Jesus does not send Mary back to the kitchen, back to the place she belongs, because in his eyes, in his life, death and resurrection that is not where she belongs. In him, walls that divide us are broken down. He comes not just to bring peace, he is peace. The hostility between us and them runs out of gas in the presence of Christ. He Is here to take us back to the garden in a matter of speaking to create a new humanity in place of all the divisions and groupings we’ve created. Because of Christ, there are no longer strangers and aliens but members of the household of God. He is the Cornerstone of whole new way of being human and we are being built into it, a dwelling place for God. In John’s gospel, Jesus sums it all up with a simple prayer, “. . . That they may all be one.” That is his prayer and his mission.
We are living in a world full of beaten people who have been robbed. Of course, not all of them are beaten and left for dead on the side of the road. Some of them are children in families plagued by addiction. Some of them are senior citizens deciding whether to fill a prescription or to pay the rent. Some of them are like the members of the US Women’s Soccer team wondering why they do the same job only better and get paid less than their male counterparts.
And, if we are honest, some of them are us. Perhaps not so severe as our friend on the side of the road in our story this morning, but we have had our moments, we carry the scars. When we are able to see that in ourselves and others, we are free to proceed to the intersection of compassion and brokenness where we can offer all of ourselves, the hurt we have endured and the love we have received. In this way, the Kingdom of God comes near and God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.
I am sure that there will be preachers in this country today who will read our text for this morning and wax eloquently about how Paul’s letter to the church at Galatia so handsomely compliments the writings of our Thomas Jefferson. They will make little distinction, if any at all, between the two different understandings […]
So whether we are talking about thirst people in the Arizona desert or LGBTQ teenagers who are being bullied . . . Whether we are talking about quality healthcare for the elderly and the poor or justice and inclusion for people of color. . . Weather we are talking about families being able to earn a wage that leaves some time left in their week to be family or women being able to make their own decisions about their bodies — we are talking about the same thing, a refusal to accept the prevailing narrative, the spirit of this age and a capacity to see a world brought to life by mercy and compassion, hope and promise, grace and love of God.
So the Apostle Paul prays for us today that the eyes of our hearts would be enlightened as we come to know Jesus so that we can see and know the world not as it is but as God created it and intends for it to be again.
God’s specialty is messes – redeeming them, restoring, reconciling, resurrecting. In all the times and all the ways we get it wrong, God is there to hold us and to hug us til it comes ‘round right. Not as the world gives—in exchange for something, but only as God gives, freely, unconditionally and forever.
There are more of us than we can count from every nation, every tribe, every people and every language ready to cry out in a loud voice “Salvation.” If we are different in every imaginable way, what we have in common is that we have all in our own way and in our own time lived through our particular ordeal. Some more than others to be sure, but to each of us and to all of us there is one seated on the throne offering shelter, food and something to drink. One who knows who we are, what we have been through and why it is that there are tears on our cheeks that need to be wiped away.
The proof of Easter is not an empty tomb, it is a living body. When I see you be Christ to one another, I see Easter happening. Why do I believe resurrection happened on that first Easter all those years ago, because I see it happening again and again in your care and concern for students in our school, in your assistance to the needy in our community, in the food you bring to share through the food shelf, in the way you cook for those who are sick or bereaved, in the way you surround one another with love and prayer when difficult times arise, in the way you speak out and you speak up for those who need allies in this world, in the way share hope and help with refugees and immigrants, in the way you are the living body of Christ to one another.