St. Mary Nanoose Bay
May 10, 2020
John 14:1-14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.”
“I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jn14:6)
Our life comes from God and is sustained by God. When we learn to trust this truth, and rely on this truth, we can find our way in and through troubles and challenges. We don’t get life from what we manufacture or dream up, we get our life from the Holy One. And we really understand that, we can rest in that truth, and share from that truth, and act from that truth.
“I am the way, and the truth and the life,” is an invitation to wholeness, health, well-being and sustenance. And yet our minds are constantly trying to fine tune, alter, manage this life.
We work harder than we need to, we don’t rest – you know I am preaching to myself here! – we think we can’t relax or else everything and everyone around us will collapse. We have God complexes.
Yet, look what’s happened since we’ve been requested and required to stay inside for the benefit of the community, for the well being of each other. The world around continues to do its thing, sprouting seeds, bursting blossoms, beginning fruits. The earth does what it was designed to do – bring and sustain life. With the reduced burden of our polluting and poisoning ways.
What are we meant to do? Have we spent these past months reflecting what our role might be? How are we meant to nurture and sustain life, how can we “clean up” our relationship with God and neighbour?
In today’s reading from the gospel of John, the disciples have been complaining and expressing confusion. Their busy minds are wondering – what are they to do? Where are they to go? How will they know the way? Where is this heaven Jesus is talking about? Where is the kingdom of God?
Philip demands to see this “Father” Jesus keeps talking about, and Thomas is confused, “How can we know the way?”
So Jesus reminds them; it’s in relationship that we find and know God. Have they not been in relationship with Jesus ever since they chose to follow him? “Open your eyes,” Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth and the life.” As we start our prayer together every morning, “God of the present moment….” God is present with them, right there and then, in the form of Jesus. Who would have thought!?
Jesus says to Philip, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” The disciples have been living with Jesus, walking with him, witnessing the miracles and wonders, the healings; they’ve heard his words of deep compassion, his puzzling parables. They’ve eaten and prayed with him. All ordinary things; yet not so ordinary when they stop and reflect.
As with the disciples, of Jesus’ time, so it is with us. We continually forget what we’ve been told - that the kingdom is amongst us; it is in our relationships – with Jesus, with God, with neighbour, and with Creation. God is with us in everything - the days that slip by without notice, and in times such like these, during the pandemic.
Everyday we miss the miracles, the wonders, the awe because we are expecting something other than what we are being offered. We have our preferences, expectations, and predictions. We believe too much in our own ideas of what God is, should be and should not be doing in the world. We create so much unnecessary fear and worry because we are unable to see God standing in our midst. And so we miss the power God offers us to do the works of service and love in God’s name.
Listen again to what Jesus says in the reading this morning, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.” He’s not just suggesting that the disciples fight against their worries and fears; he’s directing his followers to simply open their eyes. What they want is right before them. So he says, “Stop your fussing. Open your eyes – I’m right here. And I’ve been here with you for a while now. You’ve seen how my power comes from my Father. You’ve seen how I’ve used this power for good, for you. It’s time to decide to trust and do the same. Because if not now, when?”
What are we looking for? Where are we looking? To the news? To the experts? Yes, we need to pay attention and do our civic duty, but as Christians, we live out of a different paradigm. One where no matter what happens, we know we are safe. One where no matter what happens, we are free to respond in love. One where no matter what happens, we can claim the love and life of the Holy Immortal One.
This is the 5th Sunday of Easter, and today, we’re on the other side of the resurrection. We know the before and after of the Easter story. We know that Jesus went so that the Holy Spirit could come and be with us.
And yet, we still doubt. And get confused, despairing and discouraged. If we can’t see something, we don’t trust it. If we can’t imagine the future, or we imagine it in a despairing way, something collapses in us. This is part of what it is to be a human being.
But that doesn’t have to be the bottom line. But we needn’t dwell in these dark places. We might even hear Jesus’ irritation with this kind of resignation or ‘rationality.’ He calls us up short and reminds us. I’m here. And I am one with the Father. The Father and I dwell in each other. So just trust. Enter into this relationship that holds everything. Just trust.”
And if Jesus was able to do great works out of this indwelling relationship, he says, “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
So, if this all sounds very mysterious and otherworldly, it isn’t. Not if we take Jesus seriously. Yes, it’s true, we can’t know the mind of God, but we can be in relationship with God. Fully. Deeply. Mutually. And out of this mutually embedded relationship, we can do great things in the name of love. We just need to spend time in our relationship with God, allowing in/receiving God’s love, giving thanks (often!) and sharing the love. Just like any relationship – we deepen it by being present, receptive and open.
There is no time like this moment to become present. Just go out and smell the blossoms in your yard, or in your neighbours’, whisper “thank you,” every time you become aware of the gift of each breath you take, say thank you when you are on the receiving end of the kindness of others, give thanks for the one who brought you into the world – it is Mother’s Day today! And spend time, asking in Jesus’ name, for the health and wholeness of others, those you know and love, and those who have no one praying for them.
This pandemic is full of God’s blessings. Can I suggest you take a moment today to write down how you are being blessed? And then, find a way to give thanks to the One who is with us in every moment, loving us, giving us life, from the beginning of time, to the end, and beyond.