Readings – Acts 17:22-31; Psalm 66:7-18; I Peter 3:13-22; John 14:15-21
Ever since Monday when I began to think about our readings for today, this was the verse that kept popping up —
I will not leave you orphaned [alone]; I am coming to you.John 14: 18
This passage continues our reading from the Farewell Discourse, from the sharing of Jesus with his disciples on his last evening with them before his arrest on Maundy Thursday.
I will not leave you alone; I am coming to you.John 14: 18
So, for me this week the focus has been on how God comes to us. There are so many avenues. Let’s begin with the traditional avenues.
First, God comes to us through Holy Scripture. Until the 19th Century, all reading was done out loud, giving voice to the text. Our eyes, our mouths, our ears, and our minds absorbed the words from the printed page. I have recently started my sermon preparations by reading aloud the collect and the four texts. I then move into reading them silently. I also study the texts with a scholarship from various resources. They serve as my study group, much like the Wednesday morning study group led by John Ranck. Through my attentiveness to Holy Scripture, God re-enters my life day after day.
Second, God comes to us through our gatherings for Holy Thanksgiving, for Holy Eucharist. In the Great Thanksgiving, we remember all that God has done for us.
Then, Christ comes to us in “The Body of Christ, the bread of heaven”, and in “The Blood of Christ, the cup of salvation”. As I participate in that distribution my eyes meet yours as a way of saying – Jesus loves you so much that he gave his life for you!
Third, God comes to us as we serve. Think of acts of kindness that focus on the other, not on what we get in return. Serving at Martha’s Table, serving at Meals for Seals, serving at Meals on Wheels, serving at the Mustard Seed, serving at the Gelnett Library, and at our daily chores, educators, bus drivers, grass cutters, election workers, warehouse inspectors, caregivers for family and friends. When we serve others the one who washed the disciples’ dusty feet is there beside us.
Fourth, at our house is a bird bath, enjoyed by rabbits, squirrels, and birds, and multiple bird feeders. God comes to me as I just sit and quietly observe. God comes as we enjoy our spring surroundings of dogwoods and azaleas, of iris and daises, of sunrises and sunsets. We of Central Pennsylvania are so fortunate to have God come to us in such eye-catching color.
The fifth is particularly evident today as we celebrate the women of our lives. God has come to us through those who mothered each and every one of us. None of them were perfect, but through them, we learned to love and how to receive love. Yes, God comes to us through our mothers. And I would add, God comes to us through many others as we listen to God’s words mingled within our conversations. Today it is easy to think of God’s words mingled with the words of Jim Rogers as Sr. Warden, Property Committee chair, Market Street Festival chair, worship leader, presenter, and dear friend to this congregation and beyond. It is not that unusual for God to come to us through family, through friends, and even from time to time through strangers. As our Prayerbook reminds us, in God:
While at times it may seem easier and safer to wrap our hearts in steel, as we open them to life around us, God, indeed, comes to us, through Holy Scripture and Holy Eucharist, through serving and nature, and through the conversations of our lives.
Like the words on the traditional signs at railroad crossings state:
Stop – Look – Listen
God is coming to us.