Sermons 2006
"Sir, we would see Jesus!" Lent 5B, 2 April 2006, John 12:20-33

Home | "Light and Darkness", Christmas 2C, 31 December 2006, John 1:1-18 | Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2006 | "What then shall we do?", Advent 3C , 17 December 2006, Luke 3:7-18 | "Luke's Gospel", Advent 1C, 3 Dec 2006, Luke 21:25-31 | Which Jesus? Proper 29B 2006, 26 November 2006, John 18:33-37 | Apocalypticism and Fundamentalism, Proper 28B, 19 Nov 2006, Daniel12; Mark 13:14-23 | "The Widow's Mite: All and Everything", Proper 27B, 12 November 2006, Mark 12:38-44 | "The Commandments to love God, Neighbor, One Another" Proper 26B, 5 November 2006, Mark 12:28-34 | "Sight -- and Seeing" Proper 25B, 29 October 2006, Mark 10:46-52 | "Baptism: Overwhelming Washing", Proper 24B, 22 October 2006 Mark 10:35-45 | "God's Transforming Love", Proper 23B, 15 October 2006, Mark 10:17-31 | "Divorce", Proper 22B, 8 February 2006, Mark 10: 2-9 | "Hard Sayings and Sharp Words", Proper 21B, 1 October 2006, Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48 | "First or Last?" Proper 20B, 24 September 2006, Mark 9:30-37 | "Unintended Consequences", Proper 19B, 17 September 2006, Mark 8:27-38 | "Ephphatha! Open up!" Proper 18B, 10 September 2006, Mark 7:31-37 | "Rituals", Proper 17B, 3 September 2006, Deuteronomy 4:1-9; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 | "Choices." Proper 16B, 30 August 2006, Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-25; John 6:60-69 | "Come to the Table." Proper 15B, 20 August 2006, John 6:53-59 | "Do not be afraid." Proper 12B, 30 July 2006, Mark6:45-52 | "General Convention and Jesus' Compassion", Proper 11B, 23 July 2006, Mark 6: 30-44 | "Basics for the Journey", Proper 10B, 16 July 2006, Mark 6:7-13 | "Jesus and Rejection", Proper 9B, 9 July 2006, Mark 6:1-6 | "Trust, Faith, and Belief" Proper 8B, 2 July 2006, Mark 5:22-43 | "Storms, Fear, and Faith" Proper 7B, 25 June 2006, Mark 4:35-41 | Mighty things from Small, Proper 6B, 18 June 2006, Mark 4:26-34 | Trinity, Pentecost 1, 11 June 2006, Exodus 3:1-6; John 3:1-16 | The King Jesus Fire-Baptized Holy Spirit Church, Pentecost , 4 June, Acts 2:1-11; Jn 20:19-23 | "That they may be one" General Convention 2006, Easter 7B 28 May 2006, John 5:9-15 | "Friends, friendship, and love" Easter 6B, 21 May 2006, John 15:9-17 | Mother's Day, two mothers' love!" Easter 5B, 14 April 2006, John 14:15-21 | "Interesting, this Good Shepherd!" Easter 4B, 7 May 2006, John 10:11-16 | "How do you prove you are alive?", Easter 3B, 30 April 2006, Luke 24:36b-48 | "Do you believe because...." Easter 2B, 23 April 2006, John 20:19-31 | "He goes before you to Galilee...." Easter B 2006, 16 April, Mark 16:1-8 | "Journey into darkness", Palm Sunday B, 9 April 2006. Mark 11:1-11, 14:32-15:47 | "Sir, we would see Jesus!" Lent 5B, 2 April 2006, John 12:20-33 | "Miracles and Faith, Ordinary and Not", Lent 4B 2006, 26 March 2006, John 6:4-15 | "Rage, Rampage, and Outrage", Lent 3B, 19 March 2006, John 2: 13-22 | "Images of the Cross", Lent 2B, 12 March 2006, Mark 8:31-38 | "Baptism, Temptation, Redemption," Lent 1B, 5 March 2005, Mark 1:9-13 | Ash Wednesday , 1 March 2006, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 | ""Nanny McPhee' and transfiguration", Epiphany Last B, Mark 9:2-9 | "Jesus, leprosy, and the law of Moses", Epiphany 6B, 12 February 2006, Mark 1:40-45 | "Healing, wholeness, forgiveness, and love", Epiphany 5B, 5 February 2006, Mark 1:29-39 | "Haints, Unclean spirits, and demons" Epiphany 4B, 22 January 2006, Mark 1:21-28 | Epiphany 3B, 22 January 2006, "God's Call -- and Our Response", Mark 1:14-20 | Epiphany 2B, 15 January 2006, "Call and Response", John 1:43-51 | Epiphany 1B, 8 January 2006, "The Baptism of our Lord -- and Ours", Mark 1:7-11 | The Holy Name, 1 January 2006, Luke 2: 15-21

Lent 5B 2006 John 12:20-33

Today’s gospel is in part about transforming events, from old lives to new lives, of wishing to become something more than we are, of seeing what we can become.

It was Passover time in ancient Israel and many people were coming to worship on Mount Zion, in Jerusalem’s glorious Temple. Among them were some Greeks, foreigners, pilgrims in the land. They approached Philip, one of Jesus’ disciples, and made a request of him: “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

Philip went to Andrew, and then the two of them go to find Jesus, and they find him. It’s sort of like the childhood games of connect the dots, these connections hook people together into lifelines, pulling them together, weaving them in the circle of discipleship.

It is a pattern, a design, an embroidery, a tapestry of life, the way of life for those who call themselves Christians, those who belong to the company of Jesus. We need each other in order to see Jesus, to be saved. Jesus comes to us through others, through the lifelines, the threads of the embroidery, the pieces of the tapestry of the lives of everyone in our communities.

Take a small piece of embroidery, for example. When I was little, I had a widowed great aunt who used to sew a great deal. Aunt Eula was also my Sunday School teacher and often my babysitter as well. Perhaps because she thought I needed a great deal of extra instruction in these things – and she may well have been right – she used every opportunity to teach me about Jesus and God and all manner of holy and sacred things.

One day while she was sewing, I was sitting on the floor at her knees. I looked up from the floor and asked what she was doing. She informed me that she was embroidering.

From below the underside of the piece of embroidery on which she was working I watched her work within the boundaries of the little round hoop she held in her hand. Unable as usual to seize the golden moment to remain silent, I said that this embroidery stuff really looked messy from where I was sitting.

Ever a patient soul where I was concerned, she smiled at me, looked down and said in her quiet sweet way, “Child, if you will just go play for a little while longer, when I am finished with what you think is a mess, I’ll put you up in my lap and you can see it from my side, from above.”

And when I climbed up there, I was thrilled, delighted, and entranced to see a beautiful flower glowing on the white background. I couldn’t believe it, because it had looked so messy from underneath.

Then Aunt Eula said something I’ve never forgotten. She said, “From underneath it did look messy and jumbled. You couldn’t see the design, and that each thread had its place in the whole. And when you look at it from above you can see and understand.”

This wise and sweet woman was named Eula: the shortened version of the Greek for one who is devout, pious, full of reverence for God.

And, of course, we can’t always see the design, the plan, the threads that bind us into the circle of discipleship and Christian communities of worship, love, and service.

The Greeks came and said to Philip, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” We – all of us – wish to see Jesus. We wish to see Jesus in ourselves, we wish to see Jesus in each other, we wish to see Jesus in all others. There are others who are trying to see Jesus in us, trying to get to Jesus through us, just as the Greeks came to Philip and then through Andrew and on to Jesus. We are lifelines made strong by the threads of the tapestries of our lives and communities.

In her book entitled Operating Instructions, Anne Lamott, an African American, wrote something like this:

“Last night I decided that it is totally nuts to believe in Christ, that it is every bit as crazy as being a Scientologist or Jehovah’s Witness. But a wise priest friend observed, “Scientologists and Jehovah’s Witnesses are crazier than they have to be.”

“Then something truly amazing happened. A man from church showed up at our front door, smiling and waving to me and my baby, Sam. He is a white man named Gordon, fiftyish, wealthy, married to an equally successful professional.
”After exchanging pleasantries, he said, “Margaret and I wanted to do something for you and the baby. So what I want to ask is this: what if a fairy godmother appeared on your doorstep and said that she would do any favor for you at all, anything you wanted around the house that you felt too exhausted to do by yourself and too ashamed to ask anyone else to help you with.

“I can’t even say, “ I replied. “It’s too horrible.”
“But he finally convinced me to tell him, and I said it would be to clean the bath room.

“He ended up spending over an hour scrubbing the bathtub and toilet and sink with Ajax and hot water and washing the walls and mirror and door and mopping the floor with soap and hot water. And he didn’t leave a mess.

“I sat on the couch while he worked, watching television and feeling vaguely guilty and nursing Sam to sleep. But it made me feel sure of Christ again, of that kind of love. This, a man scrubbing a new mother’s bathtub, is what Jesus means to me. As my wise priest friend also said, “Spare me the earnest Christians, who talk the talk, but don’t walk the way of the Cross, the road of the pilgrim disciple.”

Being a disciple and servant is a full time job – and often messy. It is a vocation that is to be threaded, embroidered in daily stitches through the tapestries of our lives, through everything else that we plan on doing. The covenant with the Lord asks that we be known as, that we be with all the being we have, the people of God.


Wicomico Parish Church
PO Box 70
Wicomico Church, Virginia 22579