Grace and peace to you as we people of faith, continue to journey celebrating the resurrection, witnessing of the gift from God Our Creator, Jesus Christ, Our Risen Savior and Lord. Amen
Have you ever wondered how powerful words are-
That formed in the shape of a poem
Reduces us to shameless weeping?
I must confess that there was some difficulty writing this sermon
Not because you could find me wearily hunched over my desk
Or holed up in my room
With commentaries and Greek Lexicons
And text study ala Skype
But because these words from Jesus Christ
Rattled the depth of my soul
Because of the questions that have been stirred
Because of my faith that has been shaken time and again
From the outside looking inward
We as children of the Creator
Appear to the rest of the world and to each other sometimes,
Rooted and grounded,
Confident and unshaken in our Faith
Proclaiming the power of God’s Mercy and Grace.
But we, my sisters and brothers in Christ
Confess in secret sacred spaces
That sometimes we are troubled in our hearts
That we are fearful of uncertainty
Because of the world mercilessly launching stone after stone
Landing where we stand
Bruising our very being
Wounding our very belief
And so we find ourselves curled into a ball
Trying to protecting ourselves from the very thing that threatens to pierce our faith
My brothers and sisters in Christ, there are so many things
That we could name
That reside in our hearts and in our minds
That can tear at the very fabric of whom God has created us to be
And yet there seems to be one common element
For us as humanity
Our collective fear is the finality of death
For us as people of faith
Our greatest question is the finality of death
And so this John 14 text is shared in those moments of loss and mourning
And as we continue to struggle along our faith journey
Those in the world who are lost in their own disarray and disorder
Bombard us from either side with painful words
Chiding us for our child-like faith
In belief of life ever lasting
But somewhere along our journey we hear these words from our Gospel of John text this morning,
“In My Father’s House…”
These words stood as an affirmation to the disciples hearing the teachings of Jesus Christ
And shakes us to our core
That what He has proclaimed
And what God, Our Creator has assured
That we will be welcomed home.
That in God’s House, where God’s dwells
God’s Love is endless!
God’s Arms to Hold Us, are endless!
The peace which passes all understanding, is endless!
Jesus shared with His Disciples
“And if I go and prepare a place for you
I will come again
And TAKE YOU MYSELF!”
What Good News!
What we would not give to have the opportunity
Of being in the presence of Jesus Christ, Our Savior and Lord in that moment
Even as His disciples gathered before Him
must have recognized the validity and the finality of His Words
And knowingly struggled between confusion and sorrow.
Just as with Dr. Martin Luther King’s Mountaintop Sermon
Before he was assassinated
This was Jesus’s final discourse.
And even as they had been witnesses to God’s Work
To Christ’s miracles
They were human.
They were filled with anxiety
The disciples were doubtful, not seeing the pathway that Jesus Christ had already formed for them
The disciples were blinded, not seeing the reflection of the Creator God before them in Jesus Christ
And so Jesus Christ declared to them
“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
God’s Word hovers and travels out through the cosmos
Reflected back at us in the illumination of the night
Remains there as a reminder
That Because of Jesus Christ and of His sacrifice
That Death is NOT THE END
That in this LIFE, right now We Have HOPE
In this LIFE, WE Have PURPOSE
In this LIFE WE are called to LIVE not just for ourselves
But as an EXAMPLE of God’s Unfailing LOVE
Because Jesus CHRIST IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE
That who Jesus Christ is, is Good News for our troubled hearts!
We beloved, are in good company
Because we are just as anxiety-filled as the disciples were in that moment
Because the complexity of God’s Word is cast out
And so therefore it lands at our feet
And gathering it close in our hands
The weight of what God’s word means
And the heaviness of the reality weights in our palms
and we cannot fathom how to translate God’s Word for God’s World
We are called children of God, called just as Jesus’s disciples were called
To share God’s Word
Yet we are at a loss of proclaiming Christ Crucified for all of God’s Creation
Because we stumble over the Scriptures
“No one comes to the Father, except through Me.”
Wait, Jesus…we have questions.
We can’t profess that to our neighbor who is Jewish
To our co-worker who is Muslim
To our spouse who is Buddhist
To a stranger, who because of Christianity doctrines, rules; these laws which have been mangled in humanity’s hands
has left them in pain, wrung out empty!
To our friend who shouts at the top of their lungs
“A-HA! See? What kind of merciful God are you worshipping?
Who only offers salvation if you are a card carrying member?”
Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
There are no restrictions, no limitations on who the risen Christ stands for
That is Good News
There are Scriptures who seemingly breathe new life because of what we as children of God are reminded:
“All things came into being through him..What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.”
Jesus gave of His Life so that through Him was created the beloved community here and now
So that we as people of faith raise our voices for those who are hurting in our community
and those ostracized outside of our community by the world
Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life
So that we, as people of God a time are empowered through the Holy Spirit to courageously speak truth when our neighbors are facing dire situations in this chaotic world
We as people of God have the strength because of who Christ is
To stand with the stranger who hides in our doorways, crumbled and pleading for help;
Because we are of the beloved community, because of the power of God’s Word for all of Creation
We as children of God are called upon to stand firm and close the wounds of injustice torn apart by those who are misguided by greed
And yes, Jesus gave of His Life so that Jesus creates an everlasting, eternal place for us-
Not for some, not for those of a certain Christian denomination,
Not for the chosen people
BUT FOR ALL OF US
The Good News of Jesus Christ is that God knows,
God walks with us in our struggles
Sometimes God’s Word comes to us, in those times when we need to hear it clearly
When we have wrestled, doubted and worried
God’s Word surrounds and fills us up
When we have been disappointed and abandoned by those in this life
And the reality of God’s Grace rattles our souls
Remaining with us, reducing us to joyous weeping
Because In My Father’s House
There is Peace, There is Love, Forevermore.
Thanks Be To God.