Sermons on death
We are grains of wheat. That is what we are. We can stay by ourselves, alone and rigid, encased in a hard shell, holding the embryo of what could be, of what God could be through us and deep within us, imprisoned by our unwillingness to let go of those things we hold to be safe and true through our understanding of ourselves, each other, or God. Or, we can die to ourselves and we can become the bread of life, giving life and nourishment to others and bearing much fruit for the Kingdom. “Come and die”, Jesus says.
Oh those Israelites. They were grumbling and mumbling their distaste with God’s plan. Their worn out bodies were wracked by the relentless heat of the day while the few blankets they had grabbed from their hurried escape from slavery were worn thin, nearly translucent. Every night, they had to huddle together, clasping the tattered material tightly around them to survive the frigid evenings. Their throats were parched, their stomachs empty, their legs ready to buckle and collapse, when from their…
There is a little poem I think about this time of year. Some people dream the dream Some people live the dream Some people defend the dream God bless the defenders The Lord said “who shall I send and who will go for us” and I said “here am I; send me. Amen.
Pentecost is a time of celebrating God’s surprises in our lives. Often, it’s fun and exhilarating to run and catch up with the Spirit who is leading us into new life, new ways of being, new callings to answer, new ways of being church. And sometimes, it’s hard, and we feel out of breath, and we want things to slow down, or return to what was. I think this is a very natural reaction because surprises are unexpected and we can be thrown off by the lack of our control, or by the direction the Spirit is moving us toward, one that we may not have chosen ourselves. The Holy Spirit is a wild and crazy thing and yet it always empowers us to join with the first disciples in witnessing to the truth of the risen Christ. I think this is one of most helpful things for me to remember when I’m feeling exhausted by the changes the Holy Spirit is demanding of me – it’s for a good purpose. It’s so I can be a more faithful witness to what lights up my life, to what offers me joy, to what gives my life purpose, what inspires me to become the best I can be – the presence of Jesus in my life.
As with the younger son, whether we return home in shame, or regret, or in complete brokenness, Jesus meets us and rejoices. It is the act of our returning home that is celebrated and it is the grace offered by Jesus in the Eucharist that heals our heart and allows us to become whole, to be resurrected, to find a way toward new life out of what had appeared dead in our lives.
Jesus, the Word, redeems each of us who have ever cried out from the depths of our soul, “Where were you when I needed you?” Jesus, the Word, redeems each of us who feel consumed with pain, and fail to find God within it, but rather blame God for it. Jesus, the Word, redeems each of us who have ever seen only our own dilemma, as the entirety of the world, and failed to see the larger picture of the Kingdom of God. Jesus, the Word, redeems each of us who have ever protected our hearts from lavishly pouring out that precious gift God gave us to give away: love. We must be willing to be broken open to love. It is what allows Jesus to save us.
Our being Christian is not really about us; it’s about us, as Christians, making a difference in the world. I love this about Christianity~ that the pattern of our life is to be renewed by worship to then go out into the world as the apostolate, the apostles, sharing the good news, making a difference to others.