3rd Sunday of Easter
April 17, 2013
Please pray with me,
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O God, our rock, our strength and our redeemer. Amen.
So much in this text…where do we focus?On the fact that the disciples were fishing….
And at least one of them was fishing naked….
Or the fact that Jesus appeared to them, again helping them to fish….
Or that Jesus sat and ate with them, as sign of his physical presence with them…
Or that Jesus invited Peter into a moment of forgiveness and grace…and unconditional love?
Tonight, I’d like us to focus on the fact that they went back to fishing.
The disciples went back to what they know…they were fisherman, so they fished. In the wake of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection….being lost, confused, frightened or just lonely, they went back to what they knew….and that was fishing.
So do we….
On Monday, tragedy struck in Boston. I had received a facbook message from Darrell at 1pm that he had finished the marathon in under 3 hours! He was very excited!
At 3:43 pm I received a text message from him that read “We are okay and in hotel room.” I texted back, thanks…did you mean to text someone else? I had thought in the business of post-race celebrations and crowds that he was just trying to get in touch with friends or family at the end of the race.
I was wrong. It was a response to the bombs that went off at the end of the marathon route.
There was fear, tragedy, and heart ache…in Boston that day…
Monday evening and Tuesday all around the world, runners went running. We put wore race jerseys to work, we put on sneakers, we hit the trails we hit the streets, we ran.
Runners went back to the familiar…to run for those couldn’t because they were injured or afraid.
There is comfort in going back to what we know. Surrounded by people, places and faces that bring us comfort, joy, and give us places to laugh and cry.
We live in a broken world. I feel like I don’t even need to say that out loud….because we know this to be true.
Violence, hatred, war, sickness and death. You can see this on 24 hour news channels, get tweets about the latest news, read about it on facebook….we hardly need to say that we live in a broken world because it is displayed before us everywhere.
Yet, we, like the disciples are called, claimed and sent into this world.
On Sunday, not only did we have two baptisms at the late service, we also welcomed in new members….So we baptized and people affirmed their baptisms….
As the babes were washed in the baptismal waters and marked with the sign of the cross we prayed these words… We give you thanks, O God, that through water and the Holy Spirit you give your daughters and sons new birth, cleanse them from sin, and raise them to eternal life.
Sustain Greyson Paul and Molly Jane with the gift of your Holy Spirit; the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of council and might, the spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in your presence, both now and forever. Amen.
I can say that Molly Jane did not have a happy look on her face…..It’s as if she knew that her life as a baptized Christian would not be an easy one….how telling.
Later in the service as we welcomed in new members…we prayed for God’s blessing:
We give you thanks, O God, that through water and the Holy Spirit you give us new birth, cleanse us from sin, and raise us to eternal life.
Stir up in your people the gift of your Holy Spirit; the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of council and might, the spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in your presence, both now and forever. Amen
Sound familiar? As we affirm our baptisms, we continue to pray for God’s blessings upon us, because we know the world in which we live.
But the good news is that this is a place to where we can return time and time again…to be splashed with this water, fed with God’s word, nourished with the body and blood of Jesus Christ only to be sent back out into the world to be beacons through which God’s light may shine.
Even in the midst of tragedy and despair, we are called to be the light of the risen Christ in our world…here and now.
So maybe the challenge for us….is how do we make that happen?
How are we living our lives, proclaiming our faith and showing the light of the resurrected Christ to others in our day to day lives?
Yes, how are we living our lives? Proclaiming our faith? Showing the light of the resurrected Christ to others in our day to day lives?
Each of us does so in a different way….whether through a listening ear, or a comforting hug, saying please or thank you, spending the night at Trinity during a family promise week, bringing in food items or sharing your time at the food pantry, tutoring someone, mowing someone’s lawn, speaking up for someone who is being bullied.
How many more can I name?
This is our call…our vocation...
I want to share something from the 1954 Evanston Assembly of the World Council of Churches:
“The time has come to make the ministry of the laity explicit, visible and active in the world. The real battles of the faith today are being fought in factories, shops, offices, and farms, in political parties and government agencies, in countless homes, in the press, radio and television, in the relationship of nations.
Very often it is said that the church should ‘go into these spheres’; but the fact is, that the church is already in these spheres in the persons of its laity.”
1954….things haven’t changed too much, have they? I think the only thing to change is add the internet….to places where the real battles of faith are being fought today….
Our vocation is to be the light….be the church in the world….. not take sermons out to the world but to be the light of christ be who we are…the church….in the places we already are. The classroom, the stage, the sports fields, the office, our homes, the grocery store, wherever we find ourselves is where we are called to be the church.
But the good news, friends, is that we are already in those spheres….we are already active and a part of the world around us. And by living in the light of an empty tomb, by being present with others, serving others and giving voice to the voiceless, we are letting Christ’s light shine around us.
May this place continue to be a place where we are forgiven, fed and nourished and sent, so that our light may shine before others…and glorify our Father in heaven.
And now, may the peace, which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus and let all God’s people say, amen.