SERMON TITLE: “Universal Restoration”
SERMON TEXT: Acts 3:17-26 and Genesis 6:11-22
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: May 5, 2019, at First UMC
Every year, Earth Day and Native American Ministries Day fall soon after Easter. Since Native American spirituality has a lot to do with the earth, it makes sense to celebrate those two things together today in a kind of festival of God’s creation. I hope you have enjoyed the video prayers and beauty-of-the-earth emphases you’ve already experienced in today’s worship service.
As I thought about the situation of our earth, the scripture about Noah’s ark came to mind. Genesis tells us that, not long after humans came to inhabit God’s good earth, human behavior brought about a terrible devastation. It was only through Noah’s quick-acting obedience that his family and the animals of the earth were saved. The other scripture I thought about was our reading from Acts 3, in which Peter spoke to his fellow Jews about something he called “universal restoration.”
This term, “universal restoration,” is found in verse 21 in the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. Other translations use phrases like “to restore everything,” “the complete restoration,” or “the times of restitution of all things.” All these different phrases convey the Christian belief that, in raising Jesus Christ from the dead, God is working to set things right in the world. God is trying to overcome the separation between God and people. God is trying to overcome divisions between people. In fact, God is trying to create harmony between all elements of creation. In the birth, death, resurrection, and ultimate return of Christ, God is working to bring about universal restoration.