Jesus is the Way (to follow)

My sermon from today:

[Here’s the video of the sermon, as part of the service.]

TEXT:  John 14:1-14
TITLE:  “Untroubled Hearts”
THESIS: Trust God, stay in God’s love, follow the way of Jesus.

Introduction

  • Today is Mother’s Day – an unusual day for it, of course, because we are not able to gather in person to give flowers and hugs and smiles – not in church, not even in our extended families. It is a bittersweet day.
  • “Bittersweet” can describe the life experience for many mothers. Children can give great joy and great sadness – times of delight and frustration and grief. – And women, whether mothers or not, intuitively sense those deeper levels of life – joy and delight … sadness, frustration, and grief at so many levels.
  • So today’s opening line in the scripture is for mothers, for women – but for all of us …. Do not let your hearts be troubled.
  • How can we live with untroubled hearts? I’m sure it is not my experience of life right now because there is so much trouble in the world. … But let’s look at the scripture and listen to what God wants to say to us.

Scripture

  • It’s in that upper room the night before Jesus died, and he is saying goodbye to his disciples. They don’t understand yet, but they know “something bad” is about to happen. After only 3 years with Jesus, they don’t want him to leave – whatever he means by that. ….
  • With confusion, anxiety, fear in their hearts, they hear Jesus say: Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust God; trust me. – Trust is one essential key to “untroubled hearts.” We don’t know what’s coming, but God does. And God will be with us on the journey – bringing us through the flood and the fire, as Isaiah says. Through the sea, as with Moses – and through the desert, as in the return from exile. The stories of how God stayed with the people and brought them through the worst of times give us trust for today, so our hearts might find peace.
  • Then Jesus talks about going to prepare a place in “the Father’s house with many rooms.” … We most often hear these words in a time of death when someone “has gone before us” – to “heaven.” Yet Jesus’ words surely mean more than this, for God is Spirit and does not live in a place called heaven, but is everywhere. … Perhaps these words mean that there is room for everyone where God is, for God is in the midst of all creation. And God’s self-giving love seen in Jesus’ death on the cross is perhaps what Jesus means when he says: I go to prepare a place for you – a place in the all-inclusive love of God which see us through everything.
  • When Jesus says, I am the way, the truth, and the life¸- what does he mean? He does not say, “If you believe the doctrines about me” or “If you pray the sinner’s prayer” … then you will go to heaven when you die. … What he says is, I AM THE WAY. If you know me, you know God. If you follow my ways – my actions and words – you will follow God’s ways. You will be on the right path, the right journey – and God will always be with you. You can trust that. … So don’t let your hearts be troubled.
  • Then Jesus goes on to talk about this life – you will do greater works …. Ask me for whatever you need – and trust me to do it. … At the beginning of the Church, those who followed Jesus were “people of the Way.” Following the way of Jesus was what it meant to be a Christian – and still does.

Conclusion

  • The world faces challenges it has not faced since before I was born, in some ways, for 100 years. How will we face it all with “untroubled hearts.”
  • People starving to death could double during this pandemic, one headline read. – Another said that Medicaid will be cut significantly because states don’t have the money, so not only the poor but so many who are now out of work will suffer. – A black man gunned down for no reason – People marching in the streets with Nazi and Confederate flags and armed for war – People saying older people might need to die so the economy can open up again … How do we face it all with untroubled hearts?
    • Trust God – trust Jesus – who will be with us
    • Know that God’s love is available for all (and God “suffers” with us in the midst)
    • Follow the way of Jesus, and he will give us what we need for the journey
  • There is no “easy” path in life, without troubles – but Jesus said: My yoke is easy, my burden is light. Trust God. Be at peace in God’s love. And follow the way of Jesus. – And let not your hearts be troubled.

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