EASTER; THE WAY! - 4/1/18

EASTER; THE WAY! 04-01- 2018

John 14: 1-14

These words are so often read at funerals that it seems odd not to have a casket and
flowers here before us. … They are preached often to assure the family and friends
of the deceased that the departed is in a better place, … a place assured from the
day of their acceptance of Jesus the Christ as their Savior. … These are, indeed,
words of encouragement … but they are not so much about our life after death …
as they are about our life after Jesus’ death.
It is about how we will live together as believers, … in light of the reality that
Jesus has died.
These were words meant as comfort for the disciples … as they are forced to
consider life without Jesus. … A time that Jesus has insisted, … over and over
again, … that they consider; … that they need to face!
Life, … as they know it, … will never be the same again.
They are faced with change that they neither welcome … nor for which they feel
prepared.
Funeral words for us and no casket. … Yet words for us to prepare us for a post-
Easter life … in a world that seems hostile and unwelcoming.
Words for our life after Jesus’ death.
How do Jesus’ words speak to us and our world? … We know the same fear, …
the same disorientation as the disciples.
We live in a world of unprecedented change. … We may be tired of hearing about
it … but “change” is nothing new … and will not go away.
In the midst of the disorientation of change … we need something to give us hope,
… an anchor.
So we have these words; … “Your heart must not be troubled.” … and; … “I am
the way, the truth, and the life.”
Words are sometimes too easy … and not nearly enough.
We can only imagine how the disciples received these words. … Their lives are
turned up-side- down. … The glory years of teaching, … healing, … the crowds …
are now in the past. … The intimate times of the daybreak breakfasts at the
seashore, … quiet moments in the garden, … times with Jesus; … a faint memory.
The wheels have come off; … arrest and crucifixion of Jesus; … death …
and now they are huddled together in fear. … They have no idea how to continue,
… how to live, what should be expected of them, … what all of this can mean for
their lives … and their future. … “Your heart must not be troubled.” … Really!!

These words, no doubt, seemed meaningless. … They are troubled. … Jesus seems
so far away! … They feel so very much … alone.
We know how the disciples must have felt. … We too, are faced with unwelcomed
change. … The Church, … this Church, … as we know it is struggling. … We are
getting older; … the “good old days” seem long gone … and we are tempted to
huddle in fear. …
The words come to us; … “Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God;
believe also in Me”. … We are tempted to say; … “It’s too late.”
We know fear and doubt. … Change has gripped our world for so many years now
… and not much of it has been good.
With the roller-coaster economy and oil price peaks and valleys, we have watched
towns die, … schools close, … hospitals down-graded, … down towns all but
deserted … and Churches close. … We long for the “good old days”, …
for stability … and the absence of fear. … We feel lost and look for a way out of it
all. … We know Thomas’ wonder and doubt, … “Lord, we do not know where
you’re going, … how can we know the way.”
We understand Philip who wants a road map: … “show us the Father, and that’s
enough for us.”
We want to cry out; … “Lord, we’re afraid! … Stop the change and give us some
breathing space!”
And Jesus says; … “I am going away to prepare a place for you.” … but this is not
some over-the- horizon, “safe spot when we die” kind of place. … This is a
relationship with Jesus Christ that will go with us into whatever we will find in the
future. … Nothing that we know, … except the love of God in Christ Jesus, …
will be secure.
Change will continue … but we should not be afraid because Jesus is with us.
Jesus does not promise us easy sailing … but He does promise we will not be
alone.
Thomas Aquinas is reported to have said; … “If the primary aim of a captain were
to preserve his ship, he would keep it in the port forever.”
It is in the sailing of this life … that Jesus promises to be with us.
We will need to travel light, … letting go of whatever nostalgia would keep us
from traveling into the future with Jesus. … All that we might think will give us
security, apart for Jesus, … will only let us down.
When jobs, … health, … family, … wealth, … politics, … or whatever, let us
down, … all we can be sure of, … is that God is unchanging.

This is nothing new. … You have sung for years the words in the hymn, “Abide
with Me”,
“Change and decay in all around I see … O Thou who changest not, abide with
me.” (page 636)
In the midst of all that changes, … Christ assures us; … “you will live in the
presence of God, now and forever.”
Change can scare … but not destroy.
So how do we live? … We live as people … “on the way.”
Jesus said: … “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
The way is a journey; … not a destination. … We are to live as people on a
journey. …
The metaphor of “journey” has been a powerful image for all of humankind.
We see it in the Bible and in literature. … The “Lord of the Rings” is a journey
with peril, … the premise of Star Trek is to … “go where no one has gone before.”
All great religions of the world … describe themselves as journey.
Jesus says “I am the way, the truth and the life”; ... that is enough for our journey;
… our only guarantee.
We travel as a communal people, … seeking to include everyone …
because Jesus’ love includes everyone. … We need to make room for others.
Jesus is the truth because, … all we can really depend on, … everything that has
meaning for our lives … is blessed by Him. … Love is to motivate us.
Therese of Lisieux (last quarter of the 1800’s) said; … “through love alone can we
be pleasing to God, and my sole ambition is to acquire it.”
The “Way” is not about waiting for the time we check in to our reservation in that
“mansion just over the hilltop.” … The “Way” is about doing what Jesus had been
doing in our life today … and we are assured that we will do greater things.
Jesus’ ministry was a short three years or so and covered very little territory.
We are able to do much more. … We are to do what Jesus did: … feed the hungry,
… welcome the lost, … heal the sick, … lift up the oppressed.
This text is not about life after death … but about life in relationship with the One
who died for us.
This passage is about our life here and now, … seeking answers to those big
questions of life: …
“Will our lives make sense?
Will there be substance to them now?
Will life be absurd and pointless?
What is the meaning of it all?
What is to be believed?
What is it we must do now to go forward with our lives?” (Grant Gallup)

Other than the Bible, …Jesus does not give us a how-to manual of life … but He
does assure us that He will be with us, … that He is the way, the truth and the life.
The American poet W.H. Auden wrote: …
He is the Way.
Follow Him through the Land of Unlikeness;
You will see rare beasts, and have unique adventures.
He is the Truth.
Seek Him in the Kingdom of Anxiety;
You will come to a great city that has expected your return for years.
He is the Life.
Love Him in the World of the Flesh;
And at your marriage all its occasions shall dance for joy.
“I am the Way the Truth and the Life”.
Jesus says and we are invited to continue on the journey, … not knowing what the
journey may hold … but only that Jesus goes with us … and that is enough.
Happy Easter: … His death; … His resurrection; … your life; … your eternity!
AMEN