Sermon for 2nd Easter - April 8 2018

Sermon for the Second Sunday in Easter, Year B
April 8, 2018
The Rev. Evelyn Wheeler, Rector

Acts 4:32-35; Psalm 133; 1 John 1:1-2:2; John 20:19-31

Today I want to talk about trust.

Let’s start with a story – one whose ending remains unknown, one that was built on trust and has reached a point of pain unsought.

I have a friend whose husband, after several years of marriage, said to her one Friday, “I’m done. I’m through.  I’m seeing a divorce lawyer on Monday.”

In all the years of their marriage, he apparently never once said, “Honey, there’s something I need to talk with you about.”  From what I can tell, whatever concerns, doubts, disappointments, or frustrations he might have felt in their relationship, he never said anything, until the day he couldn’t stand it any more, and bowed out.

It’s so very sad.  She had no idea he was in any way unhappy; everything was coming together so well, things they’d worked toward together, a lovely home, rebuilding after a tornado, the kids making their way in the world … it all seemed fine.

Now her trust is broken, and he, seemingly, never trusted her love for him enough to raise his concerns to her, never trusted her enough to have what might have been a difficult conversation, never trusted the relationship enough to work together with her to address his own pain.

That’s why I’m talking about trust today. 

Trust can be hard.  We all know the pain of lost friendships, of broken relationships, of friends who fail us when we need them.  If that sort of thing happened when we were young, in our own families, when a parent leaves or there is abuse and violence, we might grow up not really able to trust anyone. When the rug is pulled out from under our feet too many times, we may learn that trust is too high a cost for fleeting reward; we may learn not to stand on the rug ever again.

And maybe, if we face rejection and despite too often and too painfully, we might conclude that we can’t even trust ourselves

If we are told too many times that we are unworthy, or unlovable, or useless, we might not be able to accept that God can love us as we are.

Trust is hard. 

I know I’ve told you in the past that the Greek word we translate in the Bible as “believe” can also be translated as “trust.”  I can tell you that Faith and Trust are sisters. 

Trust me, someone says.  Don’t you trust me?  Don’t you believe in me?  You can believe me when I tell you this or that.

Every scam artist under heaven knows that their success depends on persuading their victims to trust them.

But when GOD says “Believe in me, trust me, have faith…” even if we know in our heads that God is faithful and true, we don’t always know it in our hearts, because trust is so easily broken when human beings are involved.

Jesus asked the disciples to trust him; and they found it so very hard, when the soldiers and the police came to arrest him.  Peter said he didn’t even know him, not once, but three times.  And when the women came back from the tomb to tell them they had seen the Lord, the men distrusted their message, too.  Only when Jesus came among them, in that locked room, or at the sea of Galilee, or on the road to Emmaus, did they begin to fathom the truth of what he had said before he died, and to trust that God knew what God was doing.

I love the story of Thomas, not solely because he doubted – a thing most human – but because he trusted God – and the other disciples – enough to voice his doubts.

Believing isn’t always easy for us; trust is a far leap; and honesty to admit to doubt is rare as hen’s teeth.

We’re all about certainty.  We are certain that God is on our side; we are certain we understand the world and how it works and how it is supposed to work; we are certain that humanity has never walked on the moon or that the earth is flat; we are certain that climate change is real and humanity has a lot to answer for on that score; we are certain that this candidate or that politician or a particular journalist has correctly identified the problems and has the answers.

And here comes the author of the first letter of John, to tell us of what he is certain – we are sinners, and if we tell ourselves we do not sin, we deceive ourselves.

And though that’s not okay, there is a solution – and we find it in our relationship with God the Creator, Jesus Christ the righteous, and the Holy Spirit who heals and sanctifies.

In a relationship.  And, if we are in that relationship with God, then we are in relationship with other human beings who are also in relationship with God.

Which is where we started – relationships between human beings can be broken.

But our relationship with God can never be broken.

And because our relationship with God can never be broken, we need not fear our sin – whether of nature or of act – because God is always ready to forgive, even as we confess, even as we forgive others.

We have an advocate; one who will stand with us, stand in for us, stand beside us, speak on our behalf, and love us until time itself ends.

All other trust may fail; this trust never can.

We are saying these things so that our joy can be complete.  This is the message we have heard and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in God there is no darkness at all.

Trust be with you.


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