“Holy Superglue: The Spirit & a Faith That Sticks”                       May 19, 2013

Acts 2:1-21                                                                                           Stephens City UMC

 

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

I.              One of the things I try to keep around the house is tape.

A.   Scotch tape, masking tape and the greatest of them all – duck tape.

1.    If something breaks I usually try to tape it back together.

B.   Retired Lutheran pastor Ed Markquart has a similar interest in and appreciation for tape so he contacted a friend who was a chemist to ask a very basic question, “What makes tape stick?” (Markquart, “Superglue: A Faith That Sticks,” date?)

1.    The answer he received was that there are two kinds of tape: “initial stick” and “lasting stick.”

2.    Initial stick can be found on masking tape, scotch tape and post-its.

3.    These types of tape don’t stay on very long.

4.    The fact is that the rubber adhesive isn’t that good, thus the term “initial stick.”

5.    But then there is “lasting stick.”

6.    Initially it doesn’t stick that well but with the passing of time this type of glue gets harder and harder and harder and harder.

7.    As Rev. Markquart reports after a while it is so hard that you have to chip it off like hard cement. (Markquart, “Superglue: A Faith That Sticks,” date?)

8.    You’ll be glad to know for the next time you fly that this is the kind of tape used on airplanes.

9.    Markquart himself was relieved to learn this so he asked his chemist friend “What is this kind of tape made out of?”

10. His friend replied, “I can’t tell you. It’s a secret formula.”

11. I can tell you it’s “made out of animal glues and resins and special chemicals, which are then mixed up together into a batter,” so lasting stick is stronger but that’s all I can tell you. (Markquart, “Superglue: A Faith That Sticks, date?)

C.    Since you have learned more about the adhesive power of lasting stick tape it’s time for a demonstration.

1.    I conveniently have in my possession blocks of wood and two kinds of glue.

2.    So observe as I use this white Elmer’s glue to glue these two blocks of wood together.

3.    And now observe as I use this superglue to glue these two blocks of wood together.

4.    At the end of the sermon we’ll test the effectiveness of each type of glue to unite things.

II.            This allows me to transition to an observation that I and many others have made and that is that when it comes to faith there are two basic types of people: those who gradually fade away and those who stick.

A.   If you are looking for a biblical story that makes this point then turn to Matthew 13 where Jesus tells a parable about seed that is sown.

1.    There were four soils and the seed that fell on hard soil didn’t stick.

2.    The result was that the seed died right away which can happen to faith.

3.    The second soil was rocky soil and it stuck for a little while but then some disastrous storm came along and like faith-weather Christians who only remain attached to Jesus when things are good, that seed became unglued and thus unconnected.

4.    The third soil had thistles so the seed grew but cares, riches and the pleasures of life choked out the good growth and killed it so with regards to the source of the plant’s life it too came unglued, unconnected.

5.    A number of you have gone to see the re-make The Great Gatsby and the character in that movie that fits what I just described is Daisy.

6.    The fourth soil bonded like lasting glue with the plant and produced 60 fold, 90 fold, 100 fold and Jesus said we are to be like that.

III.          To the members of this year’s Confirmation Class let me say clearly that it is not enough that you are beginning to believe.

A.   Initial stick is not good enough for initial stick will result in “a disconnect” from the very source of life and that won’t be because the source decided that.

1.    The statistics for this church and in this country are clear – there many more people on the rolls of churches then there are in worship on Sunday morning.

2.    Your average Protestant church gets 25-30% of its membership in worship on a given Sunday.

B.   One reason for the initial stick crowd is the “I” as in “independence” and “I want it my way.”

1.    We all go through that as teenagers because it is part of how we work out our identity, our autonomy so we can be genuine and real.

2.    That’s good, but it is a stage and to truly be mature (which some of us are afraid might actually happen, think Peter Pan who said “I don’t want to grow up”) we have to allow the process to evolve just like a seed has to allow the process for it to evolve to become the plant it was meant to be.

C.    God had something wonderful in mind when He created you.

1.    Your life has purpose if you will discern it.

2.    But to be able to discern you have to be connected with the source of life and dreams and visions and that’s what Pentecost is about for the Holy Spirit came long ago and continues to come to those who are willing to connect in faith with God and with the people of God.

D.   I would put forth that the secret formula for lasting stick is not so secret thanks to Pentecost.

1.    Granted, I may not know every element in the formula but God the Father and the Son Jesus Christ and the uniting force of the Holy Spirit are the keys to the formula and that result is a “lasting stick” for all who want to be part of that adhesive.

IV.          So, let’s examine the effects of the two glues.

A.   The first is the Elmer’s and the boards easily come apart.

1.    It only stuck initially.

B.   But the second I can’t pry apart thanks to the effects of the superglue and my understanding is that that bond will continue to harden and grow stronger.

1.    May all of us here on this day of Pentecost experience the blessing of the glue that is unlike and is greater than any other – the superglue of the Holy Spirit.