A Sermon for 4 Lent
These four passages – Jesus’ visit from Nicodemus, his encounter with the Samaritan woman, his healing of the man born blind, and his raising of Lazarus, which comes next week – are all crazy long. They contain some of the most extensive dialogue found in the gospels as well as some of the most complex plotting and the most provocative interpersonal dynamics.
John provides fewer accounts of Jesus’ active ministry than do Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but the episodes he does include, he develops in tremendous detail. As I observed when I reflected with you about the Nicodemus conversation, the community from which John’s gospel arose was deeply concerned about understanding the meaning of Jesus’ life, his identity, and the relationship between Jesus and God. These concerns of the young Church in the very last part of the 1st century Before the Common Era, were the beginning of an intense era in the life of the Church (that in fact lasted through the great Councils of the Church in the 4th century) in which pinning down the Church’s Christology – its understanding of the nature of Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah - was a primary focus.
If we read John closely, we see that this is the thread that runs through the gospel, from the Prologue in which John declares that In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and throughout, including in this morning’s account of Jesus’ healing of the man who was born blind.
Before we take a look at other details and implications of this morning’s gospel, I’d like to zoom in on one little line that is part of the pattern through which John reveals his convictions about Jesus. Before he heals the blind man in today’s gospel, Jesus says to him “I am the light of the world.” This is one of SEVEN “I am” statements spoken by Jesus in John’s gospel. Scholars who write about these “I am” statements don’t even count such statements as the one we heard last week, in which after talking about living water and the coming of the Messiah, Jesus says to the Samaritan Woman “I am he.” I’ll leave it to you to listen for the “I am” statement coming up in next week’s gospel.
What’s the big deal about these “I am” statements? Do you recall the story of the call of Moses in Exodus? How Moses was confronted by a burning bush and heard a voice directing him to return to Egypt and lead his people out of bondage? In the communal memory of their relationship with God and of God’s saving activity on their behalf, this memory was and is one of the critical touchstones for Israel, for Jesus’ community. It would have been well known, as it was read from the Torah in the synagogue every year.
One of the questions Moses asks in that ancient story aims to understand God’s identity: “But who shall I say sent me?” The answer Moses heard was “I AM.”
Jewish hearers of Jesus’ repeated “I am” declarations, and readers of John’s gospel who were been grounded in the Hebrew Scriptures would have been immediately understood Jesus’/John’s reference: God was once again revealing God’s self, once again offering grace and salvation to God’s people, this time, in Jesus.
And so we have this rather crazy story of the healing of the man born blind. You may have had trouble following it as we heard it this morning because the plot is a bit of a jumble. It starts with Jesus’ disciples, upon seeing a man who was blind, begging, and, assuming that his blindness was a punishment for sin, asking whether it was the man himself or his parents who had sinned. Without any direct interaction with the man himself, Jesus applies mud to the man’s eyes and directs him to go to a sacred pool to wash.
And Jesus then disappears. When the formerly blind man returns with his sight restored, a complete hubbub ensues, with a wide cast of characters getting involved in the quest to figure out what has happened. Is this really the man who was blind? How then was his sight restored? The uneasy neighbors refuse to believe the man’s account of his own experience, and drag him before the local religious authorities, who in turn don’t believe his testimony, but instead, haul his parents out as witnesses. The parents actually don’t really want to get involved, fearing that coming down on the side of the controversial prophet, Jesus, would not be in their best interests. When the continuing dialogue between the religious leaders and the newly-sighted man leads to his offending them with the suggestion that they don’t really know as much as they think they know, they expel the man from the synagogue and, apparently, the community.
At which point Jesus returns, to offer consolation to the one who has been healed. He confirms man’s belief in the Messiah and informs the man that he is the one who has been expected, and offers a summary statement on the whole episode: “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.”
I have often referred to Frederick Buechner’s suggestion that the gospel is a mirror that shows us ourselves1, and this certainly applies here. Today’s gospel is really a sad story of a group of people who are so unwilling to have their view of the world shaken up that they refuse to hear the truth about a healing that takes place right in their midst. It would be laughable if it weren’t so sad that not just the powerful religious leaders but also the ordinary townsfolk cannot believe the firsthand testimony of a person they know. “He’s blind. He can’t possibly be able to see now just because that traveling preacher smeared some mud on him!” “It must be somebody who just looks like him, probably trying to put something over on us.” “We’d better get rid of him!”
And this is, at least in part, my point about this story as a mirror. We have such a drive in us to fit the evidence to the way we already understand the world that it is really hard to remain open to new thoughts and new truths. When claims of a different reality nudge at us and make us uncomfortable, our impulse is to want to punish somebody. When Jesus says “I came into this world … so that those who do not see may see”, he’s not really talking about the man born blind: it is all of us that Jesus speaks about, even as he is also speaking to us.
I feel terribly troubled, and I suspect that many of you share my concern, that the cultural divides that exist not only in our country, but increasingly, it seems, in the wider world, seem to be hardening rather than easing. I worry terribly that diverging perspectives on gun ownership, and on what we have to acknowledge are real immigration crises throughout the world, and on voting rights, to name just a few, seem to have become intractable problems because we are so dug in to our differing assumptions and differing values that we cannot even talk to one another, let alone devise solutions.
I hope that I am clear that I think we are all guilty of this. It’s very easy for me to see the plank in the other person’s eye, to identify how narrow and selfish and unreasonable their positions are. I think that we Christians have Lent so that we can be thinking about the debris that compromises our own vision.
In her sermon last week Heather built on Jesus’ statement to Nicodemus that “‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life”, observing that in his outreach to the Samaritan Woman, Jesus EMBODIED that message of love. Heather went on to suggest that the story of the Samaritan Woman is an invitation to us to join Jesus in the work of reconciliation among peoples who are divided from one another.
I think that today’s story shows us the role that vision plays in the challenges of doing the work of reconciliation. In order bridge divides, we must be willing to see accurately, and overcome our own inclinations to remain blind.
When Jesus returns to the man born blind at the end of our gospel story, he promises that he has come into the world “so that those who do not see may see”. Jesus shows us God’s presence in the world and God’s wish to heal us. The vision we need is inner vision; the vision we need is wisdom and courage, to open our eyes to the truths that are not simple and not easy, and not necessarily the ones we’d choose.
What clouds our vision this week?
What are we having a hard time seeing?,
Where do we need healing?
A Sermon for 2 Lent
Nicodemus was an important person: he was a big deal. As a Pharisee, he was part of the elite – better educated than most, a member of the Sanhedrin (or ruling council at the Jerusalem Temple), he was an insider and would have been accorded respect and privilege.
Pharisees were the most progressive of the Jewish sects that existed in Jesus’ time. Despite their rigidity in relation to applying the Law of Moses - which led to their conflicts with Jesus over his sabbath practices, for example - they believed that interpretation of the Torah, of scripture, was a matter of ongoing revelation. They were open to an evolving understanding of God’s intent for humankind, which may be what prompted Nicodemus to seek Jesus out to learn more about the new rabbi’s teachings.
It would certainly have been unusual for such an important person (and a member of the religious establishment) to seek out Jesus, and so it’s not surprising that he did so under cover of night. Nicodemus would not have wanted to advertise any association with this radical religious teacher. It seems that he couldn’t resist the impulse to learn more, however: he couldn’t dismiss his sense that “something is going on here….”
We never actually find out, in John’s narrative, what Nicodemus wanted from Jesus, because immediately after his initial statement acknowledging Jesus as a “teacher who has come from God,” Jesus effectively hijacks the conversation to launch into a line of instruction, with Nicodemus practically scrambling to keep up.
Jesus’ instruction addresses what one needs in order to to enter the kingdom of God. It includes a Greek term – anothen -that is difficult to translate, and that has caused consternation and controversy within Christian communities:
Jesus tells Nicodemus EITHER:
No one can see the Kingdom of God without being born from above OR
No one can see the Kingdom of God without being born again.
Nicodemus understands this statement literally, he gets stuck on and bewildered by the notion of a person having to physically re-enter the womb and experience literal rebirth.
Jesus, of course, is talking about something else, about spiritual rebirth, about making a fresh start. He tells Nicodemus that rebirth is not a matter of the physical self, but of the spiritual self, and is the work of the Spirit, leading one to new life.
This verse has been understood by some Christian groups as a specific requirement. Some believe and preach the necessity of being “born again” in a particular kind of experience, using particular language, in order to be “saved”. Connected to this is the belief that those who are not “born again” according to a particular formula are not truly redeemed. This understanding reflects an exclusive rather than inclusive perspective, and is not the understanding of the Episcopal Church.
But back to our gospel passage.
After the exchange about rebirth, Jesus’ meeting with Nicodemus transitions into a sermon.
You’re probably aware of the ways in which John’s gospel differs from the synoptics, Matthew, Mark and Luke. It was written anywhere from twenty to forty years after the synoptics and includes passages of discourse – some of them quite lengthy – that are attributed to Jesus, and that represent what the young church had come to believe about the purpose of Jesus’ life. John’s community told stories – some of which we find in John’s gospel, that have Jesus explaining the meaning of his life and ministry.
The brief sermon that we hear Jesus offering to Nicodemus is one of these. It includes what may be most quoted verse in the Bible, which Marin Luther described as “whole gospel in a single verse”, John 3:15:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
This verse, like the one about rebirth, has sometimes been interpreted from an exclusive rather than inclusive perspective. Rather than emphasizing God’s love for the world – let’s notice, the world, not God’s love for the church, let alone any particular segment of the church – rather than emphasizing God’s love for the world, and God’s act to lead the world into abundant and eternal life, some focus on belief in Jesus as an absolute prerequisite for salvation, as if the text said “God gave his Son so that ONLY those who believe in him may have eternal life.” There is an important difference. Again, many do NOT read the passage this way.
Final verse of the text further reiterates and reinforces the theme of God’s expansive and inclusive love:
Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
So what might Jesus’ words mean for us today? Is spiritual rebirth what we should be looking for? Is it something that takes place as an event, or is it a process?
Jesus tells Nicodemus that in order to see or enter the kingdom of God, a person must be born of the Spirit. Our ancestors in faith often taught that in speaking of the kingdom of God, Jesus was speaking of a realm that exists outside of the world we live in, one that we can hope to enter after our physical life ends.
Today we no longer understand God’s reign to be separate from the life we live here and now. Today we understand Jesus to have been preaching about what Presiding Bishop Curry refers to as “God’s dream”, the community of love, justice, and peace that God intends for God’s creation. This reign of God is a time of living in right relationship with ourselves, with one another and with God; it is a reality we can build in the present, and it extends into the “eternal life” that Jesus speaks to Nicodemus about.
To be “born of the Spirit”, I suspect, simply means living a life that grows out of our relationship with God.
I can best understand the idea of spiritual rebirth as being found in the gradual path of spiritual growth that we all work at over the course of our lifetimes. We work at spiritual growth through prayer and reflection, through study, through participation in worship, and through the experience of life in community, especially through our work together in service to others and to God’s world. Lent is the perfect time to focus on spiritual growth.
I also think that we can also experience instances of dramatic change of our spiritual awareness, times when the circumstances or events of our lives produce in us real moments of transformation, of opening and expansion, of new self-knowledge and deepening in our relationship with God. Some of these times of change grow out of the joyful moments in life – I think of the birth of children and how profoundly that experience alters our view of what is important – but many times our spiritual development is painful, and grows out of times of loss and failure that bring us up short, requiring us to look at the truth of our lives in new ways.
Jesus’ words to Nicodemus about spiritual rebirth suggest relationship and experience rather than doctrine and dogma. They describe a kind of spiritual growth that depends on courage and trust, but that leads to new possibilities of life marked by freedom, joy, peace, and love.
John’s gospel never tells us what impact the conversation with Jesus had on the man, Nicodemus, but the whole of John’s gospel provides quiet suggestions.
Nicodemus appears two more times in John.
As a member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish court, John tells us that Nicodemus spoke up in defense of offering Jesus a fair trial, at the time of his arrest.
And finally, Nicodemus is the one who brings myrrh and aloes, along with Joseph of Arimathea, to prepare Jesus’ body for burial after his crucifixion.
Did Nicodemus turn toward rebirth, toward a life of faith in Jesus? It certainly seems to be John’s implication. Nicodemus’ story promises us that rebirth is possible, that change can happen. And if it can happen to Nicodemus, it can happen to us.
May we, in this season of Lent, like Nicodemus, dare to bring our questions and our uncertainties forward before God.
May we keep our eyes on Jesus.
May we find in ourselves the will and the trust to invest in our own spiritual growth.
May we, through God’s grace, travel toward new life in community with our sisters and brothers and live into an openness of heart, so that we may be reborn of the Spirit.
A Sermon for 5 Epiphany
They are strong lessons we have heard this morning, with a common theme calling us to live into the work God gives us.
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount would definitely qualify to go on his “Greatest Hits” album. The Sermon, an extended set of teaching covering three chapters in the early part of Matthew’s gospel, is the longest passage of Jesus’ direct teaching that we find in the New Testament.
It wasn’t actually a single sermon, according to New Testament scholarship. It’s now believed that during the years following Jesus’ death and resurrection, a set of his most important teachings was collected in a single document that circulated among the communities of his followers, and when Matthew came to composing his account of the Good News of Jesus’ life and ministry, he included this great chunk of teaching as one sermon delivered on a mountainside. (Luke has a largely identical sermon delivered by Jesus, but on a plain.)
In the sermon, Jesus begins by talking about God’s favor, by reflecting on those who are blessed, or fortunate, in their relationship with God. We heard “the Beatitudes” last Sunday. Today ‘we’ve heard Jesus’ teaching about salt and light, and his commentary on his relationship to the Law of Moses. Next Sunday we’ll listen to the core of Jesus’ ethical teachings in a series of proclamations know as “the Antitheses”.
One of my seminary professors described the Sermon on the Mount as “the constitution for the Kingdom of God”, what we would now call “the Reign of God”:
Jesus had preached that “the kingdom of heaven has come near”, and now Jesus was teaching his disciples what the Reign of God looks like in practice.
Last Sunday Julie reflected with us on Jesus’ observations about those who are blessed – who are fortunate, who find themselves in relationship with God. The commonality, she observed, is that the blessed, the fortunate, are those who are vulnerable, NOT those recognized as powerful and successful. The blessed are those who know both their own brokenness, she said, and who recognize the world’s brokenness and who hunger for justice.
The way Jesus uses language in this set of teachings is worth paying attention to. As he begins talking about those who are blessed, he speaks of them as “they”. But during his description of those who are blessed, however, it’s almost as if he realizes how important it is for his listeners, the disciples, to recognize that he is talking about them, and his pronoun switches to “you”.
And that’s where we take up the sermon this morning:
YOU ARE the salt of the earth.
YOU ARE the light of the world.
These are rich metaphors, for sure. Both salt and light have value because they transform things. They are positive metaphors.
Salt gives flavor and seasoning. It is used to purify and to preserve. Associated with sanctification in the ancient world, salt was used in sealing covenants and sprinkled on sacrifices. Although most of us consume more of it than we need, our bodies require salt to transmit nerve impulses, and to contract and relax our muscles. Salt affects what it touches.
Light enables sight; it illuminates; it provides it provides freedom for movement. We know, especially in the seasons when the sun’s light is decreased, how much light affects our moods.
Listen closely: in speaking of salt and light, Jesus was affirming his listeners, not prescribing. He didn’t say “you need to be salty” or “God wants you to be light”, but rather, “You ARE salt”; “you ARE light”.
This is the thing - we are called to manifest what we already are. We are not only blessed in the truth of our vulnerability, but the very being that God creates us with is what the world needs. Our words and our actions manifest God. Just as the salt and the light impact what they are applied to, God works through us to make a difference to those we come in contact with.
We are the salt that heals the world, the light that gives hope and courage, because, in our frailty and our brokenness, we know God’s loving presence. We are the city on the hill that makes God’s blessing and God’s love known to others.
It sounds good, doesn’t it? That we know what God calls us to? It is the living into it, the putting it into practice that is terribly hard.
And this is where I think we also need to listen to the prophet Isaiah.
The book we know as “Isaiah” is actually a compilation of several voices speaking from and to the Hebrew people over the course of generations. One part of Isaiah was composed during the Exile in Babylon and reflects hope for deliverance, while another expresses the joy of return to Judah.
Today’s reading, from the section known as Trito-Isaiah, reflects the disillusionment and despair of the post-exilic period, in which Israel had returned to the ancestral lands but was faced with famine, drought, failing crops, and strife in relations with their non-Hebrew neighbors, all struggling to survive under Persian rule.
Isaiah 58 cries out at God’s apparent disinterest in their plight. They seek God and believe they are practicing righteousness, but they don’t receive the response they look for:
“Why do we fast, but you do not see?
Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?”
The prophet’s answer, articulated in God’s own voice, reflects the same message we heard last week from the prophet Micah, that God is not interested in acts of religious devotion for their own sake. Isaiah lays out an accusation of hypocrisy: the people fast, but oppress their workers; they humble themselves but quarrel with neighbors.
The righteousness God calls for is care for the real needs of God’s children, and the righteousness of actions that work to bring justice:
Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
The passage then transitions into the assurance of God’s response:
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to live in.
It is a very important connection that Isaiah clear: it is our efforts at doing God’s work that call God’s presence forth in the world. Saying the right things, going through the motions, don’t manifest God. Showing up is what God asks of us – showing up in all of our our imperfections is the work we’re called to. Theologian Sallie McFague famously said “If God is absent from this world, it is because we are.” *
Jesus’ message – to hearers in Galilee and to us today – is a word of love, hope, and reassurance, but it is a call to action.
It is about God’s favor, not God’s demands.
It is about God’s inclusion of those who feel excluded.
It is God’s affirmation of who we already are.
It is the invitation to be the salt and the light that the world needs.
The spring of water that never fails.
How will we do it this week?
A Sermon for 2 Epiphany
This 2nd Sunday after Epiphany is a good time to think about discipleship. We hear about it in Isaiah’s 2nd “Servant Song” and in John’s version of the call of Jesus’ first disciples.
Both the real prophet we know as Isaiah and those who wrote in his name (for the sixty-six chapters of the book we know as “Isaiah” were not all produced by the same voice) lived during the difficult years before, during, and after Israel’s conquest and captivity in Babylon.
Today’s passage gives us a glimpse of the frustrations and difficulties of being a prophet (or, for our purposes, a disciple), in a dialogue between the prophet and the Almighty.
Isaiah is very sure of his having been called by God, in fact, from before he was born! “While I was in my mother’s womb God named me.” (Is 49:1)
And yet, Isaiah doesn’t feel that he has been able to exercise the calling for which he was born. He has been “hidden away” “like a polished arrow in the quiver”, his mouth silenced behind the “shadow of God’s hand”. (Is 49:2)
Isaiah, it turns out, is not shy about expressing his frustration to God: “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing!”, he exclaims. (Is 49:4)
God’s response is that Isaiah has been called for an even broader and more important mission than that of teaching and restoring Israel: God’s servant is to be “a light to the nations”, that God’s salvation “may reach to the ends of the earth”.
It seems to me that it’s probably not unusual that there is a difference between the calling that a prophet or a disciple may envision for themselves and the work that it turns out really needs to be done. I think that for many of us, the plans we make fall by the wayside when different and unexpected options open up. Scripture is full of accounts of reluctant servants who need serious re-direction before they are ready to accept the role they are called to in God’s vision: Moses and Jonah are two that spring immediately to mind.
Turning to this morning’s gospel account of the call of Jesus’ first disciples, we first need to observe how different it is from the better-know story we hear in the other gospels, of Jesus calling the fishers from their work on the lakeshore (which we will hear next week).
Today’s narrative takes place in Bethany, across the Jordan where John is encamped with his disciples, baptizing and proclaiming the approach of God’s reign.
The reading begins with John’s account of Jesus’ baptism and John’s identification of Jesus as “the Lamb of God” (Jn 1:29)
As John testifies to Jesus’ identity to his followers, as Jesus is passing by, two of his disciples begin to follow after Jesus, and he turns and asks them: “What are you looking for?”.
The two don’t seem to have an answer ready, and reply with a question of their own: “Rabbi, where are you staying?”
Jesus, in turn – in a manner we will, of course, see many times – himself does not answer, but issues an invitation, an opportunity: “Come and see.” (Jn. 1:37-39)
Just as our text from Isaiah reminds us that the work to which God calls us is not necessarily what we plan, this story of the call of Jesus’ first disciples provides two simple and fundamental questions that can (and probably should) shape our lives as disciples:
What are we looking for? And
Are we looking to see what God in Christ is up to?
Did the disciples know what they were looking for? Probably not. Like us, they were undoubtedly searching for meaning and direction in their lives. What any of us is
looking for is complicated, and varies from day to day and year to year, depending on the issues, hopes, and challenges of the different times and circumstances in our lives.
This weekend we commemorate the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. because of his leadership in movement for civil rights for all persons. While most of his life was spent in the southern states, King spent some of his formative years here in Massachusetts. You may have seen or read about the new statue that was unveiled in Boston on Friday, paying tribute.
For us as Christians, King provides a powerful witness and model of a life of discipleship, a life lived in response to the gospel.
Like Isaiah, King was a servant of God, a “light to the nations” and an initiator of transformation not only in own parish and community, but a speaker of truth to a nation divided by deep-seated racial bias and legalized injustice, bias and injustice that we have still not eradicated today, as we all know.
Pastor King’s call to discipleship, like Isaiah, Andrew, and Simon, probably seemed simpler, as he set out on the journey, than it turned out to be.
Pastor King came to experience the cost of discipleship to a new degree during the boycott: four local churches and the homes of both King and Ralph Abernathy were firebombed.
The eventual success of boycott – the determination of federal district court that Montgomery’s laws regarding bus segregation were unconstitutional - sparked the more widespread movement for civil rights. Martin Luther King was increasingly called on to organize and provide leadership.
The leadership he offered, and which we celebrate this weekend, was grounded in King’s investment in the principle of nonviolent resistance to unjust law, which was born during his graduate studies in Boston, and further nurtured when he traveled to India to study the work of Gandhi. His understanding was based on belief in the “network of mutuality”, the idea that destiny of all persons is connected, that no one can be free if another is not free.
King is frequently seen as civil leader and organizer, but all his work was based in his commitment to Jesus, to the call to serve God, to be “a light to the nations” so that salvation might reach “to the ends of the earth.”
We know that he often faced violence in his life as a disciple: Martin was jailed, physically assaulted, and threatened on regular basis, and of course, he was eventually assassinated. His relationship with Jesus sustained him.
King often told of a critical incident that occurred during the most difficult days of the bus boycott. He recounted it in several sermons and in his autobiography. Here’s one version of the story, taken from Charles Marsh and John Perkins’ Welcoming Justice: God’s Movement Toward Beloved Community:
“In January 1956, Martin Luther King Jr. returned home around midnight after a long day of organizational meetings. His wife and young daughter were already in bed, and King was eager to join them. But a threatening call—the kind of call he was getting as many as 30 to 40 times a day—interrupted his attempt to get some much-needed rest. When he tried to go back to bed, he could not shake the menacing voice that kept repeating the hateful words in his head.
King got up, made a pot of coffee, and sat down at his kitchen table. With his head buried in his hands, he cried out to God. There in his kitchen in the middle of the night, when he had come to the end of strength, King met the living Christ in an experience that would carry him through the remainder of his life. "I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on," King later recalled. "He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone … He promised never to leave me, no never alone."
In the stillness of the Alabama night, the voice of Jesus proved more convincing than the threatening voice of the anonymous caller. The voice of Jesus gave him the courage to press through the tumultuous year of 1956 to the victorious end of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. More than that, it gave him a vision for ministry that would drive him for the rest of his life.”
(cited on preachingtoday.com)
The life of Martin Luther King Jr illustrates the fact that when we “come and see” the ministry of Jesus, when we take on the ministry of Jesus, we can be summoned to places we would really rather not go.
King’s witness reminds us that bringing light to the nations is not always welcome. It reminds us that preaching the gospel involves not just caring for those in need, but challenging the unjust structures in our common life.
But, as King was promised, we will never be left alone.
As we, in our own time and living with the particular challenges and opportunities of OUR lives, strive to follow Jesus, let us continue to ask ourselves:
What are we looking for?
Let us pray for the courage to really “come and see”, regardless of where the journey takes us.
Let us give thanks for the commitment and sacrifice of those who have gone before us in working for justice and peace.
We are blessed to have a diversity of preaching voices in our parish. Our guild of preachers is a mixture of lay and clergy. We hope you enjoy the varied voices.
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