Sermon for the Sixth Sunday of Easter

Today in church time is Rogation Sunday and in secular time, Mothers’ Day. Yesterday was our annual Mothers’ Day Tea, and throughout this part of the country people are skipping church and lining up for the Mothers’ Day buffet or getting ready for lunch out with mother.

But we are here to praise God and receive something which will strengthen us for the week ahead.

This morning I draw strength from the words of Jesus in part of what has come to be called the Farewell Discourses: the peace of God conveyed by Jesus and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which is predicted by Our Lord.

The Greek word for peace used here is eirene which closest to the usage of shalom in the New Testament. The sense from the Old Testament is of well-being which comes from Yahweh—God.

But in the sense that the early Church came to understand, for Christians eirene has the sense of the well-being conferred by the salvation we have received and the core disciples will receive in Jesus sacrifice on the Cross. This is the peace which Jesus leaves with his disciples.

He says that this peace is ‘my peace.’ The well-being that comes from the closest of relationships with the Father. We have ultimate well-being in that God has conferred upon us salvation and eternal connection with God.

To remind us of this special well-being is the presence of the Advocate, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit—the presence of God with us in every breath we take—remidns us that God wants to us to experience the ultimate in well-being: knowing that nothing will separate us from God if….

The big ‘if’ is our human propensity to want to go our own way. One of the reasons that churches are not full is because many in this modern age consider church not to be relevant.

Yet many of these people who are living better than any previous American generation are also people who struggle to have a solid connection with community, who are over-busy and yet unfulfilled, who feel a sense of emptiness.

This emptiness cannot be filled with things, with the assurance of commercials that life will be complete with their product, or with relationships that turn out to be shallow. It was St. Augustine of Hippo who said it best: “Our hearts are restless, O Lord, until they rest in you.”

Yesterday, I filled in for Marianne at the Cornwall Community Coop. I got into a conversation with a woman as her husband/significant other shopped. We were talking about attending church. She said that she read the Bible and prayed and felt close to God when she walked in the midst of the beauty of nature.

I congratulated her for almost having a complete spiritual life. I told her that church was the missing component.

She spoke about attending Solid Rock at the invitation of a friend—it didn’t seem like church with the screens. But, she said why should she go to church. I told her by going to church she would connect with a community, to hear scripture and be helped to see how it might apply to her spiritual walk. I don’t know if we will see here, but the seed has been planted.

We can all plant seeds. In fact you who are not ‘clergy’ are the best seed-planters. I’ve been particularly pleased that some of our newer members have brought a lapsed member back to church.

Don’t assume that people know about us. Give us a try—that should be our message for we are seeking additional cells for the body of Christ to use C. S. Lewis’ metaphor. We are the quiet church with good stuff to share.

Come; come and join us with the prospect of God’s peace a future of drinking from the river of Life which John saw in his vision of the future Jerusalem.

Come; the water is available for all.

Amen.