Do not doubt, but believe. This is the message for us today. Do not doubt, but believe. We have a Savior who is risen. Anything is possible. Anything can be done when we have the courage to begin and the resolve to believe that with God’s help, even our set-backs will become the building blocks for a brighter tomorrow.
This past Friday was Earth Day. Did you know there have been studies that show that people who think there’s no hope of changing the destruction humans have been causing to the earth are less likely to recycle? Less likely to try and do something at all? Locked in our rooms of fear and despair we just huddle around the table and grow more despair and more fear.
But Jesus does not want us to stay huddled in our fear! Jesus arrives and says “peace be with you.” In other words, you do not need to fear. Or if you are fearful, take courage and look for where you can act anyway. Then Jesus breathes upon those first disciples, we hear, and tells them that they have the power to forgive sins! Those first disciples - and us – we have the power to forgive sins. We can forgive people’s bad behavior (and hope someone is busy forgiving us our own!) We can forgive the ways we have fallen short of the glory of God and tell people that they, too, can be discovered by a peace that passes all understanding.
And from this place of peace, this place that also breeds courage as only God can breed courage; from this place we can be bold in building a new world that reflects the grace and humble Servant love of Christ. And this includes care of God’s green earth and all that is on it.
Imagine if we were to cheer each other on with taking care of God’s green earth? What if, instead of spending our time tsking at folks who throw garbage out of car windows or falling short of the glory of God in caring for the earth in other ways; what if we spend our time cheering when towns install solar trash compactors and make the default electricity source for their towns (and maybe someday cities) 100% renewable energy? What if we cheer when kids encourage their families to buy food items not packaged in throw away packaging, and companies start using recycled fibers to create new clothing? Maybe we could cheer ourselves on as church community to a month-long “Reduce Packaging” challenge and celebrate what is possible.
I can’t help but wonder if folks around us would stop and take notice. Who are those people cheering each other and the world on? What gives them the peace and courage to live with audacious hope like that when so much that is happening is wrong and broken?
Maybe, just maybe, others looking on to this festival of new life living might decide to let God unlock their doors, too. Take a few cautious steps down the stairs from the Upper Room where we all can get trapped in fear and doubt.
Maybe they might join the long arc story of resurrection story already underway.
At St. Burchardi Church in Germany (which was built before the Magna Carta was signed), a piece of music was begun in 2002 that will take 640 years to be played. Written by John Cage and played on an organ with the use of sand bags and levers, this piece of music has chords that only change every one or two years. The last time a chord was going to change in the music, a whole group of people gathered around and cheered when it happened.
The concept, much less the execution of a 640 year-long piece of music is designed to pull us out of how we normally think about time and life. It is designed to pull us out of our Upper Rooms where we get locked up in what we think we know.
Then Jesus appeared and said, “Do not doubt, but believe.” This is the message for us today. And “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so now I send you.” To be peace makers, forgivers of sin, cheerleaders of this new life story so that others who have not seen, may yet come to believe. For if we allow Christ’s courage to become our courage, Christ’s peace to become our peace, then even our failures will become the building blocks on the way to creating a brighter tomorrow. Thanks be to God. Amen.