Homily: May 3, 2015
FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR B; Rev. Phil Boelter, Vicar God is love.
These three words from our second reading
were penned by the Apostle John
toward the end of his life
when he was elderly, in his late 80s.
Jesus had been gone for years-
and John was the last Apostle left standing.
All the others- dead and gone.
At the far end of his life
when he had distilled all his thoughts
his experiences and his theology
it came down to these three words,
God is love.
To understand them let's go back at least
60 years to the fateful night before Jesus died.
At that Passover table in the Upper Room
where Jesus gathered with his friends that night,
this same John, then the youngest disciple,
probably a teenager,
was right next to Jesus.... .....Right beside to Jesus
waaay inside his comfort zone.
It's how dinner parties
were done in the ancient Middle East.
It's still done that way in many parts of the world.
No high tables.
No straight back chairs in perfect rows.
Instead, everyone reclined at a single low table together
The diners all reclined on cushions around it-
feet back- body forward.
And John was right there...in the place closest to Jesus,
reclining on Jesus' chest.
As John himself says in our second reading
"no one has ever seen God."
there that night
young John dined with Jesus
leaned on Jesus
learned from Jesus,
looked up from about 18 inches away
as Jesus first broke the crusty bread
and raised the wine red cup.
And there God was WITH John.
John saw God. and that God is love.
Sixty years later
John was still pondering that dinner party,
the night he reclined on Jesus chest.
That bread and that cup said to John
over and over "God is love."
Just think of all the thousands of times
John the Apostle sat at table,
took part in communion,
....and decades later he is still pondering what it means.
We call this Table
and our eating and drinking together here
by a variety of names...
Holy Communion…… Eucharist
the Sacrament of the Altar….. the Lord's Supper.
But you know what it was first called
by those first followers of Jesus' Way?
It was called the Agape, the Love Feast.
Every week Every Sunday,
every day, every moment,
we need to be reminded,
God is with us, God is love.
This Table is the visual touchable
version of John's three words:
God is love.
we may feel alone, threatened,
Many of us feel as if we need something better,
But here we gather
And seeking, we find
That something more,
Whose very name is Love.
During our quiet time following the sermon ponder this:
whether you are coming here for the first time
or you've been at this table
since before most of us were born:
What do you feel at this table?
Do you know that God is with you?
Do you understand and experience that God is love?
In the name of the One who sets this Table,
In the name of one whose Name is Love.