Have you ever seen those cheesy commercials where the salesman ask the question “So what’s is going to take to get you into this car?” I hear the same sort of question being asked this morning…what is it going to take you to get you into your faith? Do you need a sign? How about a miracle performed for you? Have you ever done anything based on the recommendation of a friend? Let’s think about that last question for another minute.
Have you ever eaten at a restaurant based on someone’s recommendation? I know I have. Would you ever go to a restaurant, purposely not look at the menu and tell the waiter/waitress “surprise me”? Try that sometime. Ever gone to a movie, or a play, or a symphony concert based on a friend (or even a stranger) who was just raving about their experience? Bowling? My father and my father-in-law both loved to bowl and both were very good at it. Growing up, as I’ve stated in previous posts, it was a honor to be able to go with my Dad on a Friday night and watch him bowl in the Holy Name Society bowling league; heck, when it was your turn to go, you would put “dress” clothes on to go to the bowling alley with him. But as an adult, I never go bowling on my own; if my kids say “Hey, dollar night at the bowling alley, let’s go.” I’ll go with them, but it is never my first choice. You know what, we always have a great time and I think to myself, why don’t I do that more often.
There is a point to all of this. Today, the Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist, the church has used two readings from his Gospel. As I read them, I am hearing an invitation to become part of the faith, to believe, to truly understand and believe that Jesus Christ is Lord. Let’s read them…
Reading 1 John 1:1-4
What was from the beginning,
what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we looked upon
and touched with our hands
concerns the Word of life —
for the life was made visible;
we have seen it and testify to it
and proclaim to you the eternal life
that was with the Father and was made visible to us—
what we have seen and heard
we proclaim now to you,
so that you too may have fellowship with us;
for our fellowship is with the Father
and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.
….what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.
Not only does this sound like a recommendation, it sounds like an invitation to be a part of their Christian fellowship. I’ve never personally met St. John, but I have taken him up on this invitation. Have you? Will you? So let’s look at the Gospel now from John’s 20th chapter…
On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we do not know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
…Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed…
He? Who is he? He is the disciple whom Jesus loved – John. He saw…saw what? The burial cloth, that had covered up the head of Jesus, rolled up in separate place. Seeing that, John came to fully believe. And now he is inviting you to that same experience; to that same faith; to that same belief.
Do you recall the words of Jesus to Thomas the Apostle? Blessed are those who have not seen but still believe. We are the “those” Jesus is referring to in that line from the Gospel. Blessed are we who believe in Christ but have never seen what the Apostles experienced when Christ walked the earth with them.
So I’ll ask you again, what is it going to take you to get you into your faith? Do you need a sign? How about a miracle performed for you? Have you ever done anything based on the recommendation of a friend? I implore you to accept John’s invitation offered to you this morning. John HAS SEEN; John DOES BELIEVE. So do I, so should you.
Do something great for our Lord today – RSVP to John’s invitation to the faith.
God’s will, not mine, be done.
Be not afraid; just have faith.
Jesus, I trust in You.