Sermon by Deacon Reese Wiggins on March 29.
Have you ever been there ?.…perhaps seen it in your own mind’s eye ? I’m speaking of that place where you stand right on the edge of that cliff between life and death… and peer down into that abyss ?
Have you ever sat stunned in disbelief …at the news that someone you cared for …had met a sudden or untimely death… and you want to cry out to God… “Lord…where were you ??!!!” Perhaps we may be asking that question now…if only for a fleeting moment… in the midst of this pandemic as it tries to threaten the life we know and everybody we love.
In our very long but powerful Gospel story today…this 5th Sunday of Lent.. we hear Martha and Mary tell Jesus, that their brother and his friend, Lazarus...has died…and has been dead for four days.
During these fearful times we are currently living through…it would not be hard for us to imagine ourselves … kneeling in front of Jesus next to Mary and repeating those very words of faith… and … disappointment... ”Lord…If you had only been here…”
Grief… anxiety… loss of faith… fear of the unknown…are but just a few of the conditions that have a way of binding us up… and putting us in our private imaginary tombs of despair. And when we find ourselves there… as faithful people …we want…. dare I say expect…. our God to show up…to be there for us… to protect us… to rescue us… to resurrect us, if need be. Isn’t that the way it is supposed to work ??
Perhaps it is a good time for us to remember… what Jesus taught us about His Father… our Father… and our God. And that is…. that our God is Spirit and our God is love.
It is only with God’s love that we will find our help… our healing and our way through this dark time. The good news is …that God always has someone among us… that can make that happen for us. There is already someone here to care for our physical and emotional needs…someone to rescue us when we need it. We already have someone among us… that will work to protect us from harm…. and make the sacrifices needed to get us through these fearful times. Why there is even someone… to develop cures for our diseases.
That someone… is us.
Because that is the way our God watches over us and gets us through hard days…fearful nights…and restless hearts. That is the way our God brings us to a place of peace … and hopeful assurance that His love is always with us and will never leave us. It is WE …who are the messengers and instruments of the love that will save us…the love that is our God and Father. How else can it possibly be ?? How else can the Spirit work ?? And how else can God’s love always find a way to overcome our problems and fears…if it does not come through us… to each other.
As we move forward to Easter in these unsure and scary times… many of us find ourselves bound up in anxiety and worry… about what is still yet to come and how long it all is going last. We all look forward to being unbound and set free from our anxieties.
Be assured that God continues to offer our parish family comfort… hope and healing…through the prayers and leadership provided by our priests… and our amazing, hard working staff. God's love is working hard through them to bring St. Luke’s into your home and heart… during this time of isolation from one another and our normal church life.
While we cannot yet bring comfort and reassurance to one another face to face…it is a good time to use one of these pesky little things to help us do God’s work among one another. Imagine that….
Finally…I know there is so much information and so many voices coming at us from so many directions. As always…some want to scare us … and some want to mis-lead us… some want to help us.
My counsel is that we always follow the words and the ways of love… God is love. And as long as we are following love… it will never fail to guide us in the direction we need to go.
Please be safe and assured of our love and support. AMEN