A sermon preached
“THE THEOLOGY OF BALLOONS”
(Preached following the launch of balloon race balloons
as a fund raising event during the Church picnic)
The title of this address is
maybe a tad pretentious –
”the theology of balloons”.
Maybe it will be nothing more than hot air?
So can you really have Can you have a “theology of balloons”?
Theology is “”Theo logos” –
God talk –
and you can talk about the relation of God to just about anything.
I suspect someone somewhere has written a PhD on the theology of balloons –
but I want to offer (you will be pleased to hear) merely a few brief reflections…..
1. Balloons are about birthday parties, fun,
leisure and relaxation –
when God created the world and saw that it was good,
it was good for play as well as work.
Today we have celebrated that fact by a Sunday
in which we have played games, let of balloons
and shared in worship.
grandma (a stalwart Primitive Methodist farmer’s wife)
would have been appalled to think we were playing games
at a Church picnic on the Sabbath.
I think she was well meaning but wrong –
she forgot that the Son of Man came to party
and to celebrate the coming feast of the Kingdom.
Life is a gift of God to be
treasured and enjoyed.
And as we wrestle this weekend with the horrors of poverty,
of course we have to get food into people’s stomach’s first –
but that is only a beginning –
Jesus calls us to live “in all its fullness”
and that means quality of life, it means joy and laughter and love
as well as mere breathing and existing.
So to give someone bread and
a balloon is a rich symbol
of what it means to be alive and to live life in all its fullness.
2. Mind you I have to admit that bread is a more
common theological symbol
than the balloon – and that may be because the balloon is an ambiguous symbol.
was very critical of people who were proud
and who were all outward show and nothing on the inside –
“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled,
and whoever humbles himself will be exalted”. (Matthew 23:12)
can sometimes be like a balloon.
“We sometimes get all puffed up with our own importance.
We think we are great and we expect everyone else to think so too.
Maybe it because we are so good looking,
or maybe it is because we are so smart.
Maybe we are really good in sports,
or perhaps we are the best singer in the choir.
or later, if we keep getting puffed up with our own importance,
something will happen to burst our balloon.” (www.sermons4kids.com)
Jesus knew that pride came before a fall.
This is a message of warning
to us in our individual lives –
it is no good being all show on the outside and empty inside.
We need to be filled with the love of God,
It can also be a message of
As we think this weekend about the G8
and the power of the mighty nations vaunted abroad,
we might recall some words of Martin Luther
He is talking about the great
empires of the world –
the Babylonians and Greeks and Romans –
he says “they puff themselves up in their power alone,
and when the bubble is full blown,
and everyone supposes them to have won,
then God pricks the bubble and all is gone.”
So remember this, even in our dark and sinful world,
ultimately light conquers darkness,
and the powers of evil carry within them the seeds of their own destruction –
you may see the evil face on the balloon grow bigger and bigger
and you may become more and more scared –
but the forces of evil are ultimately doomed
for they are hollow within and built on an illusion.
3. One final thought about balloons –
To launch a balloon in our balloon race – or to go up in a hot air balloon –
is to entrust yourself to the wind.
As Christians we are like passengers in a hot air balloon
waiting for the wind of the Spirit –
only sometimes we may decide to keep the balloon tethered to the ground,
in case we get blown too fast or too far.
Or we weight the balloon down to keep control –
You know the phrase – that
went down like a lead balloon?
We have all come across Churches and Christians who have been like lead balloons –
allegedly waiting for the guidance of the Spirit,
but actually determined not to move an inch away from their present comfortable field.
We don’t know where the
balloons we have launched will end up –
but someone somewhere will get a message from us
when a balloon comes down in their garden or road.
As Jesus says to Nicodemus,
the wind blows wherever it pleases …
so it is with everyone born of the Spirit.
And if we live Spirit
who knows what messages of love God will send us to deliver?
So there are three things for you to reflect on next time you see a balloon-
(1) Think about balloons at a children’s party.
When I meet people do I help
them laugh and party?
If so I am helping people know and understand
the coming feast of the Kingdom.
(2) Think about bursting balloons.
Am I all show on the outside
and empty inside?
If so – whether I am a great empire or a just an ordinary human being,
the same thing will happen in the end – my vaunted pride will go bang.
(3) Think about balloons tethered before take off.
Do I have courage to be blown
by the wind of God’s Spirit?
If so, I could be in for a great adventure!