Trinity Church in the City of Boston
Sixth Sunday after Easter
Year A 2023
O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Ya’ll I have a confession to make.
Yes, I know this is the Eastertide.
You will notice that during the great 50days of Easter we light the paschal candle,
wear white stoles, we say Alleluia a lot,
AND we omit the confession in our liturgy.
All of this being said, I still have a confession to make.
I broke Jesus.
Let me explain.
In my former parish, we had a nativity scene that had all the figures.
Angels, Shepherds, donkeys, sheep, Mary, Joseph and Wisemen.
The tradition in this parish for each week of Advent to put a new figure into the nativity. While awaiting their turn in procession, the figures reside in a que in a cabinet in the sacristy where the altar guild could keep an eye on the holy family and keep them neat and tidy as they awaited their turn to arrive.
One day, I was coming in RIGHT ON TIME (maybe a little late and flustered is a more accurate description) for a funeral that was happening in our chapel. In my surveilling the chapel, I realized we needed a book that was stored in the same cabinet as the nativity figures.
In my haste to grab the book and also have more time to polish my homily,
I secured the book and also managed to knock sweet baby Jesus off his shelf out of his manger.
Yep, our lord and savior on the floor.
And dear sweet baby Jesus did not bounce.
Instead, he broke in two places-
I had just knocked his head and knees clear off.
Mortified, ashamed, needing more time, and clearly more love of Jesus in my heart, I looked at sweet baby Jesus lying on the floor, said I was sorry and put him on the counter and Scurried off to get vested and greet the family.
The sacrament of anointing and healing was going to have to wait for baby Jesus.
My needing more time and inadvertently causing harm.
When we are blinded by our need for more how often do we miss what is right in front of us?
More and More…
We always seem to want more.
We want more time to perfect the paper, the sermon, the relationship.
We want more connections
We want more THINGS
We want more clarity on what to do next, who to spend time with, how to get ahead, how to change.
The staff, this week took a tour with one of our docents.(I highly recommend this, no matter how long that you have been or not been a member here!) Our tour went well over our allotted time because we wanted to know more and more about why is this space is designed the way that it is..
How, to the glory of God, this space was designed to invite more and more people into the pews and balconies to lift their eyes to the heavens, to tell the story of scripture in windows, paintings, and inviting your story into this space, whatever your story might be….
Inviting you and your own flaws and brokenness into this space to be accepted fully for who you are and right where you are.
To let you find your home here, more and more.
The disciples in our gospel this week want more.
And they continued to be invited into relationship by Jesus, just where they are, as they are, to know more.
Last week you heard Morgan speak about the questioning that Jesus receives at the dinner table. After 3 long years and so many talks, so many intimate explanations, the disciples want more and more. More answers, more time.
They have just broken bread with Jesus.
They will soon be a part of the breaking of his body on the cross.
Today, Jesus says to his disciples, “here is the thing…. I am going to be with you more and more.”
I will be with you forever in the form of the Holy Comforter, the Advocate, the Holy Spirit.
More and more as you understand bit by bit.
More and more than you will understand.
Know this, I will not leave you abandoned, orphaned,
you are family, you are beloved, you are with me as I am in you.
Jesus says, this concept is more than you can imagine now.
Have faith, take your time to listen,
to see and to not just know more,
to be more of the beloved child of God that you were created to be.
Keep walking in faith, together….
In the Episcopal tradition at Confirmation, the liturgy where the promises made at baptism are confirmed by the individual in the presence of a Bishop, the prayer said with the laying on of hands is the following, “Defend, O Lord, your servant N. with your heavenly grace, that he may continue yours for ever, and daily increase in your Holy Spirit more and more, until he comes to your everlasting kingdom. Amen.”
Echoing both the disciples’ desire and Jesus’ promise, we live in a world where we want more. Our prayers and liturgies reflect our desire for more and deeper understanding met by Jesus’ even more deep love for each of us and invitation to know more.
Jesus is asking more of our hearts, more of our lives, inviting us to be transformed by prayer, by reading scripture, by fellowship and the breaking of bread.
To listen more and let our feet and hands be guided more by our faith than by the world.
Things will be broken. Things will fracture.
We will get hurt,
Acting in love, we will break
In this brokenness, you will see how god’s love can heal and bring about a new thing.
Making haste does not bring salvation.
Love, time, and walking together with one other brings salve to our souls and brings us together to be transformed, building up a stronger community and bolder kingdom.
Now, you may be wondering the rest of the story about Sweet Baby Jesus….
Never underestimate these two things: Jesus saves and the Altar Guild does too! Turns out before I could get back to the sacristy, the altar guild had already restored baby Jesus’s body to one piece and he was lying in the manger bound together with a little bit of Super Glue and a whole lot of grace and forgiveness to their priest.
This past year when that same little figure was processed forward on Christmas Eve, my sweet goddaughter dropped sweet baby Jesus on the way up to the creche scene. She was mortified and immediately began to cry. Her mother, who has heard my story before, leaned in and said, “it’s okay, Jesus still loves you and this too can be fixed, I have seen this sort of healing happen before. You are not alone.”
We are not alone in our brokenness, the Holy Spirit restores us more and more each day.
All in God’s Time.
Alleluia, Alleluia. Amen.