Then Paul said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They answered, “Into John’s baptism.” Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” – Acts 19:3-4 (NRSV)
At a low point in my life, my pastor said to me, “God is so not finished with you yet.”
In her words I found grace and encouragement. What’s more—they were, it turned out, true.
There are a lot of ways to spin the conversation from Acts 19 between Paul and the people he met in Ephesus. They had been baptized into John, but not Jesus, and not with the Holy Spirit.
What Paul said to them was, “There’s more.”
How often we mistake our present condition for final completion.
What is for what should be or ever shall be.
It’s a message at the heart of the faith. We may think we’ve come to the end of our rope. We see no way. With this God, there’s more. Or maybe we think we are already at the pinnacle of enlightenment and achievement. Sorry, you’re not all that. There’s more. So much more.
It’s also a message at the heart of the UCC. Pastor John Robinson told the Pilgrims as they set sail from the Netherlands, “There is yet more truth and light to break forth from God’s Holy Word.” Ron Buford reframed that for us as, “God is still speaking.”
With this God, there’s more. Hope for the discouraged; challenge to the smug.
There’s more. God gets the last word. Thanks be to God.
With you, stone-rolling, tomb-emptying, One, there’s more. Always. Grant us grace to trust your promise. Amen.
Tony Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher, and writer. His most recent book is Useful Wisdom: Letters to Young (and not so young) Ministers. You can read and sign up for his blog at www.anthonybrobinson.com.