Homily: April 10, 2016

April 10, 2016, YEAR C; Rev. Phil Boelter, Vicar

The last chapter of John’s gospel-

which we just heard

appears be a mish mash of stories

about the crucified and risen Jesus.

 

First, Jesus acts as a fishing guide

to some down on their luck fishermen.

 

Then he becomes the short order cook,

preparing breakfast for them,

after their long night on the Sea of Galilee.

 

Finally, Christ challenges the Apostle Peter

Who denied him three times

Three times- to return to his vocation of feeding and leading Christ’s flock

 

What all of these stories tell me is

each person encounters the Crucified and Risen Christ in his or her own way.

 

In each situation,

Christ welcomes the encounter.

 

Bottom line:

there is no one “right way” to experience this risen Christ.

 

Some of us encounter Christ through traditional religion,

others through close family ties,

some through intellectual study,

others through silence and centering prayer,

some through service to others.

 

But there is a common thread in all these experiences=

We find it laid out in our second reading today.

 

Fast forward several years after Jesus rose and ascended-

To Paul’s account of his conversion in the book of Acts.

 

The Christians have been under persecution by the young Pharisee leader Saul

until one day on a dusty road outside of Damascus,

Saul takes a header off of his horse

And has a vision of the Crucified and Risen Christ.

 

And Saul’s life would never again be the same-

 

He went from muttering curses against Christians and persecuting them

To being one of the greatest supporters of Jesus who ever lived.

 

Jesus welcomed Saul,

one might even say pursued him,

in spite of Saul’s hatred of Christ and persecution of Christians.

 

Lesson learned:

the Risen Christ always,

always

always,

extends hospitable hands of welcome.

 

Whether it be in guidance for fishing,

cooking a hot breakfast,

encouraging the faint hearted,

or holding out open arms for someone who persecutes and hates him

 

In each and every case

we see the Risen Christ-

reaching out to

and respecting the dignity of everyone he interacts with.

 

God calls us to do the same.

 

Famous writer Henri Nouwen describes such hospitality

in his beautiful book The Wounded Healer.

 

“Its a central attitude of the one who wants to make

his or her own wounded condition available to others

as a source of healing."

 

Being real with others

and opening up our homes and lives with others

can actually help heal other’s' hurts.

 

Nouwen writes further:

 

"the imitation of Christ

does not mean to live a life like Christ,

but to live your life as authentically as Christ lived his.

 

When that happens there are many ways and forms in which we can be Christian."

 

We all have our own hospitality style.

The question is, are we living a hospitable life?

 

It’s not so much what we do that is important,

but that we do it and how we treat others.

 

"This hospitality … only requires that we allow others to enter our life,

come close to us ,

and ask how their lives connect with ours."

 

This is exactly what the Crucified and Risen Christ did in John’s Gospel.

 

This is exactly what we are being called to do

in the last two questions in the baptismal covenant

which we will renew in just a few moments.

 

I’ll ask: Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
You’ll answer: I will, with God's help.
I’ll ask: Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
You’ll answer: I will, with God's help

 

 

Are we willing to share our hurts with those around us?

 

We all have hurts.

I've never met a person who has not been wounded in some way.

 

Every time we allow ourselves to be influenced by another

we take a risk not knowing how they will affect our own life."

 

 

This is the same risk Christ took when he died and rose for us-

The same risk Christ takes with us each and every day-

 

May we live that same risen life of openness and hospitality with others today.

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SermonRev. Phil Boelter