An Example of a Sunday Sermon

John 14:23-29 Peace

Suppose you are under somebody’s command. How firm a bond is that? How far in does it reach into your heart beyond the mind’s sense of duty? How important is being under somebody’s command to who you are? I think I am under my own command, and I determine who I am. Then I see how I am dancing and feinting, speaking without knowing what it means to somebody else, doing the rules,  driving on the right side and not stealing figs, and getting the garbage out to the curb. And the hair cut, and so on. Looks like the whole network is in command. And I don’t know who I am apart from that network of all that we feel, and know, and do together. Or, we are the world. No one is self-made.

Under command – consider, the greatest commitment of men in battle is not to the command, to the nation, to killing. The greatest commitment is to sustaining a bond of life with the man fighting beside you. The bond of life is the network that is very firm on both sides of the battle. So if there is a commandment that goes deep, it must serve the bond of life. And to command and do what serves the bond of life unites and liberates rather than masks the heart. If the bond of life is God embodied in each person what would the commands be? The commands define actions that reveal the bond of life – God embodied in each person. And if that is the way to scene is played, by persons of that potency, what kind of scene would it be? And how do we get that potency – what the Church is rumored to run on?

Now Jesus is giving his disciples a command that has to do with revealing him to the world. And to do that command requires that each apostle be aware that their life and identity flows out of the resurrection presence of Jesus.  That sounds pretty hard to realize on my own, like where do I start? Because we are to distracted thinking,”I am in charge of my life.” to understand the mission or how to do it. But the answer is very simple: “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” Step one is to love Jesus. And step two is that you simply, naturally begin to have power and decision to do what he has commanded, to do the desire of your heart. As Denzel says to the bad cop, “Do the right thing, ‘cause you know what that is.” If you love Jesus you will know what the right thing is and want to do it. Of course it helps some to know that he loves you more and better. That’s a fine thought.

And then what? Got takes a look. Looks like a good place to tabernacle, this person who loves Jesus, and God says to His Son, “I love that child of mine who loves you, so let’s go sleep on her floor and eat of her fare, and fill the house with glory.” Like that. Yes, yes, good, but one little problem – how to get started? That means, if we are going to love Jesus, he is going to have to help us. Because he is telling his disciples he is going away where they cannot come now, going to die in obedience to the Father’s will. That seems like a grievous dead end to them. They don’t know of themselves that he will die in a horror of torture so that he may help them love him as he loves them. Because, bottom line, Jesus is under command. Love, Eternal, Divine Life, commands him. He has to help us know the love that commands him is life itself, and the creative bond of all life, To realize that as the truth of whom I am empowers me to love as Jesus loves.

Yes,  and a very simple answer about how to get started: “The Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, shall teach you all things, and you will remember all that I have said to you.” Send “in the name of Jesus” – that is, the Holy Spirit manifests in the form of Jesus. And then there is a teaching, like this, from a man who lives the God union of resurrection life in the Spirit: “That which was of the eternal glory that is the Alpha and the Omega of all, we have heard, we have seen with our eyes, we have looked upon, and our hands have touched, the Word that unites all life with God. The Life was revealed – we have seen and give witness, and reveal to you that eternal life which is one in the Father and in us. What we have seen and heard we say to you that you may be of one household with us, for, truly, we are of the fellowship of the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ. And this is the message which the Spirit has given us in his name: God is light, and in God there is no darkness at all. If we walk in the light as He is light, we are one together, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, washes us free of all that obscures the light in us.” That is a report of a teaching by the Holy Spirit in the Name of Jesus. And the report is given by the Apostle John because the Holy Spirit has revealed Jesus to him, and most essentially, has ignited an ever Spirit-fueled torch of love for Jesus in his heart and his mind speaks that truth. That is, we have to be helped to love Jesus – we are loving the one who is helping us love him. And if we see him it is because he gives us eyes to see. Recall beggar Timaeus who heard Jesus say, “What may I do for you?” And Timaeus said, “Son of David, I want to see your face.” And Jesus restores his sight, and the first thing he sees is the face of Jesus, and the world around that face is a immense and unbounded. And there is a twinkle in the eye of Jesus, and a kind of mystic transmission, “Yeah, just like coming through death.” Holy Spirit set up, Holy Spirit revelation, and then, Timeaus lines himself out with the crowd and follows the beloved. Begging is no problem for him.

Well, as the story goes, Jesus says to his disciples, “If you loved me you would rejoice because I said, ‘I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.’” They don’t love him. So they are going to be troubled when the law comes and the blood runs. If they loved him it would make sense to them that Jesus is going to the Father, going to be glorified, going to fullness as the Son of God of one being with the Father, who is the never beginning, all fullness of light that is life of all. If you love Jesus, really tapped into his knowing of himself, you will rejoice in his going through the baptism of death to union of glory that was before the world began. If there is no love for Jesus, his death is a horror of offense and terror of association. For in right religion he is criminal for healing on Saturday, eating with street walkers and street sweepers, casting twelve hundred demons out of a gentile maniac and thus drowning 200 pigs – all that and more, ruining grocery business about by feeding 10,000 people from a single box lunch – criminal behavior. Trouble for the disciples, who are between the law and the prophet, and have serous vulnerabilities with each. So Jesus says, “Don’t be troubled or afraid. It will be a rough time until the Holy Spirit comes, and then my words will come to mind, and you will do them as expressions of my love. So in the meantime, I give you a gift of shalom, peace – a cool, quiet place within, assurance that you will be ready to receive the power and the glory I unleash through you to the world. I give a gift of peace, the abiding feel of eternal life. The best the world can give is cessation of violence commonly the aftermath of mass murder. I am giving you a bond of peace with my Spirit, Jesus means, that you may know the journey is in me and by me, and for you to bring my SHALOM, to the world. And then the parting word, that helps us to hear and understand all the rest: “Love one another as I love you, that the world may know that I love the Father, since all you see me do the Father has commanded. Now get up. Let’s go.”

Amen.