Summary: You in me and I in you. Jesus offers us the intimate connection with God -- the connection the whole world craves. It is our joy and opportunity to introduce the hungry world to Jesus who satisfies.
6 Easter A John 14:15-21 5 May 2002
Rev. Roger Haugen
“You in me – I in you”, repeat with me. (several times)
This is Jesus message of good news for us today. “You in me – I in you.” No matter what the future holds, we will not be alone. “You in me – I in you”. We are the body of Christ, we are not alone. “You in me – I in you”. We have purpose and meaning to life because we are loved by God. “You in me – I in you”. We have purpose and meaning to life because God loves us and the natural outcome is that we would love God and love one another. “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” “You in me – I in you”.
I spent Tuesday at the Seminary Study Conference listening to academics talking about Islam. One told of how Islam became such a political force in the Middle East. He told of the dictatorships in the 1950’s who had promised economic growth and jobs for the young people if they were to move to the cities. People moved to the cities and the jobs did not happen. They were angry and felt betrayed. The 1967 War was also an important factor because the entire Arab world was humiliated. That part of the world was faced with millions of people without work, feeling betrayed, looking for meaning to life and wanting to find a way to make a difference in their world. Islam filled the gap, providing purpose and expectations, leadership, a place of community, purpose beyond their meager lives. Here was a structure around to build their lives, a cause to die for.
In many ways this is also a picture of our society today. We have masses of young people congregating in our cities without much hope of satisfying work, seeing little meaning to their lives yet yearning to belong to something beyond themselves, somewhere to put their passion and energy. We were horrified when we discovered a young man from middle class America fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Wanting somehow to make a difference. Young people wanting to be noticed, so they dye their hair green and pierce their bodies. People everywhere are looking for community.
We are told that this is the most spiritual time the world has ever seen. People are looking everywhere for a spiritual connection, to be connected to some power greater than themselves. Our bookstores are full with the latest best seller that promise to connect you to something beyond yourself. People are willing to buy books that expect the most bizarre of discipline in the hope of finding spiritual meaning, a connection beyond their paltry existence. We can buy crystals that will help to channel energy, we read if we drink our own urine daily we will achieve a greater consciousness. Millionares are beingdreative by such claims. People are hungry.
People everywhere are looking for ways to be connected in community in a world that is so isolating. People looking for something meaningful to be a part of, the desire to make a difference in their world. People looking for something worth dying for. Where are they to look, where are they to find the meaning, the hope they crave?
Into such a world comes today’s text. “You in me – I in you.” This is what the world is looking for, this is what the world so desperately seeks. An unbelievable intimate connection with God. Jesus who we believe to be “the Way, the Truth and the Life” comes to us and promises us that we will not be alone, that we will know God, that we will find purpose in sharing the love that we have experienced. A mission worth dying for. “You in me – I in you”.
The tragedy is that the Christian Church as we know it is not even on the radar screen. We sing in our liturgy, “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words to eternal life. Alleluia!” Where does the message get lost? We are sent out into the world to proclaim that in Jesus Christ, we are to find life in all abundance -- love, hope and a future. Why is the message not getting to those who need it the most? Are we having trouble believing it ourselves? Do we need to rediscover, “You in me – I in you”.
When we know that we are loved we will look upon others with grace and acceptance. When we know community, we will want others to know the same community. When we experience God who loves us as we are, the grace that is showered upon us, we will want to share the same with those desperate for the same acceptance.