St Andrew’s Parish of Indooroopilly
Archdeacon Emeritus Valerie Hoare
Sunday 10 May
Ps 31.1-5, 17-18
1 Peter 2.11-25
John 14: 1-14
In the name of God who creates, redeems, and sustains. Amen.
How are you going in these ‘covelly times?”
As you self-isolate, hibernate at home have you found ways that let you have meaning and purpose in your daily life?
In Holy Week a friend who knows we’re walkers sent us a link to a website ‘Walking 4 Fun which lists over 30 trails that you can virtually walk without the discomfort of leaving home, aircraft travel and pack carrying.
The media overflows with musings around the uncertainty of the future. What does seem sure is that we’re in a time of transition and what I know of the human condition tells me that such times are disquieting and can awaken in us an urge to journey physically, emotionally and spiritually So, on 12 April, Easter Sunday, I began virtually and intentionally to walk the pilgrim way from Saint Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. I’m just over ½ way there, placing my feet in the footsteps in the way pilgrims have walked since the 9th century. Of course, you already know that the early followers of Jesus were known as people of ‘the way.’ In Acts (9:2; 22:4) we hear how Saul had permission to seek out followers of ‘the Way’ to bind them and bring them to Jerusalem to be persecuted, and then how years after his Damascus Road conversion, after he became the disciple to the gentiles, after he came to be known by his Roman name Paul, at his trial in Caesarea, he confessed to Felix the Governor that he worshipped God according to ‘The Way’ (Acts 24:14)
You’re ahead of me, aren’t you?
You’re already hearing Jesus’ voice: I am the way, and the truth and the life. John 14:6 What’s going on here?
Today’s Gospel reading hones in on a time when the disciples are distraught, plunged into a time of transition.
Jesus has just delivered them a double punch.
He’s told them that his hour has come, that he will be glorified (which in Evangelist John’s world of mystical poetic vision means he will be crucified), and if that wasn’t enough the catalyst will be when one of these from these his closest group of friends will betray him.
It will be one of them whose feet he has just washed, and it’s not just one of them who will betray him – another will deny knowledge of him not once, but three times, and finally most of them will desert him in his hour of need.
It sure highlights the faith and courage of Stephen that we heard in our 1st reading from Acts (7:55- 60).
Do you remember when you first heard about the pandemic sweeping the world – the predictions of death, the expectation that we would be facing deep grief as family, friends, colleagues, human beings all fell prey to the invisible virus.
We faced, indeed still face, our vulnerability and our mortality
Maybe that helps us have some sense of the disciples’ emotions.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.
Today’s text doesn’t have Jesus deliver them a lecture on atonement, redemption and salvation, extending their knowledge and theological understanding, he’s not geeing them up for the next stage of mission action planning– rather we hear Jesus caring deeply, consoling, connecting intimately with his disciples, his children, his friends.
True to revealed character Thomas and Philip want the co-ordinates. They want the overview, the key strategic points, performance indicators and review dates. They want certainty and understanding.
And how does Jesus respond:
Not with the WHY, but the WHO – the one who loves them, the one who makes clear the Father’s love.
Not answers, but relationship.
Calmly, compassionately, lovingly he gives himself.
I hear his voice gentle, kind, tender hearted.
I see him looking at them lovingly – the heart of God shining through eyes of loving longing You already know the way.
It’s the way we’ve been travelling,
The truth we’ve been learning,
The life we’ve been living.
As I’ve walked with you, you’ve been part of my way of living – it’s different, I give myself to others, I embrace others not exclude them, I build people up rather than undermine or exclude them by my words, actions or attitudes.
I’ve even given you a new commandment, Love one another, as I have loved you, so you are to love one another. Just keep doing this. I’ll be with you, because I am the way, the truth and the life.
More than a guide, or trainer, or mentor. I am the way.
Keep listening to me, says Jesus, following my instructions, walking in the way and I’ll be with you, even closer than I have been up till now because I will live in you and you will live in me. You will be my body, my hands and feet, my word, my heart for a world that heeds healing, justice and good news.
Hold your nerve, follow the way.
It’s taken me 4 weeks to walk ½ of the Camino so I imagine, all being well, I’ll be at Santiago around Trinity Sunday – the first Sunday in June.
Walking is simple – like Dory in Finding Nemo who just keeps on swimming – all I have to do is just keep walking. Tying my shoe laces each morning, leaving the house, putting down one foot after another. Recognising and accepting the aches and pains, the boredom and doubts, welcoming the moments of transcendence, of peace, of shalom when my soul sings to the rhythms of creation –
I encourage you in your commitment to The Way.
Seek to build your relationship with Jesus – read his words, listen, hear his voice speaking in your ears; spend time quietly in his presence, welcoming him in your life; be his hands, his feet his heart as find meaning and purpose as you deepen your relationship with Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life. Amen