, their Lord and Savior.
We have seen Jesus today again in Word and Sacrament, and we are not to return to our lives as we once were in sin and without hope, for we have been forgiven, renewed, and strengthened, or in keeping with our theme for the day, “fixed” with no glue lines.
Now, we go into our lives again. We step back into this messy world and not so perfect lives, but not as we were before, but by what God’s grace and mercy has done for us this morning and every morning when He makes His mercies new to us.
So, let’s see what happens as we meet the world and our lives as people whom our Lord has “fixed” with no glue lines.