Raleigh Mennonite Church
“In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me.”
What could it mean, they wondered? How can the world no longer see Jesus but we will? How can we see Jesus and others will not?
There’s a lot of head-scratching in the New Testament, a lot of confusion for the disciples as they circle back and forth through Jesus’s words. They sound like riddles and puzzles.
Just before this exchange, Thomas poses a question to Jesus, trying to get some clarification on the matter: Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?
They know Jesus, resurrected, eating fish with them by the sea, his hands pulling apart the meat and the bones, showing the scars from the nails of the cross – this Jesus cannot stay. They’ll be left here, alone. What are they going to do? What’s next? How will they know the way?
And Thomas calls the question. What is the way? How can we possibly know it if you are not here?
“I am the way, the truth, and the life,” answers Jesus. If you want to know God, then look at me, look at my life, those whom I brought near. Look at me. Remember. Remember me.
What Jesus leaves behind is the story of his life, now lived out in the bodies of others. It’s confusing for the disciples. It doesn’t seem like enough information to go off. It doesn’t satisfy the questions, not for Philip and not for Thomas. “How can we know the way?” “Show us!”
They’re looking for answers, but what they get is Jesus. They’re looking for answers, and what they get is a life, a life that becomes their life, lives bound together, animated by the Holy Spirit. “In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live.”
Jesus won’t leave them. The world won’t be able to see him any longer. But the disciples will. Because they’ll see each other. Jesus lives. He lives in you. You are God’s body, the only way others will see Jesus and know him. There is no other way, just Jesus, just a life bound up to other lives making space for others to join, always growing in love and joy.
Today we’re seeing each other again, seeing Jesus again in this part of his body. We make time for it every year. To peer at one another. To see what God has been up to. To get ready for another year of looking around, another year of being a body.
And we’re celebrating the wondrous things, the miracles that have happened through us. Because it’s a miracle to be the church, a miracle to show up every Sunday, a miracle to bring casseroles and to bake gluten free Communion bread. It’s a miracle to tell people that you’re hurting, to share bad news, to sit beside someone when it’s not going to get better. Our life is a miracle. The world cannot see Jesus anymore, but I can. I can see you.
Sometimes it’s important to pause in our life and tell each other where we’ve seen Jesus this year. That’s what we’re celebrating today, and why we are going to take some time to tell stories to each other. What has it meant for you to be a part of Raleigh Mennonite this year? Where have you seen Jesus in one another? What stories do you want to tell to one another?