Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Sermon Starts at 24:08 in the recording
Gospel: John 6:56-69
56Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’ 59He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.
60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, ‘This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?’ 61But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, ‘Does this offend you? 62Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64But among you there are some who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. 65And he said, ‘For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.’
66 Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. 67So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ 68Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’
Afterthoughts: Which Way Do I Go?
How do you orient yourself?
This is the gist of what I was talking about on Sunday.
The Gospel reading from chapter 6,
in fact all of chapter 6 of John is clear on this:
The life of faith orients itself around the person of Jesus.
Anything else is detrimental to the spiritual life and health of the person of faith.
Why is this SO important?
Because it has consequences.
Several years back, drivers traveling through Gorman on I-5 found themselves in a very dangerous situation. The fog that sometimes places itself in that part of the state obscured the visibility of drivers and caused a massive pile-up. Many people were injured and a horse died.
Drivers were disoriented.
They lost their perspective on the driving conditions
and could not anticipate the dangers surrounding them.
There were consequences.
In a much less dramatic way,
but no less severe for potential consequences,
A life that is disoriented can fail.
And there are consequences.
On our emotions.
On our spiritual life.
On our physical body.
On our family.
On our friends.
On our soul.
With a bad map,
You can end up in the wrong place.
Or, at least, a place not of your choosing.
Think of the quest of sea explorers like Ferdinand Magellan, Christopher Columbus, and Amerigo Vespucci.
The cartography at the time (map making) had a direct route to the east from the west by going west.
The desire was to open up the trade route with the East and bring goods to Europe.
North America was in the way.
And thousands of miles of really treacherous landscape
Think of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.
Charged as the Corps of Discovery to find the passageway across a burgeoning country to the west coast from the east.
They assumed that once they hit the Rockies,
they would simply canoe to the Pacific.
They miscalculated the hundreds of miles that their canoes would serve little use (other than firewood).
Like trying to move through a house of mirrors at the fair
Like trying to navigate a corn maze.
Life can be very disorienting.
But it doesn’t have to be.
As long as we have Jesus as the True North of our compass;
As long as our map is framed in the truth of His life.
This is the point of Jesus’ interaction with the disciples in John 14
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In 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? And 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. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus 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’? Do 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. Believe 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. Very 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. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”John 14:1-14
Essential this is the conversation:
Jesus: I go to prepare a place for you.
Thomas: Um, Jesus, can we have a map to get there?
Jesus: I am the map.
Philip: If you are who you say you are, just give us a glimpse of God.
Jesus: Have you not been paying attention?
You have seen the Father because you have seen me.
Jesus: Also, this is important because I am calling you to the road I am walking and you will need the things that I have to walk successfully.
This is the encouragement that is consistent in the Scriptures:
Walk the True Path.
Stay away from the false path
(which was in the first reading from last week).
Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”Joshua 24:14-15
Since we don’t live during the time of Joshua,
We fail to identify (sometimes) with Joshua’s words.
the question could be,
what are the “gods of our ancestors”
or the “gods in the land you are living”?
That certainly is something worth thinking about.
What are those things that take the place of the orientation that so rightly belongs to Jesus?
Certainly in our culture, we have made gods of:
· Positions of authority
· Public standing
· Having the “right” family, job, career, house, car, etc,
But, the real question is,
What have WE made gods?
What are the gods WE have inherited from our families of origin?
It seems like here is where we will find the places we struggle to keep oriented. And the place to start in getting re-oriented.
In our seeking, may we find the peace of Christ.
May we be led in the power of the Holy Spirit.
And may we know the will of the Father.