Saturday, May 13, 2017

5 Easter Yr A May 14 2017



5 Easter Yr A May 14 2017 Audio

The words that open this chapter of John’s gospel are words of comfort and hope. Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, believe in God, believe also in me.” As Jesus’ suffering, death, resurrection and ascension approach in this gospel, Jesus is giving his followers, including us, words of truth, good words to hang on to. Again, our lectionary is disjointed. In the season of resurrection, in the season of Easter, we find ourselves returning to a time when Jesus was teaching his disciples. But what Jesus is teaching his disciples is all about the promise of resurrection, it is all about life filled with God’s love, God’s abundance.

This gospel of John continues to show us what it means to live as Easter people. This is a story that shows us what John's understanding of eternal life looks like. Eternal life, the life that Jesus promises, the life that Jesus inaugurates with resurrection. We are Easter people, we are love carriers. And this story shows us that.

Jesus says "I am the way, and the truth, and the life." 
I am the Way. The invitation is not to a simple answer, but to a complex relationship. Jesus stands at the sheep-gate and calls our names. Jesus invites every one of us into this relationship that begins now, and continues through the fulfillment of all time, John calls this eternal life. Jesus has prepared and is preparing room for us, a place that where Jesus is, we are also. 

This is a relationship that breathes new life, a relationship that is about transformation, a relationship like no other. We know Jesus, and come to God through Jesus, not by a one time conversion, not by saying the right words, and not the same for all of us. Instead, we belong to Jesus, it is in Jesus that we are truly who we are meant to be. We journey together, we are a community walking the path together. The way is a way of continuous conversation and discovery. The way is not a single answer we can teach our children; it is an adventure we share with them and with Jesus, our companion on the way. It is an adventure that will bring us to people in whom we meet Jesus. The way is not a list of conditions we must assent to; it is how we are loved, it is how we love, it is how we give, it is mercy, it is compassion, it is justice.

Jesus says, I am the Truth. Truth is encountered on this adventurous journey. Jesus is the embodiment of truth. Truth is not defined narrowly. Truth is about a lived reality. Truth is the story of life, death and resurrection. Living in relationship with Jesus is the truth. The truth will accompany us on the journey whose destination is unknown, but is promised to be magnificent. Truth sets us free to make our home in Jesus. We see at the journey’s end a spacious place, open and welcoming, full of grace, far greater than the bounds of our understanding, full of the expectation of our return.

Jesus says, I am the Life. We define life so narrowly. In our culture it seems more and more that the boundaries of life include seeking ways to alter the reality in which we find ourselves. Our culture sells us images of fame, images of bigger and better everything, from homes to cars, trucks, and body parts; rather than inviting Jesus into the midst of that reality and living it fully. Throughout the scriptures we gather and glean that God’s deepest desire for humanity is to live life fully and to know the abundance of God’s love. 

Life is the relationship that Jesus invites us into, a relationship with him and with others. Life, love is the call to us in this world, right here and right now, in our work, in our homes, in our schools. Life is the relationship that Jesus calls us to, a relationship that demands loving oneself and loving others. A relationship that is full of living, a relationship that is full of giving. Giving for others, giving of ourselves, giving because it is the right thing to do.

The way, the truth and the life is not a narrowly defined exclusive club for people who profess a particular way of belief. The way, the truth and the life is an invitation into a transforming relationship with Jesus, a relationship like many of our relationships, with good days and bad, with joys and sorrows, with arguments and apologies, with forgiveness and new beginnings. 

The way, the truth and the life is an invitation into a transforming relationship with Jesus, a relationship that is lived out in community, lived out with others who also each day strive to bring their passion about and their love of Jesus into the world.

The way, the truth and the life is an invitation into a transforming relationship with Jesus, a relationship that brings meaning to life and death, and new life. A relationship that speaks the truth in the face of evil and injustice, a relationship that makes possibilities out if impossibilities. 

The way, the truth and the life is an invitation to live a life of meaning, and sometimes that is hard. I think in this story it is as if Jesus says to us, you can do hard things people. Loving me and loving one another is sometimes hard, and you can do hard things. So we come together here, in this church, to remember this. We come together, with all our own hurt, and with all the hurt we've caused others, we show up. We listen to the stories, we share our common prayers, we break bread, and we remember who we are, and something happens. We are made new, somehow the fissures of our hearts and souls are filled with bread broken, love spilled, truth lived, life reborn. 

It is such an expansive invitation, a call to each and every one of us. The house has many rooms, enough for all. The sheep-gate is for us to enter, it is not to keep people out. This house is the place where love wins, it is the place where hearts are healed, it is the place where new life arises out of death. It is the place where we can do hard things. In this house your brokenness is received, the fragments of your life are collected. In this house you don't have to have it all figured out, you can sit in the mystery and your heart will dance. 

And in this house, where all this messiness and healing and dancing happens, God’s love overflows, your love overflows and your love shows others how the cracks are filled. The cracks in our lives and in our common life together caused by poverty, and hunger, the cracks caused by drugs and alcohol, the cracks caused by power and greed, the cracks caused by fear. These cracks can only be filled with the love that overflows, the love that wins.

The call to us includes a sending. We are sent out to love and serve others. We are sent out to bring God’s healing love and grace into the world. We must act on this love, we cannot just say it, or sing about it, or think it’s pretty. Because love is what we do. Love is what God does, and we are God’s hands and feet. Walk in love as you are loved. God’s call to us, when we answer it, can change the world. Go, and change it.

Alleluia! Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed.  Alleulia.   

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