An awfully big adventure – a sermon for the start of the school year

I’m going on an adventure.

It’s going to be a big one.

I’m not scared.

Who’s coming with me?

I wonder where we’ll go?

 

We’re going on an adventure.

It’s going to be a big one.

We’re not scared.

I wonder where we’ll go?

I wonder what we’ll need?

I wonder who we’ll meet along the way?

 

Have you ever been on a great big adventure?

Have you read a story about an adventure, or seen a film about an adventure?

 

Some of us went on an adventure last weekend. We went to Greenbelt, where we camped in a field, listened to music, watched acrobats, built shelters, debated issues, ate cake, and went to a communion service totally led by children. It was a brilliant adventure.

 

But we didn’t just go. We had to get ready. We had to think about what we would need – tents, food, cooking equipment, warm things, waterproof things, suncream. We had to prepare.

 

Some of you are getting ready to go on an adventure. Some of you are starting a new school, or nursery, or college. Lots of you are going into a new year, a new class, at school.

 

But you don’t just go on that adventure either – you have to get ready. You have to make sure you have your uniform, and your bag, and your pencil case. You have to make sure you know how to get to your new school, and what to do when you get there. You have to prepare.

 

All of us are on an adventure of sorts. We’re all going on the great big adventure that is following Jesus. We’re all on an adventure with God.

 

But what Jesus is saying in today’s gospel reading is that this too is an adventure we don’t just go on – we need to be prepared. And this time we need to be prepared not by taking things with us, but by being willing to leave things behind. To leave behind “all our possessions”, all the things we hold most dear, in order to set out on a new adventure with Jesus.

 

Of course, however much we prepare for an adventure, we can’t plan for everything. We will always meet with the unexpected along the way – that’s part of what an adventure is.

 

When we went to Greenbelt, we came across plenty that we weren’t expecting: talks that made us laugh, songs that made us cry, people we didn’t expect to meet. We didn’t expect that one of our group would be reading his own poetry in public for the first time. We didn’t expect a 3 hour thunder storm either, or that sheltering from the storm together would be so much fun.

 

When you start a new school, or a new school year – or any kind of new stage in life, come to that – there will be things that you don’t expect. Some will be good things: meeting new friends, learning new skills, trying new things. Others will not be so good: facing new challenges or problems, dealing with things that seem difficult or scary.

 

And with the great adventure of following Jesus, we must also expect the unexpected. However well prepared we think we are, there will always be some situation beyond our control, beyond what we had expected, which challenges us.

 

That is why I am thankful that we follow a God who doesn’t expect us to be prepared for every eventuality, but only to be prepared to follow, trusting that God will be ready for anything even when we aren’t.

 

When Jesus calls us to walk with him, he doesn’t ask us to make sure we bring everything we could possibly need. He doesn’t need to, because he already has – indeed, he already is – everything we could possibly need.

 

Jesus call us not to bring everything with us, but to leave everything behind. He calls us to trust that his provision, his grace, is sufficient for us, wherever the adventure takes us.

 

So, as many of you prepare for a new adventure, a new chapter in your adventure with God, remember this. Don’t be afraid. Jesus is with you every step of the way. And he already has everything you need – for the things you expect and the things you don’t.

 

We’re going on an adventure.

It’s going to be a big one.

We’re not scared.

I wonder where we’ll go?

I wonder what we’ll find there?

 

We’re going on an adventure.

It’s going to be a big one.

We’re not scared.

We know that God goes with us

Wherever we may go.

 

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