May 10, 2020
Fifth Sunday of Easter
Dear Believers in the Risen Christ,
Even though I know in my mind I belong to God, my heart is often troubled. My heart is often like a swinging door, welcoming God on one day and then keeping God out on others. A troubled heart is a mark of being human. There is no one answer that will finally convince the human heart to stop worrying or questioning or pondering its place in life.
Jesus understands the fickleness of human experience. He experienced Peter’s denial. That denial must have broken Jesus’ heart. He witnessed Judas betray him. Jesus felt deeply the lukewarm commitments of his disciples. Our capacity to sit up straight in the glow of God’s love for us is never easy. The troubled heart on many days wins when we believe the flimsy stories we tell ourselves, that we do not belong, that we are unlovable or that we do not have a suitable place in center of God’s heart.
Our troubled hearts beat a common drum of despair and loneliness in these COVID-19 days. Our restlessness causes us to lash out at others and to become suspicious of others wearing masks, especially African American men or people without homes walking down the streets. People who are already broken bear the brunt of our despair, our brothers in large prisons and our fathers in nursing homes. When our hearts are troubled, we tend to view the world with nasty judgments and snarly suspicions and then our fear snakes it way into life one more time.
In John 14: 1-12, Jesus is inviting every troubled heart to understand that he reveals only love and kindness. He even has a place for us, for you and for me, in eternal life. A dwelling that will be forever. A dwelling of love and healing and a new understanding that death gives way to life. A dwelling where fear melts away and unity and communion become real. Jesus tells us one more time in this Easter season that only he is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Our hearts are restless until that message finally makes a home within us. We are slow learners where our hearts are concerned.
However, Jesus’ promise is not just about life after death. Because of his Resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit, our present life contains his eternal life. In other words, eternal life is NOW. We belong to him no matter how troubled we are and no matter how our stubbornness gets in the way. Eternal life is for us who believe. If this is real, then we are to live here on earth the hope of heaven.
Heaven is pure unity; then we are to seek unity and communion among all the divisions of his world. Heaven is sure food and full satisfaction; then we are to seek out those who are starving for food and love. Hope and good will be here in our neighborhood when we reflect heaven on earth. Heaven is pure love: then we are to seek out the lost and forgotten and those whose lives are not seen as having value.
The Easter message of Eternal Life is balm for our troubled hearts. Eternity also begins today as we strive to welcome the lost and the sinner. Eternal life wells up in our hearts washing away our troubles. This is Easter. This is the work of the Father. This is hope for our world and the pleasures of the human heart.
Jesus said to him, “ I am the way, the truth and the life.”
God give you peace,