Clergy Corner: Why Can’t We Get Along – A Mother’s Day Sermon

7th Sunday of Easter, St. Nicholas, May 12, 2013 C Cycle. Mother’s Day.
Act. 16: 16-34;
Psalm 97;
Rev. 22: 12-21;
John 17: 20-26

Why Can’t We Get Along?

For a moment, let’s think of all the things that our Moms have said or continue to say to us? I know it would be almost impossible to think of all the things our Mom have said or still do say, but let’s give it a try…Ok, let’s hear it…what are some of the things we’ve heard our Moms say? “Eat your vegetables, clean your room, do your homework, get off the phone, take a bath, go to school, stop teasing your sister and/or brother.” Sound familiar? I’m sure these sayings are all too common and I’m sure there are many more expressions our beloved Moms have said.

How about, “I want all you kids to get along and play nicely.” This is something my Mom didn’t have to say this too often for a couple of reason: 1: my sisters, brothers and I did get along rather well without having to be prompted to do so. I suppose the fact we had only 1 bathroom may have had something to do with it, as we certainly did not want to alienate or anger anyone who may take an extended period of time in the bathroom, thus cutting into and out right depriving everyone else of their precious time in the facility. 2: We were blessed with the examples of our parents who were so much in love with one another. Those blessed and wonderful times of parental show of affection were, over the years, embraced by us kids and we, each in our own way, took note and did our best to not just get along with one another, but to share this wisdom with one others, who in turn, would teach their children and so on. 3 and lastly: My Dad didn’t have to ask us more than once to do anything…once was more than sufficient. He was as gentle as a lamb, but when he had to be, was also firm and determined to make his point. This was not lost on any of us either…we learned there can be a “healthy balance” of strength and compassion, that the two do coexist.

I love it when we celebrate a holiday like Mother’s Day and our gospel for the weekend fits so nicely with the holiday…or is it that Mother’s Day fits so well with this weekend’s gospel? Either way, we have a wonderful occasion to celebrate.

Mom’s want the best for their children; to be happy, successful and independent, too. Mind you, many, many of the Mom’s I know, including my 5 sisters and my Mom, all wanted their children to grow, learn and become self-sufficient. But, they also wanted their kids to remain, well, kids…so they can continue to “mother them,” and care for them, as if they were still children and incapable of caring for themselves. Dogs and cats are wonderful and loving creatures…but when they’re puppies and kittens, they are nearly impossible not to hold on to, to kiss and cuddle up with. I suppose the same goes for babies and little children…we simply want to love, squeeze and hold ever so close and care for them like Mom’s did when they were little ones.

Jesus loves us all, unconditionally and fully. Jesus makes a point, rather clearly, when He prays, Jesus asks that all who believe in Him and all who become His followers , that in their word, their belief, BECOME ONE AND REMAIN AS ONE.

What must Jesus think now, as He plainly can see His followers, we Christians, so divided and far less than unified? The only thing, really, we can all claim to have in common is that we call ourselves Christians and even that is, in my opinion, questionable. Within our very Episcopal Church in the United States divisions have been born. Entire Dioceses have left the Episcopal Church and aligned themselves with the Anglican Church while entire congregations have joined other mainline Christian communities of faith. Within our very Diocese, there are parishes that have serious concerns and issues with women clergy and gay and lesbian members within the congregation. Hard to imagine, but such is the case. There are Christians in this country that openly protest at funerals of military personal, claiming their lives were wasted because of our countries acceptance of an entire community of peoples. Hatred and bigotry are the “words” they spread. And all the while, I wonder, what is Jesus thinking and feeling when He witnesses such behavior done, allegedly, in His name? If I could put a human quality to our Savior, after all, He was fully human as well as fully divine, Jesus probably weeps for His followers who have seemingly lost their way.

Mothers, we certainly believe and hope, would do anything to protect and care for their children. Jesus did all He could to protect His loved ones, even to the cross and grave did He love us. He continues to love us, to share with us and to nourish us with His body and blood, each time we come to the altar of life, extend our hands and respond to His gift with an Amen…”I believe.” And, we believe as individuals and as a community of faith. Christianity is a communal faith, meant to be celebrated with others. And thus, are we joined together, and just as Jesus commanded of us, just as Jesus prayed, we are to be “as one.”

The disciples had a most tremendous assignment: to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the entire world. And, this is exactly what they set out to do, as they went out into the then, known world and brought the glorious news of the Savior, the Messiah, Jesus the Christ, they braved much and ultimately paid the highest of prices for their efforts, embracing martyrdom for the Kingdom of God.
Our commissioning to bring the Kingdom of God to others is equally daunting. We are called to go out into our world and bring Jesus to others. We do it first and foremost in our homes and in this our house of worship. We are to be “Christ” to one another; to provide what we can, as we can, when we can to those who are in need, whether it is spiritual, emotional or other such situations. We are called to be “AS ONE.”

I look out onto this community of faith and see the quality and caliber of people we are. We are loving and caring, we share and we give. We work very hard at “Being One,” however; we have a ways to go. We are not perfect. There is much work yet before us. We go about building God’s Kingdom while, and not so coincidentally, we go about building, rebuilding, strengthening and reshaping this structure, our St. Nicholas Church. We all want to see progress and it will come, in due time and when, in practical terms, finances are sufficient. But, we wait and work and we are called to do so, “as one.”

In the meantime, we all are commissioned to do what we can, as we can and as often as we can, to help at bringing about God’s Kingdom to all our sisters and brothers. Jesus is rather clear in today’s Gospel, in His prayer for His disciples and for us, that we are to be “as one.” This is our ministry, this is our calling, and this is our job. Let us go about our task as best we can, making sure we, like our ancient ancestors, the disciples, give it our all, our best and we do so with Faith and with Love and in Prayer. And, if I may be so bold as to once again place a most human of qualities to our Savior Jesus, I am sure our efforts and our desire surely brings to Jesus and our Moms much happiness and pleasure…and this is reason enough to give thanks and celebrate. And, celebrate we shall do, and we celebrate, “as one.”

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