Year A Easter 5 John 14 2011
A Haven for Troubled Hearts
John 14:1-14

Eric Clapton, arguably the greatest living rock guitarist, wrote a heart wrenching song about the death of his four year old son. He fell from a 53rd-story window. Clapton took nine months off and when he returned his music had changed. The hardship had made his music softer, more powerful, and more reflective. You have perhaps heard the song he wrote about his son's death. It is a song of hope:

    Would you know my name if I saw you in heaven?
    Would it be the same if I saw you in heaven?
    I must be strong and carry on,
    'Cause I know I don't belong here in heaven.

    Would you hold my hand if I saw you in heaven?
    Would you help me stand if I saw you in heaven?
    I'll find my way through night and day,
    'Cause I know I just can't stay here in heaven.

    Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees.
    Time can break your heart, have you begging please, begging please.
    Beyond the door there's peace I'm sure,
    And I know there'll be no more tears in heaven.

Jesus has just had the Passover meal with his disciples. He has washed their feet in an act of servanthood. He has foretold his betrayal which Judas will soon perform. He has predicted Peter's denial. He has told them he is leaving. But he adds this word of hope: Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house there are many rooms. I go to prepare a place for you and will come again and take you to myself. So that where I am, you may be also.

Hardship has a way of getting our attention. Pain slows us down. Very few us, after facing a trial, come out the same way we entered in. Jesus understood this and attempted to prepare his disciples for the road ahead.

Brett Blair,

The Meals-on-Wheels Temple
1 Peter 2: 2-10

I call the world we are living in TGIF. Anyone know what TGIF stands for? That's right: "Thank God It's Friday"

But I've re-acronymed TGIF as "Twitter, Google, iPhone, Facebook." So let me begin this morning with some TGIF questions:

Do you blog? If you do, do you blog with people on your block?

Are any of your immediate neighbors your Facebook "friends" or Twitter "followers?"

Do you connect with more people digitally than you do physically?

If the answer is "no" to the first two and "yes" to the third, then you are . . . pretty typical. The good news is that now absolutely no one need be cut off from contact with others in this electronic age of "relationships." The bad news is that if everything in our lives is part of some enormous "social network," how do we ever differentiate the devotedly "personal" from the digitally "social?"

It is fun to have lots of Facebook friends. It is cool to have an entourage of Twitter "followers." But as important as these "social media" are, there are times and places in our lives when a different kind of connectedness makes the difference between life and death.

Rising Spring waters have poured across those regions of our country graced by the presence of the Mississippi River. So much flooding, in fact, that whole communities have been forced to flee their homes. Adding insult to injury some have been put under water by the deliberate flooding of less populated areas to safeguard the survival of the larger cities. The only bright spot in these regional disasters and personal tragedies has been the out-pouring of local community care and support.

I predict that one of the greatest stories of 2011 will turn out to be this one: Love and compassion have easily overwhelmed the water-power of the Mississippi... presents Leonard Sweet