The journey changes us.
That journey changed me.
I think about the trip we took here at Shepherd of the Valley to Germany back in 2012. How that journey changed us!
The journey changes us. I think at the heart of this passage -- and I encourage you to take this bulletin home and read it again -- I think at the heart of this passage is yet another invitation into a life-altering, life-changing journey. How is Jesus calling you today; how is Jesus calling us as community? [pause] And never does Jesus say that this road -- as it’s practically lived out -- is an easy one. I’ve told you before about the guy I met once who said, “My life was great, until I met Jesus. I had lots of money, I did what I wanted, I served no one. Now I’m giving my money away; trying to do not what I want, but what Christ would have me do, like forgiving my enemies; and I serve others now: the poor, little children, the earth itself...and those who don’t look like me. My life was great, until I met Jesus.”
But, we don’t just see the positive in the midst of negative. Having returned from our journey to the holy waters of baptism, we also now see pain and injustice, when others refuse to, ignore it, or just can’t. We see poverty, abuse, exploitation and name it as such, and strive for justice in all the earth. We see the inequalities, and we Jesus followers don’t turn away. We see racism and sexism, and call it like it is, and then like Martin and Katie Luther of long ago, we become ambassadors of hospitality, of radical welcome for all.
This is what makes everything different -- because this muddy road that we walk, with all it’s challenges -- this Christian life of the baptized -- we don’t walk alone. God goes with us, Christ leads us and beckons us. And so we join hands and arms and we walk together. This journey changes us from the inside-out. We have lost our lives, and in so doing, become a very part of God’s life for the world. AMEN.