Readings: John 20:19-31
To quote from a book by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch,
“There’s no way around the fact that our actions…do actually speak much louder than our words. There are clear nonverbal messages being emitted by our lives all the time. We are faced with the sobering fact that we actually are our messages.
Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher, called this 'existence-communication' by which he meant that our lives—our very existence—is our communication. Your existence as an authentic human being communicates more than what you say or even what you think.”
Who we are as real people, real groups, and real organizations, communicate what we believe about the message of God incarnate in Jesus Christ for the sake of the world.
One trap that we as the church can fall into is the same as the disciples in John’s gospel. We find them behind closed doors.
Afraid of the world around them, they hope to stay safe and isolated, keeping quiet about what Jesus was up to in the world, for fear of…any number of things.
Too often, “Church,” “religion,” “Christianity,” all stay here—on Sunday Morning, as if behind closed, locked doors. Outside the doors are realities that occupy most of our time—economic, political, social realities. These are places that sharing the message with which we’ve been entrusted is difficult. And yet, these are precisely the places where Jesus is most intending to be.
We need to come together behind the doors from time to time. When we do, Christ meets us as he did his disciples that Easter night, saying “peace be with you.” And he reminds us that, “as the Father has sent me, so I send you.” We are sent, to be Jesus’ body in the world—participating in God’s mission of loving, saving and blessing the world—through all the things we do each day. Lutherans call this “vocation,” Kierkegaard called it “existence-communion.”
Through baptism into Christ, you have received none other than the Holy Spirit, just as the disciples in the gospel lesson this week. You are messengers, apostles, wherever you are. Your life, empowered by the Holy Spirit, becomes the message of God’ mission to love, save, and bless the world in the name of Christ.
Only by the grace of God, that we receive and remember around the baptismal font,
Only by the gift and power of the Holy Spirit which we received at baptism,
Only with the presence of Christ who nourishes us with his own body and blood at the Holy Supper,
and Only together, with the support of one another…
Do we find the strength to live out our apostleship and to become the message of God’s love for the world.
When we do what we do—in Christ’s name—we become his message. Your life, your existence, is proclamation. You are the message.
We are apostles, sent with the Holy Spirit, to follow Jesus in the world where he is loving, saving, and blessing all in need.
Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!