16 May The Way Home
The Way Home – May 14th, 2017
1 Peter 2:2-10
2Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation — 3if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
4Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and 5like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For it stands in scripture:
“See, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
7To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe,
“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the very head of the corner,”
“A stone that makes them stumble,
and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
9But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
10 Once you were not a people,
but now you are God’s people;
once you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy.
Growing up, our home always felt a little like a boarding house… we always had friends and family staying with us. I remember mom talking on the phone with this relative or that colleague … Oh yes, there’s more than enough room, more than enough food, more than enough time…
Usually, this meant I had to give up my room, my bed, and my privacy… but, we all were used to it.
Our home wasn’t THAT big… but it was always open…
On this 5th Sunday of Easter and Mother’s Day, we celebrate God’s gift of openness. The passage from 1 Peter basically says, “you belong.” You might have been on the outside at some point, but now you have received an invitation to come in, to dwell, to stay.
That invitation is for this life and for the next. In our second reading, Jesus is comforting his disciples. The cross is near, but as Easter people, we know death cannot hold him.
1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4And you know the way to the place where I am going.” 5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
8Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” 9Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”
Our lectionary texts are providing a “greatest hits” of passages normally read at services of witness to the resurrection. Last week, we heard from the 23rd Psalm, and this week we hear from Jesus about many dwelling places.
We are all journeying through life – wayfarers and wanderers, tourists and travelers – moving on this journey from first breath to the last light. But, we are an Easter people…a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people. The “long strange trip” does not end in death, but opens the door into another promised path.
Easter means resurrection. The empty tomb means there’s always room with the Lord.
The travel industry has taken a hit over the past few months…
The skies have not been so friendly recently – Flights are overbooked, travelers are overstressed, and the crew is overworked…Delays, Cancellations, Strained and Stranded…. oh my.
Leg room is down…costs are up.
It’s a toil to travel…but, on the rare occasion, there’s an upgrade… better seats in the plane… bigger car at the rental counter…
We all like Upgrades… that’s why today’s passage might strike us as confusing… it’s a downgrade…
Is this a downgrade…the removal of legroom… the loss of personal space.
Mansions always sounded like a reward… like the heavenly crowns… (another jewel in the golden headwear)….cast our crowns before you…
Dwelling places… Abiding places…
Does it matter? Ultimately, Jesus is saying there’s more than enough room… you are always welcome.
Mansions sound like a reward – and it is…but mansions are isolating…it’s about being served. Mansions and crowns… at the last, we’re going to cast these (and all things) at the feet of Jesus…
Journeying from Easter to Pentecost…Resurrection to the Birth of the church… life to death…
We are not home yet…
Paul – 2nd Corinthians 5
6 So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord— 7for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
The good news is nothing shall separate us from the Love of God.
Home is not four walls and a roof…Church is not bricks and mortar. It is relationships…that’s how God wired us, and that is the example of Jesus. He constantly talks throughout John’s Gospel about being in the Father and the Father being in him.
Called out of darkness into a marvelous light – bursting forth like a new dawn… Hear Jesus’ words, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me…”
Ultimately, Jesus says we are going to do even greater works than he does? Signs, wonders, and miracles seem completely out of reach. I’m probably not going to feed 5,000, cure a leper, or raise the dead, but that’s not what Jesus is calling us to do. He gave these miraculous signs to get everyone’s attention – to lead them into a deeper relationship with the Lord and with each other.
Miracles are easy. Relationships are harder. We have to be vulnerable – like a mother who always welcomes home – whose heart is open to her children (even to be broken from time to time.)
What shall separate us from the love of God?
The way home – is to the One who is in the Father and the Father is in him.
Home is at hand, and there is plenty of room. Once we accept there is room for us, we are open to making room for others.