Rev. Scott's Letter May 15
Delivered By
Rev. Tom Scott
Delivered On
May 15, 2020
Attached Document
may_15.pdf
Description

 

May 15

Closing out on John 14:1-14, looking at verses 7-14:  Jesus says, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father”.  The verb here, seen, is the word one would use to say, “I saw Joe Blow and Sally Sue”.  It is also the word that will be used to express the disciples’ encounter with the Risen Lord. They say, “We have seen the Lord”. Nor is it some special word John uses in his gospel. You find it all over the place. So, as we say, See means see.

Okay, I respond. What do I see?  What is my reaction to what I have seen in Jesus? Here are some of my reactions to this declaration, depending on the day, even the time of day.

True confession time.  The following list is only partial

 

1).  Don’t know what I’m looking at

 

2)   Love what I’m looking at

 

3).  Don’t like what I’m looking at

 

4).  Reject what I’m looking at

 

5)   Accept what I’m looking at

 

6)   Ignore what I’m looking at

 

7)   Fear what I’m looking at

 

8).  Imitate what I’m looking at

 

9)   Share what I’m looking at

 

10) Celebrate what I’m looking at

 

11) Oppose what I’m looking at

 

12) Defend what I’m looking at

 

13) Curious about what I’m looking at

 

14) Confused by what I’m looking at

 

15) Agnostic toward what I’m looking at

 

16) Hopeful about what I’m looking at

 

17) Doubtful about what I’m looking at

 

18) Angry about what I’m looking at

 

19) Disappointed about what I’m looking at

 

20) Loyal to what I’m looking at

 

21) Feel unworthy before what I’m looking at

 

22) Feel intimidated by what I’m looking at

 

23) Feel weary from living with what I think I’m supposed to do because of what I’m looking at

 

24) I think what I’m looking at is naive

 

25) Whatever I think or feel, I trust what I’m looking at

 

26) I obey  what I’m looking at

 

27) I am surprised by what I’m looking at

 

28) I am happy to be aware of what I’m looking at

 

29) I am bemused by what I’m looking at

 

30) I am grateful for what I am looking at

 

31) I am awed by what I’m looking at

 

32) I am frustrated by what I’m looking at

 

33) I am disgusted by what I am looking at

 

34) I think what I am looking at is irrelevant

 

35) I think what I’m looking at is ridiculous

 

36) What I am looking at encourages me to open myself to the world

 

37) What I am looking at helps me accept myself

 

38) What I am looking at helps me be compassionate

 

39) What I am looking at helps me be less judgmental and decisive (not full bore or black and white all the time)

 

40) What I’m looking at helps me accept the variety of human nature and our choices

 

41) What I’m looking at helps me accept the ambiguity in life—not all choices are clear cut or have equal weight

 

42) What I am looking at helps me face the uncertainty of life—the future is unknown

 

43) What I am looking at persuades me that we all do better when we all do better

 

I can go on, but I suspect that the variety of my responses captures at least several of yours. I hope it is not shocking to you that there is such a wide range in my responses.  Nowhere does it say that being Christian makes life easier or us less complex people. Neither are clergy immune to the variety of emotions, foibles, quirks, preferences, tastes, dispositions everyone else has.

My point in laying all this out is to open a pathway into this familiar declaration from Jesus. In me, Philip, you have seen the Father. If you accept that, carry it onward. Through me the Father has seen you and encountered the human experience of being a human being (I know this sounds strange, but I mean moving from the outside looking in to being inside looking out). 

Where we can go with this is toward hearing Jesus trying to help the disciples put the pieces together that he knows they can assemble, rather than simply issuing a rebuke.  More of a ‘You can do it’ and less of ‘Try again, dumbell’.  Now I confess that I have a personal stake in this viewpoint, as I grew up a stutterer who learned reading skills slowly, and was unaware of poor eyesight and hearing problems (now long-since corrected/provided for).

Now the great declaration: you will do greater things than you have seen me do because you shall have the Holy Spirit with you.  Think about what Jesus might mean about this upcoming reality.  The work of God on earth is being given into our hands, heads, and hearts along with the Holy Spirit.  I want to suggest that the more we hear the words of Jesus to Philip as simply an exasperated rebuke, the harder it is for us to accept what Jesus says is going to possible for us when the Spirit comes.

 
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