Sermon Archives

Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Wednesday in Holy Week (Year A)
The Reverend Vicki Hesse, Associate
Now. Now. Now.

In the Name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Today’s reading offers this sense of urgency about it.  I could not help but recall hymn 333 from our hymnal, words by Jaroslav Vajda – Now the silence – sometimes sung as a fraction anthem.  This hymn captures the immediacy of Christ’s body broken and poured out for reconciling the whole world to himself.

Now the silence Now the peace Now the empty hands uplifted

Now the kneeling Now the plea Now the Father's arms in welcome
Now the hearing Now the power Now the vessel brimmed for pouring
Now the body Now the blood Now the joyful celebration
Now the wedding Now the songs Now the heart forgiven leaping
Now the Spirit's visitation Now the Son's epiphany Now the Father's blessing
Now Now Now

In today’s gospel, we overhear Jesus:

Now my soul is troubled. Now is the judgment of the world. Now the ruler of the world will be driven out. Now I have come to this hour and now I offer salvation to the whole world. Now I have glorified my father’s name. Now you have heard God’s voice.

In the urgency of this moment, Jesus can face his death because he faced life, “in the beginning.” In the Gospel of John, the emphasis is not on death but on the arc of Jesus’ life – his incarnation.  Now through Jesus death, a community is formed and bound together. Now, Jesus offers reconciliation and permanent relationships between God and God’s people (us!).

Last week, at the Diocesan clergy retreat, we reflected deeply on Howard Thurman’s work.  Thurman was an activist, pastor, professor and spiritual advisor to many in the Civil Rights movement, including MLK.  He is perhaps best known for his 1949 book, Jesus and the Disinherited. In that book, he responds to Gandhi’s question of him, “What is the message of Jesus for those whose backs are against the wall?” Thurman held that the message includes a deep integration of Jesus’ teaching on the transforming power of love in the midst of oppression and the non-violent reconciliation that Jesus offers.

And what does that mean for us?

It means the transforming power of reconciliation in this urgent moment of Jesus and it means we experience love, heartache, empathy, care, concern and compassion for this and every Christian community.  It means we are bound together, now, by his death because we are bound together by his life.

Now in loneliness, Jesus is with you. Now in despair, Jesus holds you together. Now in struggle with family members, Jesus weaves yarns of reconciliation around your family. Now in hopelessness brought on by unemployment, loss of a loved one, failing health, or any number of things, Jesus promises to be with you until the end of the age.

Now we hear the good news of God’s urgency: live life fully. Now we are called to glorify God’s name in our lives, in our relationships, in our care of others. Now, you have the light.  Now, believe in the light. Now, you are children of light.

Now. Now. Now.