Happy to be “Left Behind”

Easter 5

John 14:1-14

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In the weeks leading up to May 21st there has been an impressive campaign on the part of Family Radio to promote the idea that Jesus the Christ would return on that date. People who believed this prognostication actually quit jobs and send large sums of money to the radio station to help pay for the public relations campaign. As we worshiped on Sunday, May 22nd, I proclaimed that I, for one, am happy to have been left behind. I am happy, even honored, to have been chosen to continue the work of bringing God’s love to the rest of creation.

In a personal note, I am saddened that so many people accept a description of God that is so cruel and capricious. I believe and preach and trust that God is love. That is what Jesus reveals to us. I am also saddened that people, well meaning or not, take advantage of the credulity of others to promote such ideas and even to amass fortunes. There must always be a reaction when a prophesied date like this one has passed with no “rapture”. I only hope that the reactions to this non-event will be to bring people to a more orthodox and loving theology.

This sermon looks briefly at the very young history of millenarian movements and offers a loving message of hope based on Jesus’ teachings.

Pilgrims on the Road to Emmaus

Easter 3

Luke 24:13-35

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Cleopas and his companion had given up. They hope was lost. This was the third day since Jesus was crucified and they had not seen him. The one who was their hope for redemption from Rome and life with God was dead.

How often do we have this same experience? How often have we been disappointed or frustrated in our hope?

This sermon shares one dramatic story of redemption. The family in this story came face to face with the risen Christ, but first they lost all hope. Their story mirrors the story of Cleopas and his companion so perfectly! They suffered great loss, and then, when they had given up, God gave them new hope and new purpose. The Road to Emmaus story, and this modern day version, show us the true and wonderful power of Jesus to save our lives. Jesus gives hope and purpose where there was only death.

Tourists and Pilgrims

Easter Day

Matthew 28:1-10

Let’s set the scene: Jesus has been crucified and buried. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary are at the tomb early on the first day of the week. There are some tired and bored guards there as well so the two Marys are keeping their distance. They have come very early in the morning, so there is a slight chill to the air and dew still clings to the leaves.

For many of us, that is as far as we get into the story. Oh, we’ve heard the rest. We know about Jesus appearing in the locked upper room. We have heard of Thomas and his doubts. There was also a breakfast of fish on the beach, and a long walk to Emmaus with a couple of disciples. Most of us have heard the rest of the resurrection story, but have we experienced resurrection?

Resurrection is more than a story. Resurrection is a way of life. Resurrection life is rich and full. Resurrection life has a profound and joyful meaning and purpose. Most importantly, resurrection life is available right now.

You can live a transformed life. You can experience the peace and joy of knowing God – and more than knowing – you can feel and experience God’s loving presence in both good times and bad. You can have deeper, more beautiful and more satisfying relationships, at home, at work, in your marriage, with friends and even with enemies. You can live in a way that brings life to the world. Your life can be full of God’s love. You can bring love and healing and hope to the poor and the suffering of our world.

That is a good way to live! You can live that way. We all can live that way. Jesus did not come to prepare us to enter heaven after we die. Jesus did not teach and heal and love so that we would pass some sort of test after we die. Jesus is not as concerned about whether you get into heaven as he is with whether you experience heaven now.

Jesus came to give us a new kind of life. Jesus lived to show us that we can live – truly live – right now. Jesus lived a life fully connected to God. Jesus loved God and proclaimed God’s love even when his life and his proclamation offended the powers and authorities. Even when they set out to trap and kill him, Jesus continued to love. He was never separated from God’s love and he never stopped giving that love away. Even hanging on the cross, Jesus was giving love to anyone who would accept that love.

That brings us back to the tomb, on that early morning. There is a chill in the air and dew on the leaves. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary are there. The temple guards are there. What comes next? What will happen? What will come from this moment?

This is a critical point in the story and this is a critical point in your life. This is the moment you have come to, right now, right here, on this Easter morning. What comes next? Will you hear a good story and then go to brunch with the family – or will this be the moment of resurrection?

The answer to this question depends on how you are here, or perhaps, why you are here. Let me explain.

Some of us are here as tourists.

Some of us are here as pilgrims.

Some of us came as tourists and will leave as pilgrims.

The tourists will enjoy the story. They will see the tomb and the guards and the women. Maybe they will snap a few pictures to remember the moment and then they will move on. There are other attractions to see and the tourist is on a schedule. After all, we only get a couple weeks of vacation a year and we can’t go someplace interesting every year, right? So you have to keep moving, taking in the sights, sampling the food, maybe sending a postcard back home. Now-a-days you might take a picture with your phone and post the picture to Facebook:

“Here we are at Jesus’ tomb. The guards are very life-like!”

For the tourist, this is the end of the story.

The experience of the pilgrim is very different. The pilgrim is not looking for entertainment or novelty. The pilgrim is looking for life, meaning and purpose. The pilgrim will see the same tomb, the same guards and the same women waiting. The pilgrim will feel the same chill in the air and dew on the leaves.

For the pilgrim, this is the beginning of the story.

The earth quakes because love has defeated death! The angels roll the stone away from the tomb because they are filled with wonder and joy: Look! The tomb is empty! Love has defeated death! Resurrection has begun!

The guards run away in fear. For them, this is not good news. They serve death.

But the women stay, even though they are very frightened, because for them this is good news. This is resurrection. Jesus has defeated death and a new kind of life is now possible. Resurrection life!

The pilgrim invests him or herself in the story. For the pilgrim, there is much at stake. This is more than a tale. This is the beginning of resurrection life. This is the real presence of God. Here is the wonder and the joy of encountering love – true love – love in human form. God’s love incarnate and resurrected in Jesus.

The pilgrim does not go to see the empty tomb and say, “I was there.” The pilgrim goes to share in resurrection.

Christ is risen – be a part of that!

Christ is risen – share in the love that defeats death!

Christ is risen – accept the love that God is offering and then give that love away. That is what you were born for. You were born to live in God’s love and to take that love to the poor and the suffering of the world. You were born to live in God’s love and to give that love away. You were born for resurrection life!

 

Alleluia, Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!

 

 

The Rev. David Marshall

St. Dunstan’s Church

April 24, 2011

 

Come to the Cross

Good Friday

– John 18:1-19:42

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Jesus has been betrayed, arrested, mocked, beaten and killed.

As he was hanging on the cross, barely alive, there were spectators: People watching his death, hoping for a show.

And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, ‘This man is calling for Elijah.’ At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.’ (Matthew 27:46-49)

How did we come to this? How does the savior end up dying on a cross, with people watching to see if God will save him?

These are the unavoidable questions of Good Friday. Every year we retell this most painful part of the story and we are confronted by these questions.

For a day or two we dwell in the paradox and mystery of Jesus’ death. Many people, some of them great people, have offered answers and explanations, but that doesn’t take away the pain or the sting or the confusion or the grief.

Surely Jesus could have avoided this? Surely the Son of God could have controlled events to make the outcome more appealing!

Indeed. God has the power to have orchestrated events differently. But God did not use that power. Jesus came preaching, teaching and living a message of love. When he was confronted by the power of the Chief Priests and Elders of the Temple, he remained silent. When he was on trial before Pilate, the Roman Governor, he remained silent.

Jesus remained silent because his message and his life are a perfect expression of God’s love. God yearns to complete and perfect creation with the indwelling of God’s Spirit. Jesus was the first person to perfectly accept and perfectly return God’s love. Jesus remained silent when confronted by power because he had nothing to say to power. Love is not power. Power cannot compel love.

In the beginning, God could speak and make it so. “Let there be light!” And there was light. And God saw that it was good. But something was missing. Even after the six days of creation and the day of rest, something was missing.

Salvation history is a record of God’s continuing work of creation. God has been working to imbue all of creation with God’s Spirit of Love. This process of incarnation is tricky. Incarnation cannot be made or commanded because love cannot be made or commanded. Love is always a gift that can be freely received and just as freely refused.

From the very beginning, God has offered love and people have turned away. Adam and Eve failed, they sinned and were driven from the Garden.

God tried with Abraham. He said, I will make a great nation of you and the world will see that I love you and that you love me. The world will see the beauty and grace of our love and they will stream to that love. But Abraham’s children did not receive the love and they did not return God’s love.

God did not give up even then. When Abraham’s descendants were suffering the bondage of slavery, God sent Moses to lead them to freedom. God tried again and again with the people of Israel to establish a covenant of love and trust, but the people failed. They sinned. They turned to other gods or they simply lived for themselves.

Love cannot be compelled. We are seduced by power and turn away from love, and God is helpless to stop us. God offers love to all but many do not accept that love.

And so we find ourselves here again. Staring at an empty cross.

What will we do?

God is still offering love. God offers love freely and abundantly. The empty cross reveals the choice for us. Will we accept God’s love? Will we put our trust in God rather than power? Will we put our trust in love rather than wealth? Will we love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind and love our neighbor as we love ourselves?

Come to the cross. Answer the question for yourself. Light a candle. Pray for strength and wisdom and courage. God’s love is here. God’s love is always a free gift, freely given, never compelled. Will you accept that gift?

 

The Rev. David Marshall

St. Dunstan’s Church, Shoreline WA

April 22, 2011

Primal Rituals

Maundy Thursday

The services of Holy Week are unique in the Christian year. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil take us into the story of Jesus’ life. These three services allow us to follow Jesus through the experience of his last days. We touch the reality and the experience of Jesus’ sacrifice and his resurrection. We do this so that we can grow more like Christ. We strive to know the mind of Christ and to be transformed to be more and more like Christ. The payoff, the reward, if you will, is that we also enter more and more deeply into the reality of the resurrection. We are moving towards resurrection, new life, a transformed life in which we know God’s love directly and intimately.

The service of Maundy Thursday gives us the PRIMAL RITUALS of a life in Christ. Primal means “1. Being first in time; original. 2. Of first importance; primary.” Foot washing and Eucharist are the primal rituals of life in Christ. You could also say that foot washing and Eucharist are primal rituals of resurrection.

Jesus knew what was coming. Everything he did in those last days was intentional. Jesus wanted and intended to make himself available for all of us even after his death. He was preparing us to understand and participate in resurrection – in his life after dying and rising again.

Our goal in these next three services is to follow Jesus. We are striving to know Jesus more intimately. We want to share in his experience of God as Father. We want to know his mind, share in his questions and his wonder. We want to know what it means to be sons and daughters of the Father.

The value of primal rituals is that they put us right into the experience of Jesus and the disciples. We will follow Christ and the disciples by engaging in the same rituals that they used and that will force us to confront the same feelings and doubts and fears that they did.

Foot washing requires that we humble ourselves and serve one another. Humility is a basic requirement of the kind of life that Jesus wants for us. Humility allows us to enter into relationship with one another and with God with open hearts. Humility allows us to receive God’s love and to turn and give that love away.

Humility is not easy though. There is an element of shame that we have to confront. We have to be willing to embarrass our selves, in a way. We have to be willing to let go of pride. This is not an easy thing that we do. I was talking to another priest about Maundy Thursday and he said, “Foot washing never caught on at our congregation.” I was stunned. I should hope not. Foot washing is supposed to be difficult, embarrassing and humbling.

We humble ourselves because that is what Jesus told us to do so that we could participate in his mission. We are called to share in his son-ship and grow ever more like him. Foot washing prepares us to humbly accept the gift of adoption as God’s daughters and sons.

Eucharist is the reality of the Body of Christ gathered at the Father’s table. This is literally the family meal for the adopted daughters and sons of God. We gather to be that – God’s family. Jesus gave his body and his life, metaphorically and literally, so that we could do this. What a gracious symbol: bread and wine. What a generous ritual: take, eat.

So, foot washing prepares us to participate in Eucharist and Eucharist is the reality of being sons and daughters of the Father.

Foot washing is the incarnate sign of the new commandment.

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Eucharist is the incarnate sign of our adoption as sons and daughters of the Father. When we participate in the foot washing and Eucharist of Maundy Thursday we take on the mind of Christ and the heart of Christ as we receive and become the body and blood of Christ. This is a process of incarnation. This is the reality of being transformed. We are being formed to be expressions of God’s Spirit of Love.

These primal rituals open the possibility to experience the joy of living in God’s love. We are on our way to resurrection.

I invite you to participate and be shaped by the foot washing – Have the heart and mind of Christ.

I invite you to share in the Eucharist – Be the sons and daughters of the Father.

 

The Rev. David Marshall

St. Dunstan’s Church, Shoreline

April 21, 2011

Get In the Wheelbarrow

Year A, Lent 5

John 11:1-45

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God commands Ezekiel to prophesy to the dry bones, and the come to life again.

Jesus calls to Lazarus in the tomb, “Lazarus, come out!”

Again and again, God is calling us to live – truly live. Too often we settle for lives that are just tolerable. We get by and mistake that for living. That is not what God had in mind for our lives! God created all of us to be expressions of God’s love. Our purpose is to love and be loved. That is a joyful purpose. The world would try to convince us that surviving is enough, but Jesus calls us to live resurrection lives now. The question we all face is, will we answer that call?

The Wrong Questions

The Wrong Question
Lent 4, Year A

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John 9:1-41
A couple of weeks ago, my wife Alice told me a moving story about an experience she had at Children’s Hospital, and she gave me permission to share that story with you. Alice teaches quilting classes. While she teaches people to quilt she also gets to know them and care for them. That is how Alice ended up visiting the seriously ill daughter of one of her quilting students. The student, a young woman, has spent the last 15 years of her life caring for and advocating for her severely disabled daughter. This daughter has brain damage, has never learned to speak, and cannot voluntarily move her limbs. She recently developed pneumonia and a serious digestive problem.

While Alice was visiting the mother and meeting the daughter, one of the doctors came in to consult with the mother. After the doctor explained a few medical details, the mother asked him, “Why did this happen? Why was my daughter born this way? Why do we have to live with this affliction?”

The disciples ask Jesus a question very much like the mother’s question in that hospital room. They want to understand the man’s blindness. At that time, most people believed that afflictions like blindness were a punishment for sin, so the disciples ask, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

The questions we ask reveal a lot about us. The question that the mother asked of that doctor and the question that the disciples ask of Jesus reveal a lot about their understanding of God. For the disciples, God is a powerful king who judges our lives and meets out punishments and rewards.

  • If you are rich then God is rewarding you for your obedience.
  • In the same way, if you are afflicted then God is punishing you for your sins.

The blind man was born with the affliction of blindness. So, the question is, who sinned? Did he sin before his birth or is he being punished for sins he would commit later in life? Or did his parents sin? For the disciples, asking who sinned to cause his blindness is the same as asking why the man was born blind.

We have a different image of God today. We don’t think of God as a king judging our lives. Rather, we see God as the great creator and controller of all that is. God decides who will be rich and who will be poor, who will be afflicted with blindness, or cancer, and who will live healthy lives. Sometimes I think that our image of God is an old bearded guy sitting at a computer console, surrounded by giant screens, watching what’s happening all around the universe and deciding what will happen next. So, we want to know why. Why did God decide this or that? We may be asking the wrong question because we have the wrong image of God.

The disciples had the wrong image of God, so they asked the wrong question. Jesus’ answer to their question gives us a different image of God. “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that the works of God might be revealed.”

From our view of God as the great controller deciding each person’s fate, Jesus’ answer sounds cruel. Why would God make a man blind just so that God’s works might be revealed? This actually reveals the error in our image of God. We assume that God chose to make this man blind, but what if that is not what Jesus is saying? The sentence can also be read with the emphasis on “born”. The man was BORN so that God’s works might be revealed. And he was blind. The key to understanding this story is to consider what the man sees and what he reveals when given the gift of new sight.

God’s works are revealed in the man’s life. When the Pharisees ask him what he thinks of Jesus the man replies, “He is a prophet.” But he doesn’t stop there. The Pharisees are trying to understand Jesus. He heals people, and that seems good, but he does the healing on the Sabbath, and that’s against the law of Moses. Is Jesus a prophet of God or a sinner? When they press him to reveal more about Jesus the man says, “I don’t know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”

This man was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed. He was blind, but now he can see. He can see the world around him. In healing this man’s sight, Jesus has revealed the beauty of the world to a man who had never seen.
The man born blind reveals God’s works by his life. When the Pharisees throw him out of the synagogue, Jesus comes to him and asks, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” To better understand what Jesus is asking we might translate the question as, “Do you put your trust and faith in Jesus?” “Do you love, cherish and trust in Christ?”

The next part of the story is tricky. The man looks at Jesus and asks, “Who is this Son of Man?” Remember, he only received his sight after he went to the Pool of Siloam to wash the mud from his eyes. Jesus was gone by then. He has never seen Jesus before this moment. The man-who-now-can-see looks at Jesus and asks, “Who is this Son of Man?” and Jesus responds, “You’re looking at him!” In love and gratitude and wonder, the man who was born blind looks at Jesus and says, “Lord, I believe.” The man looks at Jesus and says: You are my savior. I will trust in you. I will cherish you. I will put my faith in you.

Who sinned such that this man was born blind? No one. He was born blind to reveal God’s works. He was born blind, and you were born right handed, and you were born with curly hair, and you were born with a great voice, and you were born with keen insight, and you were born with a loving heart. All of us were born with different gifts, different strengths, and different challenges. We were each born, just as we are, so that God’s works might be revealed. The purpose of your life and my life is to reveal God’s works!

And what are God’s works? God’s works are the works of a loving Father. God’s works are the works of a nurturing mother. God is love and God’s works are the works of love. We were all born to love and to be loved.

That brings us back to the room at Children’s hospital. Alice stood there, next to the bed of her friend’s daughter as the mother asked the doctor, “Why did this happen? Why was my daughter born this way?” The doctor responded, “We don’t ask that question. We just can’t know, so we ask other questions. What can we do for your daughter? How can we help her live the best life possible?”

After the doctor left, the mother turned to Alice and said, “You’re married to a minister. You’re a Christian. Can you tell me? Why was she born this way?” Alice replied, “I think the doctor has the right questions. How can we love your daughter? How is love being revealed by your daughter’s life and by your life as you care for her?”

Yes, God created the universe. God created all that is, seen and unseen, so that love could be given and received. God created a universe where cancer strikes down the people we love, where little girls are born with incomplete brains, and where earthquakes and tsunamis kill scores of people.

Like the doctor said, “We don’t ask why, because we can’t know. We cannot grasp the greater meanings and purposes of creation. We can ask how. How are God’s works being revealed? How can we love and be loved?

We are all born with a purpose. The man was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed and you were born so that God’s works might be revealed. We are all born for that purpose. We are born to love and to be loved.
How will God’s works be revealed in our lives? That’s the very question we set out to answer in our mission statement:

We seek to provide a welcoming environment where individuals can come together to walk in Christ’s love and forgiveness through worship, prayer and service to the community.

What a beautiful purpose we each have! What a beautiful purpose God has for our lives, and what a beautiful mission God has given us here at St. Dunstan’s.

The Rev. David Marshall
St. Dunstan’s Church, Shoreline WA
April 3, 2011

There Is Power In the Word

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John 9:1-41

We all hunger and thirst for something spiritual. We want to know, see, and experience, the sacred, holy or spiritual. As followers of Jesus, we have many ways to directly, personally, and powerfully experience the presence, the grace, and the love of God. One of the most powerful portals to God is found in scripture.

In this Sunday’s Gospel reading we hear a Samaritan woman encounters Jesus at the well and recognizes him for who he is. She sees the light of God in him. We can share that experience with her when we approach the scriptures faithfully with a sense of wonder.

The Nicodemus Way

The Nicodemus Way

Lent 2, Year A

John 3:1-17

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How many of you have seen the movie, “You’ve Got Mail”? I love that movie. “You’ve Got Mail” is one of the few romantic comedies that I think really works. Meg Ryan’s character runs a small bookstore with lots of charm and character. Tom Hanks’ character is the big business mogul building a giant chain bookstore around the corner from the little shop. In person they fight, calling each other names. At same time they are calling each other names, they are corresponding with each other through email.

I don’t remember exactly how it happens, but they start talking to each other on email without knowing to whom they are writing. Publicly they fight, and privately, they joke and tell each other stories. Publicly, his big store puts her small shop out of business. Privately he encourages her and gives her advice about competing. In the end, they discover whom they are writing to but by then they have fallen in love.

I think this is such a hopeful movie because it shows a long, uncertain path to love. We get to know each other a little at a time. Along the way we hurt each other, forgive each other, and try again. We get to know what the other person likes, what the other cares about. We learn to trust slowly. We generally come to love slowly. Even when someone says that theirs was love at first sight, that love takes time to develop. Even those couples that are swept away by love have to get to know each other.

So I ask you, why would our relationship with God be any different? Why would learning to love and trust Jesus be any different?

We don’t all come to Christ quickly or in the same way. Many of us come to Christ reluctantly, working through skepticism, doubts, and even misconceptions and prejudices. Some of us hang around on the margins of faith for years, either giving religion little thought or rejecting religion outright.

For years in my own life I rejected the very idea of God. I didn’t want anything to do with Church or Jesus or God. At the same time, I was restless and uncertain. I wanted more from life than I was getting. I suspected that other people knew some kind of secret that allowed them to be happy and if I could learn that secret, I could be happy too. I was searching for meaning and purpose but I was unwilling to look at the Church or at the Bible.

This went on for years until I began to notice that many of the people I admired were people of faith. I remember having an intense curiosity about other people’s faith when I was telling myself that I didn’t need faith myself. I was a skeptic who began to doubt my own skepticism.

Nicodemus had doubts and he was a skeptic, but he saw something in Jesus so he went to check out this prophet, healer and teacher. He went at night because he didn’t want to be seen with Jesus. He was not yet sure who Jesus was or whether Jesus could be trusted.

Nicodemus can be a source of great hope for many of us. He met Christ personally. He spoke with Jesus directly and still failed to understand. He continued to struggle. Nicodemus takes what Jesus says literally and then rejects Jesus’ teaching as impossible or even absurd.

If you are struggling to understand Jesus or God, hang in there. If you are skeptical, keep asking those questions. Keep struggling with the issues, and keep coming back to worship. You, like Nicodemus, can experience the joy of knowing God and being loved by God. You can experience the sacred mystery and be fed by the Holy Spirit.

Nicodemus came to Jesus in the night, furtively asked his questions, and then left, still wondering, still struggling and still in the dark. But there was something about Jesus that kept Nicodemus’ attention. He was not convinced but he was intrigued. I think that describes a lot of us: we are not entirely convinced, but we are intrigued.

The next time we hear about Nicodemus, later in John’s Gospel, he gives a hesitant defense of Jesus to the chief priests and the Pharisees. They are conspiring to have Jesus arrested and Nicodemus says, “Maybe we should listen to what he has to say before we condemn him.” They responded with anger. “What, are you one of his followers then?”

Only after the crucifixion, when he and Joseph of Arimathea bring spices to anoint Jesus’ body, do we get an indication that Nicodemus learned to trust in Jesus. Nicodemus takes a long time and a long path to become a follower of Jesus. He struggles with doubts and he is worried about what other people will think of him, but he is willing to listen to what Jesus has to say.

I personally find Nicodemus to be a very sympathetic character. I understand his reluctance. I have experienced his doubts. After all, Jesus is asking Nicodemus to enter into a very serious relationship. He is asking for a significant commitment. Following Jesus is not just a choice or a decision. Following Jesus is a way of life.

If you are struggling with doubts, I have good news for you. If you are still waiting to experience the peace and comfort of God’s love, hang in there. God will not stop pursuing your love and faith. Your doubts are not a problem for God. Your skepticism does not hurt or even upset God. On the contrary, God celebrates the dialogue that leads to faith. God celebrates the searching and exploring we do as we try to find what is real, sacred and holy.

If you are feeling restless and unsettled and you don’t know if you can commit yourself to God, take heart. If you are wondering what the fuss is about worship and prayer, if you have never had what you would call an experience of God, don’t worry. Keep asking and searching. You have good company. God loves the Nicodemuses of the world for their willingness to question and to keep searching, even when the answers don’t satisfy.

God loves you unconditionally. God forgives and forgives and forgives. God loves and loves and loves. That is what God is and who God is. So go ahead and doubt, but doubt intentionally. Ask the hard questions. Look for what is real and true. Look for the sacred. In the process you will experience the holy mysteries of God. You will experience the presence of God because God will never give up on you.

God wants to know you and be known by you. God wants you to know that you are loved. God wants love to work in and through you. God wants to give you so much love that your heart overflows. And when your heart is overflowing, you will be doing God’s work. You will be loving and blessing others. That is what God wants from you and that is what God wants for you. God wants to bless you so that you can be a blessing.

 

The Rev. David Marshall

St. Dunstan’s Church, Shoreline WA

March 20, 2011