5th Sunday of Easter

1. Back before the Corona virus made traveling on Mass transit such a horror show,

2. a tourist friend of mine pointed out

a. that New York is a town where miracles happen.

3. I know – it sounds like some kind of cheesy ad campaign for tourism in New York.

a. Especially when you hear where he said it. ON the subway!

i. It was rush hour

ii. The subway was packed when it arrived in our station, and nevertheless we squeezed on.

iii. As we stood there, packed like sardines, that is when he mentioned that it was like a miracle;

iv. no matter how many people get on a subway,

1. there is always room for one more!

4. I laughed out loud when I heard it, and said he was crazy.

a. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought he was right

b. and not just because there was always room for one more –

c. but because of the types of people who were all stuffed into that subway car;

i. Christians, Jews and Muslims, men and women,

ii. Blacks and Asians and Latinos and Whites

iii. were all so close to me that I could smell their colognes, their take out lunches, and occasionally even their breath.

iv. And I kept thinking, where else would you get so many different types of people all in one place without prejudice, violence or even war?

5. That was the miracle; because it certainly does not seem to happen anywhere else, where

a. prejudice between blacks and whites

b. violence against Asian and Latinos

c. abuse between men and women

d. hatred among Christians Jews and Muslims

e. and mistrust and acrimony between political parties of all stripes

i. threatens to to tear our world to bits.

6. which is why the subway car seemed so miraculous to my friend;

a. Somehow it makes room for everyone

b. when the whole world doesn't seem able to.

7. There are many reasons we can give for why there just doesn't seem to be enough room in our cities our nations our church or our world for us all.

a. Yet underneath them all, there is just one; fear.

b. We are afraid of people who are different.

i. we don’t understand their different languages

ii. we would be uncomfortable wearing their different clothes

iii. we don’t like their different beliefs.

c. For they threaten our presumption

i. that our is the most beautiful language

ii. our clothes are the best clothes

iii. our beliefs are the only true ones.

d. Yes, we may yearn for the day when all people are one, when there is peace and justice for everyone

e. but that is because we believe on that day . . . everyone will be just like us.

8. We would like to think that the disciples who followed Jesus were different.

a. But on that night before he died, they too were afraid.

9. They had hoped to get so much from Jesus.

a. They were certain that he would show them the WAY to bring about the Kingdom of God, when peace and justice would reign throughout the world

b. because he, a TRUE son of David, would reign on Israel’s throne

c. and Israel’s way of LIFE would be followed by all.

10. But then Jesus tells them that he is going to die, and they realized

a. that they are not going to get what they wanted.

b. That the people they thought Jesus would convert were waiting to capture them

c. That kingdom they had hoped for would be crushed by the kingdom of Caesar.

i. Because when it came to Rome and Jerusalem, Christ and Caesar,

1. the whole world didn’t have enough room for the two of them.

11. But what Jesus tried to tell them was that the kingdom he came to establish,

a. which he called his father’s house,

b. unlike our nation, church and world,

12. Was, is a house with rooms, lots of room; room for Jesus, room for them, room for everyone

a. And when Thomas asks Jesus to finally show them the way to this kingdom

13. Jesus replies cryptically he is the way.

a. When the disciples heard Jesus say this, they really didn’t understand him.

b. They were too afraid.

c. But when three days later when Jesus rose from the dead,

d. only then did they begin to understand

14. That if nothing, not even death could stop Jesus,

a. then nothing not even death could stop his kingdom

b. which embraces all people, living and dead

c. which fills the rooms of his father’s house with people

d. of every race language and way of life with room to spare

15. And who are no longer afraid

a. not because they have no differences,

b. but because they have learned to accept one another’s differences.

16. Because the way to this kingdom

a. is not becoming a Jew or a gentile

b. It is not becoming a Roman or a Greek

17. It is simply through a relationship with Jesus

18. Because he is the way.

19. Now there are many people who would warn us, with reason, that Jesus’ words are beautiful words; words that open up beautiful possibilities for the future.

20. But we live in the present, where at least some Jews hate Muslims and Muslims Jews;

21. where

a. prejudice between blacks and whites

b. violence against Asian and Latinos

c. abuse between men and women

d. prejudice among Christians Jews and Muslims

e. and figting between democrats and republicans

22. threatens to tear our nation and our world to bits.

a. And if there is not enough room, that’s because there’s no room for you.

23. But it was precisely because of those possibilities that those frightened disciples became bold apostles,

a. Who went out and invited people to enter into this kingdom.

b. At first, they only invited Jews, but soon they discovered others who wanted to enter,

c. and they realized that that was because that Jesus had already been there,

24. that they already had a relationship with him,

25. because he had prepared them to hear the invitation they brought.

26. to cast aside their fear and enter this vast and diverse kingdom and be welcomed into his father’s house, where there is room enough for all.

27. Imagine what would happened if we did the same?

a. If we allowed the beautiful possibility of a world, a nation, a Church where there is room enough for all?

b. If we went out and invited people to enter into this room in Jesus father’s house.

c. Only to discover that Jesus had already been there, preparing them to accept our invitation?

28. We would discover that a subway car would not be the only place where miracles happen.

29. Because when our churches open again, and open they will,

a. we would see people thereof every race language and way of life

b. and we would already have a relationship with them because they already have one with Jesus.

c. And we would see each other for who we truly are

d. brothers and sisters living in one house, where there is room enough for all.

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