The readings appointed for today can be found at http://www.lectionarypage.net/YearA_RCL/Easter/AEaster5_RCL.html#gsp1
The Farewell is the Beginning
The Gospel we hear today, is one that many of you will find familiar within another context.
Funerals. Or, the burial of the dead, as the prayer book calls this sacred rite. This Gospel is offered as one of the possibilities of scripture appropriate to a funeral—and it in, in my experience, the passage chosen most often by families as they mourn.
Chosen, quite simply, because of the deep comfort that so many find in the words, “I go to prepare a place for you.”
How many of us long to know that those whom we love, and see no longer, have found their place in the house of God, in the life that is to come.
That Jesus, ever in front of us, will not leave us comfortless.
Will not leave us comfortless, in life or in death.
So, yes, this passage is frequently proclaimed at funerals...but it would be just as suitable at a baptism or confirmation. Those moments when we commit ourselves to living a life in Christ.
Because, while Jesus seeks to prepare his friends for his departure by assuring them that they will follow him, he also is extolling to them the importance of continuing the work that he has set before them. The work of love made manifest in action, belief made visible through a life lived in testimony.
This is a passage, meant for the living.
The living, the living who long for Christ, like a newborn longs for milk. Not just to sake the thirst, but to live. To live and to grow. To grow in body, but we are more than body…and hence the author of 1st Peter’s description of our spiritual longing for Christ as one akin to the newborn’s longing for milk. And, when we are fed, we grow.
We grow in faith; we grow in love. We grow in our ability to set down the stones that would destroy and take up the stones that would build.
Today’s readings are about how we are called to grow in faith; and in that growth, to grow in service; and in that service to grow in love.
In a just a moment, I will be inviting our youngest members to join me at the chancel steps for a story. It is a story about beginning to grow. It is a story about finding strength to take on the big adventures that await. It is a story in which a little garden elephant wonders if he grows all by himself, or if he is in fact connected to others.
As I read the story, I want each of us to consider how we in our connection with each other help each other to grow. In love and in strength.
And, in your consideration, I ask that you remember that upon every baptism we, the community of faith, the household of God, commits to do everything in our power to support the newly baptized in their life in Christ.
So consider, what you, what we, what this community does to support each other as we grow in faith and in love. Because, we don't grow unless we are fed.
So, children, join me at the steps... as we consider a little garden elephant.
“Pomelo, Begins to Grow” by Ramona Badescu, illustrated by Benjamin Chaud.
|For a review of this charming book, go to|