Part 2 in our Lenten sermon series “Practicing Christian.”
"Thomas got what everyone else got, a one-on-one with Jesus. And this is a tremendous truth about our faith. It is about relationship. It is about deep and abiding presence with God. I can’t have faith based on your encounter. But also, I cannot have an encounter without hearing your testimony about experiencing God."
"Easter is an interesting day for people like me, people who hold leadership roles in faith communities. Easter is a day where all sorts of different people show up. At so many different places in their lives and relationship to faith, to spirituality. It’s a once-or-twice-a-year opportunity. So I thought I’d make the most of it, and rather than preaching a single sermon for you today, I thought I’d kick it up a notch. I figured I’d preach three sermons for you today instead."
"When you think of the phrase “to save the world” what do you think of? Jesus’ contemporaries hoped for the overthrow of their Roman oppressors. We picture the overthrow of communism (or capitalism), or something called “radical Islam.” Terrorists foiled before they can set off the nuke. Or the bad guys get beat and peace, truth, justice and democracy are restored and reign forever. Chemical weapons and airstrikes. This is the strangeness of this story that we who hear this story year after year seem to miss. Jesus doesn’t accomplish anything like that at all. The crowd calls out to Jesus “Lord save.” Jesus suffers. Jesus calls out to the crowd “I’m thirsty.” Then he dies."
"If only there were a God, or a God who cared, then we would be spared our suffering. Then the world would be spared its suffering. This is probably why Easter Sunday services are always more popular than Good Friday. Why we prefer upbeat gospel hymns to depressing dirges in the minor key. Because so much of our spirituality is built around doing our best to avoid suffering, sin and pain, that when we actually face suffering then none of it seems to make sense."
One of the things about following Jesus, and life with the Living God, means that everything about who we are and everything we have done is known. Even the stuff when no one is looking and when nobody finds out. Everything. The light shines everywhere.