Sermons 2008

Come and See! Epiphany 2A, 20 January 2008, John 1: 29-42

Home | Light and Love, Christmas 1B , 28 December 2008, John 1:1-18 | The light and the darkness, Christmas Day, 25 December 2008, John 1:1-14 | What would you see? Christmas Eve, 24 December 2008, Luke 2:1-20 | What did you say? Advent 3B, 14 December 2008, John 1:6-8. 19-28 | A refining fire, Advent 2B, 7 Dec 2008, Mark 1:1-8 | Alert, alert! Advent 1B, 30 November 2008, Mark 13:24-37 | Where will we stand: sheep or goats? Proper 29A 2008, 23 November 2008, Matthew 25: 31-46 | The talents to...? Proper 28A, 16 November 2008, Matthew 25:14-30 | Choose this day, Proper 27A, 9 November 2008, Joshua 24:14-25; Matthew 25:1-13 | All Saints A, 2 November 2008, Matthew 5:1-12; 23:1-12 | Holy or not? Proper 25A, 26 October 2008, Matthew 22:34-46 | Things: God's or Caesar's? Proper 24A, 19 October 2008, Matthew 22:15-22 | The wedding and the allegory, Proper 23A, 12 October 2008, Matthew 22:1-14 | The vineyard and the rock, Proper 22A. 5 October 2008, Matthew 21:33-46 | Deference and disobedience, Proper 21A, 28 September 2008, Exodus 17:1-7; Matthew 21:23-32 | Be content, Proper 20A , 21 September 2008, Matthew 20:1-16 | Only one true church? Proper 18A, 7 September 1008, Matthew 18:15-20 | Be content! Proper 20A, 21 September 2008, Matthew 22:1-16 | Be content! Proper 20A, 21 September 2008, Matthew 20:1-16 | Holy Name and Holy Ground, Proper 17A, Exodus 3:1-15; Matthew 16:21-28 | What's in a name? Proper 16A, 24 August 2008, Matthew 16:13-20 | Dogs? Proper 15A, 17 August 2008, Matthew 15:10-28 | Time to get out of the boat, Proper 14A, 10 August 2008, Matthew 14:22-33 | Who, me? Proper 13A, 3 August 2008, Matthew 14:13-21 | LIKE what? Proper 12A, 27 July 2008, Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52 | Good seed, bad seed, Proper 11A , 20 July 2008, Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 | Watch the Farmer, Proper 10A, 13 July 2009, Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 | Easy Yoke? Proper 9A 2008, 6 July 2008, Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 | Baptism of David William and Anne Tyler, Proper 8A, 29 June 2008 | The Twelve or the Dirty Dozen? Proper 6A, 15 June 2008, Matthew 9:35-10:15 | Jesus likes sinners?, Proper 5A, 8 June 2008, Matthew 9:9-13 | Lawlessness or not? Pentecost 3A, Proper 4A, 1 June 2008, Matthew 7:21-29 | What do you mean, if? Easter 6A, 27 April 2008, John 14:15-21 | Comforting words and St Thomas, Easter 5A, 20 April 2008, John 14:1-14 | Ordinary good shepherds, Easter 4A 2008, 13 April 2008, John 10:1-10 | Light for clarity, Easter 3A, 6 April 2008, Luke 24:13-35 | "Blessed are those who....", Easter 2A, 30 March 2008, John 20:19-31 | Hallelujah! He's alive! Easter Sunday A, 23 March 2008, John 20:1-18 | He had it all, Palm Sunday A, 16 March 2008, Matthew 26:14-27:54 | Lazarus: Waiting for Jesus, Lent 5A, 9 March 2008, John 11:1-45 | Miracles Physical and Spiritual, Lent 4A, 2 March 2008, John 9:1-41 | Living Water, Lent 3A, 24 February 2008, John 4:5-42 | God's unselfish love, Lent 2A, 17 February 2008, John 3:1-17 | Temptation, Lent 1A, 10 February 2008 | Ash Wednesday, 6 February 2008, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 | They heard the Lord call, Epiphany 3A, 20 Jan 2008, Matthew 4:12-23 | Come and See! Epiphany 2A, 20 January 2008, John 1: 29-42 | Remember Your Baptism? Epiphany 1A, 13 January 2008, Matthew 3:13-17 | We Three Kings, The Epiphany, 6 January 2008, Matthew 2:1-12

Epiphany 2A 2008 John 1: 29-42

There is a medieval parable, set in a monastery: A novice once went to a spiritual master seeking illumination and guidance. He asked the master, “What action shall I perform to attain God?

And the spiritual master said this: “If you wish to attain God then there are two things you must know. The first is that all efforts to attain the Divine are of no avail.”
“And what is the second?” asked the puzzled novice.
Said the master: “You must act as if you did not know the first.”

In sum, we pray as if everything depended on God, but act as if everything depended on us.

This is the season of Epiphany, the time when the Christ revealed himself. Epiphany is an encounter with THE Revelation that asks for, even demands, a response from us. In this encounter, as it was for Andrew and Simon Peter and eventually for Saint Paul and many others over the centuries -- in this encounter there is not only a “Come and look and see” but also a “Go and tell and do.”

Once Andrew knew Jesus as the Messiah, the Anointed One, Andrew didn’t keep the secret to himself. Andrew went to his brother Simon and telling him the Good News about Jesus. When Simon was not convinced, Andrew took him to Jesus.

And in his encounter with Jesus, Simon is given a new name: Cephas, or Peter: the Rock -- the Rock on which the church was built. Like Andrew, Simon Peter leaves the encounter with Jesus completely changed.

It is among ordinary people who are in the middle of the ordinary things of life that extraordinary things happen. This first encounter of Jesus with those very ordinary people who became his first disciples happens in the most ordinary sort of way. Andrew has put up his fishing nets for the season. And John the Baptist is the only one in Israel doing the sort of thing that attracts a man like Andrew. John becomes Andrew’s teacher for a while. And then Andrew meets this Jesus, and in this seemingly ordinary encounter between two people, Andrew’s life is changed -- FOR EVER.

God needs to become real for us -- all of us. It was true for Saint Andrew -- and it is true for us latter day saints. Our discipleship begins with an active engagement with Jesus. And the way that God becomes real for any and all Christians is by an active engagement -- an encounter -- with Jesus. For Christians, this encounter and engagement is our “source experience” whether it is the classical ecstatic conversion experience or something more gradual, more subtle, something that seems ordinary but is no less powerful.

It is in that ongoing active engagement with Jesus that we find ourselves in that sacred intersection where grace and life meet. And it is there that we are grasped by the New Creation. It was not an accident that the first significant words spoken by Jesus to his disciples were “What are you looking for?” and “Come and see.” The Gospel -- the Good News -- is as much discovered by our own efforts as it is disclosed by the experience of revelation.

Another story from a medieval monastery. Brother Lawrence was a lay brother in an order of monks in France, who came to the monastery late in his life, was assigned to the scullery, the room where kitchen pots and pans and dishes and utensils were cleaned and kept and cleaned. He felt that he had been sentenced to this scullery for the rest of his life. He was uncertain he was right in coming to the monastery; washing dishes was not quite what he had in mind when he joined up. But he kept at it. And he found that washing pots and pans gave him plenty of time to meditate and pray. He became saintly in the process, his rebellion at being assigned to the kitchen scullery long gone.

As Brother Lawrence lay dying, his bishop came to take notes on what the old monk had to say. When asked the secret to his saintliness, Brother Lawrence said that it was only this: he tried to do whatever task he was given all to the glory and honor of God. And since his task was washing pots and pans, he washed them the best way he could, all the time meditating and praying. And he had spent the best years of his life in this. He wasn’t sure it had brought him any saintliness. But he had given it his very best.

Come and see. Come and see what? Come and do what? Find, tell, bring. If God could send Andrew to find Peter, tell him Good News, and bring someone like old Peter to the place of the encounter with the Christ, then he can call us and send us the same way.

God calls us, if we listen. If God can call such ordinary people as Andrew and Simon to do such extraordinary things in the face of such extraordinary danger, then God can certainly call us to more ordinary work. God calls us wherever we are, in our ongoing encounter with him. God always calls us where we can answer. Whether we answer is always up to us. What are you looking for? Come and see!