2004—Sixth Sunday of Easter—C
Yesterday I picked up the phone and the person on the other end asked, "Is this the Home Depot". I laughed and said, no this is not the Home Depot. It's St. Ignatius church. The other person didn't laugh with me. I think she couldn't figure out how she got from the Home Depot to St. Ignatius Church.
For some reason, that question, "Is this the Home depot" stayed with me all day. It even shifted my focus for preaching this morning. (I was planning to focus on the first reading, thinking how difficult it must have been for the early Jewish community to make such a radical change in thinking about their relationship with God. We've always done things this way, you can almost hear them say. We have always recognized circumcision and dietary laws as signs of God's covenant with us. How can we possibly change the way we look at the world and our covenant? We have always done it this way. But God in Jesus is doing something totally new; Building up the church in a new way)
Building up, back to the home depot. So how is the church like the home depot? I've been to the home depot lately. Too many times! And all I can say is that is overwhelming! I always have to ask for help. There are so many "unknowns" for me. I get the sense that I can find anything I need. Most of the time I stand there in awe and confusion! Where do I find what I'm looking for?
I still didn't know where I was going with this comparison between the Home depot and the church until very early this morning, Guess what came on the radio? A commercial for Home Depot. I listened attentively. Was this the Holy Spirit guiding me? The last line gave it to me. "YOU CAN DO IT ... WE CAN HELP!"
I think that's it. You can do it ...we can help. This spiritual home, this church is where you come to be built up as the people of God. As Jesus says, I am sending you the Holy Spirit to be with you. I am empowering you as my disciples. You can do it! You can spread the good news of God's love and compassion in me! You can have the gift of peace and give others the gift of peace. Not as the world gives it. A deep peace, like taking a deep breath, that calms all your fears and anxieties. Do not let your hearts be troubled! I am with you. I am giving you my spirit to be with you always!
You can do it...we can help!
Yes, the church is pretty overwhelming too! We come here with a sense of how overwhelming life can be! We stand here sometimes in awe and sometimes in confusion! How will I find what I am looking for? Do I even know what I need? Each of you comes with all your life joys and struggles, your concerns and cares for your families, your anxieties and your hopes for genuine peace. We are all here asking for help from God and from each other. That's why we make this our spiritual home. We hopefully find here the help we need to build up our home life, our commitment to justice and peace in the world.
One last connection. This is the weekend where we focus on the Habitat "build" Building homes for the poor! Using tools and skills to create a home for someone who could not afford it.
Is this the home depot? You can do it ...we can help.