Summary: Get into the wheelbarrow!
OR, SMB and IC 24-04-05
I would like to focus on the first verse of the Gospel reading today – the verse in which Jesus said:
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me (Jn 14:1)
Have you ever wondered why Jesus didn’t say
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me”
There is, in my opinion, a vast difference between believing in and trusting in Christ.
Because God isn’t interested in us simply believing in God - because that doesn’t require any action.
Let me explain what I mean:
Story: In the late 19th century (1859), Blondin a famous tightrope walker had a tightrope placed across the Niagara Falls.
He then proceeded to walk across it with a wheelbarrow in front of him.
When he reached the other side, he stepped down to the applause of the crowd.
He went up to members of the crowd and asked: "Do you believe that I can walk back on that rope without falling off?" "Yes" they each replied.
"Do you really believe I can make" he asked. "Yes" they replied. "We’ve just seen you do it"
"Then" said Blondin "get into the wheelbarrow.
"Not a chance" they replied "It is far too dangerous".
This is the difference between believing in and trusting in.
We might believe that Christ can provide all our needs. Stepping into the wheelbarrow means we are really prepared to trust him to provide for our needs.
Story: I was in Florida when Pope John Paul II died – and for the next three days up to the day of his funeral, the news channels reported on nothing else
One small story however caught my eye.
Pope John Paul didn’t have a very easy life as a young man. By 1942, when he was 21, he must have viewed the future as very bleak indeed. By that time he was the last remaining member of his family. His mother died in 1929, his brother in 1932 and his father in 1941. On top of that he was forced to work in a quarry and then in a chemical factory to avoid being deported by the Nazis.
He could have despaired – but he didn’t. Instead he heard the call of God and he trusted it – so much so that he trained clandestinely for the priesthood – when it was dangerous to do so in Poland.
He didn’t just believe God was calling him – he trusted God to look after him too
He gotr into Jesus’ wheelbarrow!
If you are anything like me, you will worry.
So much so that Maddy has a saying:
“Why pray when you can worry”
So often I think that by worrying about a problem, I can solve it. And I very rarely do!
And it is to those crippling fears – those fears that trouble our hearts - that Jesus addresses in the Gospel reading.
Although the disciples did not know it, their world was going to be turned upside down within the space of a few days.
Jesus - in whom they had put their hopes, was going to be taken from them.
He would be arrested within a few hours and executed a day or so later.
They were going to be fleeing for their lives.
Peter, Jesus’ boldest follower was going to deny him three times – not because he did not love Jesus but because he feared for his life. His heart was troubled.
And, of course, we know the end of the story.
Although it looked like the end of the road for Jesus and his followers, we know that Jesus rose again – an event we celebrate at Easter. He appeared to his disciples and encouraged them.
And he gave his disciples His Holy Spirit to enable them to have no fear in preaching the Gospel - an event that we commemorate at Whitsun (or Pentecost).
Fear takes the peace out of our lives.
No wonder Jesus said so often to the disciples: “Peace be with you” (e.g. Lk 24:36, Jn. 20:19, 21, 26)
The key to this peace is to trust in God the Father and in Jesus too.
And Jesus not only taught his disciples to trust God, he modelled what he taught too.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, he said: Father if you are willing take this cup from me, yet not my will but yours be done. (Lk 22:42)
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me (Jn 14:1).
I was very touched by the poem that the Queen Mother chose for her own funeral. I think it expresses her Christian faith beautifully.
Let me read it to you.