Presbyterian, Methodist, Church of Christ

Greymouth Uniting Church

Because I live, You live!

Readings: Psalms 66:8-20, Acts 17:22-31, 1 Peter 3:13-22, John 14:15-21.

What is living? What is life?

Animated; Active; Functioning; Full-of-Life; Spark; Real; Conscious; Experience; Place; Potential.

In both Aramaic and Hebrew: "Hayye" means

  • The sacred life force, the primal energy that pervades all of nature and the universe
  • The sense of right direction and the life force to travel it

Much of Jesus' teaching, much of Jewish teaching, much of Paul's teaching is about living with respect and consideration towards everyone in their lives, including those who may oppose them or be different. They are to leave the judging of intentions and actions to God and get on with their responsibility to serve the other, love God and neighbour, build community.

Our gospel reading today repeats the thinking that loving Jesus is the same as keeping his commandments. And I struggle with this mainly because of my understanding of obedience and of commandment. "I was only doing as I was told" sort of thing to justify nasty stuff. In my reading around for today I learned that the Aramaic understanding of commandment more like the standard we hold ourselves to and measure our actions against - a sense of review, or in today's world, an audit.

So what does "Jesus living" look like?

What are the commandments or standards or examples is Jesus is referring to that his followers need to keep, to both show love and be loved?

And we know what they are because he told his followers, who have told us.

  • Love God and love your neighbour as yourself.
  • Demonstrate care
  • Have a sense of awe and worship
  • Be part of community and the wider world
We know how it goes - and we know that sometimes it's easy enough to do things to these standards and that sometimes it definitely is not. Jesus shows us that it can be costly, other people in other times and other places have paid prices we can only consider with awe and horror.

Love God, and love your neighbour as yourself

What does this look like? Here; everyday; in other places - what do we know?

What gives us the motivation or power to do it?

Jesus tells us that we are not on our own in measuring up, in living his life. We will be given the Advocate, the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth who will be as Jesus' presence with us, God's presence with us, and who will be the revelation of God and Jesus in us.

Our readings at present are leading up to Pentecost - to the powerful coming of the Holy Spirit to the early followers and which is often seen as being the birth of the Church. And yet, Pentecost would not be possible without the resurrection experiences of the followers, the Easter understandings that the disciples gained through that most difficult of times.

Martin B Copenhaver, senior pastor of Wellesley Congregational Church in Massachusetts wrote:

Whatever else the disciples would come to understand about what had happened, they knew from the start that the resurrection was not simply about what happened to Jesus; it is about what happens to all who trust in Jesus, and about what can happen to all who claim this story as their own.

The resurrection is not simply the assurance that Jesus was victorious over death; it is also a promise that we can share that victory with him. The resurrection does not mean only that Jesus was triumphant over evil; it also assures us that evil will not be ultimately triumphant in our own lives.

The resurrection is a promise offered to all. Jean Vianny said of Easter: "Today one grave is open and from it has risen a sun which will never be obscured, which will never set, a sun which bestows new life."

So what now for us?

It is in the everyday living of everyday people who use the commandments of Jesus as their standard that Jesus lives

  • that others receive his loving actions
  • that others receive healing touch
  • that others hear his good news
This is the stuff of building relationships and community; of promoting harmony and justice, of encouraging change and inclusiveness.

Because we live, Jesus lives.