Certainly Lost – Sermon on Matthew 28.16-20

 

 

Hi all, just a reminder this is a spoken event, ignore bad grammar

Well that’s it.  Everything I thought I knew about life, meaning, existence it’s all rubbish.  There used to be things that I was certain about.  The sun comes up in the East, goes down in the West.  Chickens lay eggs, penguins don’t fly, and men don’t stop to ask for directions, especially compared to women.  That we women will admit to being lost and ask for help and men won’t.   Am I right? In a study done by AAA, men if lost will stop to ask for directions 34% of the time.  34%.  Anyone want to guess what percent of the time women if they get lost driving, what percent of the time they will stop?  The answer: 37%. 

What?  Now I bet you are going to tell me that the sky is not blue, and the sun is not hot!  I was so certain; now it’s all “out the window”.

Doubt has entered my mind. How can I be certain of anything?  But, contrary to popular opinion, that’s kinda what Jesus does.  That’s what faith in Jesus as the resurrected and risen Lord does.  It questions everything.  We used to think that death was “the End”, fin, finito, that’s all folks.  But in our gospel for today, Jesus who had been tortured and crucified, dead and buried, was standing there with his apostles giving them directions.  No wonder, Matthew tells us they worshiped and some doubted.

I think those are words that we should not so easily skip over.  You see for the longest time, well and still to this day, there is this idea within the church and outside that doubt is a bad thing.  That good Christians don’t doubt or have doubts.  That we are unquestioning and unthinking.  That there is no room for doubt, that there is no room for wondering and wandering.  If that were true there would be no room for some of the first apostles and no room for me and people like me–people who wrestle and struggle with faith.  

Church at its best is the gathering of people who are looking and yearning for hope.  Pope Francis has been quoted saying, “If one has the answers to all the questions – that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble.

So they worshiped and doubted, and yes, Jesus gave them a misssion, gave them directions.  Go make disciples, baptize, teach.  These are given to all of them, not just the non-doubters.  All.  And you know what, though the world has changed, these directions are still good today-.  Church, people, we have not arrived our destination. We are not done.  Not by a long shot.  -go make disciples, baptize, and teach

You see in today’s world there’s a lot to make people uncertain, a lot to make people fearful and mistrusting, there’s a lot to make people feel hopeless, lost and alone.  Some people may be looking for certitude, but a lot of people are going about their day, living their lives, going on their way looking for exactly what we have–not all the answers, but honesty.  Not certainty, but hope.  Not turn by turn commands, but a direction.

Jesus gives us the direction and it isn’t to stay here and worship, to just make us feel good and comfortable; it is to go.  It is to go back to our homes, with our family, with our friends, with the person who cuts our hair, does our nails, checks our groceries, pours our coffee.  It is to go to the people who walk these streets, live in these apartments, and houses, who are here in this neighborhood.  It is to go to those people, to listen to them, humbly show and speak words of love, to show them the Jesus who didn’t stay buried in a tomb, didn’t stay locked up in a room like this.  

Jesus says go, and oh by the way.  You are not alone.  You’re not alone here in doubts, and pains.  If you are feeling disappointed.  If you are feeling challenged, or are wondering and wandering.   If you feel lost, you are not alone.  You are not alone.  You’re not alone out there either.  You’ve got all of us, we’re in this together, and Jesus is with us to the end of the day when the sun goes down in the west, Jesus is with us to the end to our last breath, and death and evil will not will, Jesus is with us, Jesus will get us there, we will live again.  Amen.

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