The Life, Truth and Way in the darkest of times

This can be listened to here

Gate Pa – Year A: 5th Sunday of Easter,

Psalm                          Psalm: 31:1-5, 15-16              
First Reading:                         Acts 7:55-60                           
Second Reading:        1 Peter 2:2-10            
Gospel:                        John 14:1-14
What I want to say:
what do these words offered to disciples in depths of grief and impending hopelessness offer us?
It is Easter – what is that about
what might Jesus being “the way, the truth and life” mean for us in this season

What I want to happen:
people to live the way the truth and the life

The Sermon

       1.     Introduction:

the words heard this morning were spoken as words of hope in the midst of that darkness
so to help us hear these words in this context
            hear what they might offer us as an Easter people
invite you to spend moment thinking about (or sharing) about time loss and grief
like share with your neighbour

       2.     John’s words

invite you to hold those thoughts and feelings and to listen to Jesus words speaks to this loss and grief
“   1 "Don't let this throw you. You trust God, don't you? Trust me. 2 There is plenty of room for you in my Father's home. If that weren't so, would I have told you that I'm on my way to get a room ready for you? 3 And if I'm on my way to get your room ready, I'll come back and get you so you can live where I live. 4 And you already know the road I'm taking."
   6 "I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. 7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You've even seen him!"
“Don't you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you aren't mere words. I don't just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word into a divine act.
   11 "Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can't believe that, believe what you see—these works. 12 The person who trusts me will not only do what I'm doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I've been doing. You can count on it. 13 From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I'll do it. That's how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. 14 Whatever you request in this way, I'll do. 
what does Jesus offer us in these words?
where is hope? where is resurrection?

       3.     Way, Truth and Life

Todays passage contains one sayings that some of us struggle with
where Jesus says he is the way, the truth and the life and no-one comes to the Father except through him
sounds like if you don’t believe Jesus is way, truth and life – you’re out.
No access to God
è sometimes understood to mean that only Christians will get into heaven
è feels very judgemental and exclusionary.
used to say that unless you accept that Jesus is the only way to God
unless believe the right truths about Jesus and God
you are not going to enter into life after death with God
just doesn’t seem to fit with other things that Jesus says in Johns gospel

       4.     Problems

want to suggest that there is a problem with this
1.     this assumes the point of Christianity is to get into heaven
spoken about this before
using people like NT Wright suggested
point Christianity from the biblical point of view
is not so much about getting into heaven
however we understand that
but about the fulfilment of God’s promise or covenant to creation and all humanity
that all would be renewed through people of Israel
            blessed to be a blessing.
As Jesus teaches in his prayer
“Our Father in Heaven
Hallowed be your name
Your kingdom come on earth
as it is in heaven.”
Point of Christianity is so that God’s kingdom or reign will come on earth as in heaven
not that we can get off earth into heaven.
so that’s the first problem
Jesus being the way, truth and life is not about the way into heaven
but the way God is renewing creation and offering life and hope to all people.

        5.      Conclusion – followers of the way.

what does it mean for Jesus to be the way, truth and life?
what does it mean for us who are offered words of hope and encouragement
as we continue to work out what it means to live resurrected life?
as we continue to live out
your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven
How might we describe the way of Jesus
or the truth of Jesus
where might we say is the life of Jesus?
The way of Jesus is what he lived everyday and showed in his dealings with people
way of compassion, generosity, mercy, justice, forgiveness, love
            especially to least, the ones pushed to edge of society and treated as nonbeings
then we will know God
no-one comes to God the Father except through God’s way of compassion, generosity, mercy, justice, forgiveness, love
especially to least
maybe this is why first Christians were called – followers of the way.
Jesus the truth is how he lived out truth of God’s on-going and infinite commitment/covenant to this world and all who live in it
no-one comes to God the father except by living out this truth
Jesus the life is invitation to discover that life is found when we live the way of God for all people
Jesus the way, truth and life is not about understanding and believing the right things about Jesus to get to God or to heaven
invitation to live the way Jesus modelled for us
with all our questions and doubts
don’t have to understand it all
don’t really have to understand any of what Jesus story is about
simply invited to join in
and in joining the coming of God’s reign on earth as in heaven
we will know God
we will know ourselves as well.