Every year on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, the world experiences “the greatest spectacle in racing:” the Indianapolis 500. For most of you, this event comes and goes without much notice at all, but as a native Hoosier, this is a significant event, even for someone who is not a race fan. There is something incredibly unique about the atmosphere in Speedway, Indiana, that Sunday in late May.
And it’s not just the day itself. The entire city of Indianapolis is filled with a sense of anticipation throughout the month of May—practice runs at the track, Carburetion Day, qualifying runs, parades, even some school and work schedules push pause.
And then the morning of the race, in all of its pageantry—
...Early morning tailgating
...Events in the infield
...The National Anthem with the Fly-Over
...Singing “Back Home Again in Indiana”
...Introducing the drivers, row by row,
...The call “Drivers, start your engines.”
...The pace car starting to lead the racecars around the track
...The flags getting ready at the start line
...The crowd on their feet, cheering as the drivers pick up speed and zoom past
...and then it begins.
I get goosebumps just thinking about it!
So much anticipation, so much excitement, all building up to those few hours, 500 miles, 200 laps, 800 left turns around the oval track.
What have you anticipated?
...A wedding day?
...The birth of a child?
...The first day of school?
...The last day of school?
...A Star Wars movie premier?
...Opening Day for baseball?
...The first Vikings game?
...Or maybe finally seeing a friend or loved one?
Our hearts are very familiar with this sense of anticipation—this longing for a good thing.
For you here this morning who are followers of Jesus, do you anticipate seeing Him?
In his letter to the church in Philippi, Paul mentions “the Day of Christ” again and again. His longing for his Savior is so apparent in what he writes.
He says, “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.”
“Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him…
“…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead…
“…forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Do you hear it? Do you hear Paul’s voice, how he trembles in his anticipation of once again seeing his Savior? Paul’s life was shaped by this all-consuming desire to see the One who brought him from death into eternal life, from darkness into marvelous light.
For those who are not in Christ, seeing Him will be a terror, the conquering King destroying all who rebel against His sovereign reign. I plead with you, turn to Him and receive the salvation that only comes through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
But for those who have confessed their sin and are washed by His blood and adopted to be fellow sons and daughters of the God of Heaven, He welcomes with open arms as a Bridegroom who has waited long for His Bride to run down the aisle and fall into His loving arms.
Do you anticipate that Day? Do you get goosebumps as you think about seeing Jesus face to face? Oh, Redeemer Church, may we savor this appetizer we have in the Spirit—a taste of God’s presence that makes us long for the fullness of His presence. Jesus tells us, “’Surely, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20)