Who is the most famous person you have ever met? Who is the most important person you know and have a relationship with? (Isn’t it fun, sometimes, to play the name-dropping game?) So, of all the important people that you know, which one(s) would you turn to in time of need?
Motivators, strategists and business-career planners tell us that one of the most important tasks in life is to build “networks” or connections with other persons that might be able to help us at some point in our life. Have you ever thought of YOURSELF as one of the answers to the two questions I just asked? Truthfully, each of us are important to someone else! Each of us are a part of someone’s network of friends, family and acquaintances. And frankly, as a Christian disciple of Jesus, we are an important connection to one another. In fact, the more our faith grows and matures, the more we discover that we need one another and need to be connected to one another. Jesus is our connection to him, and to each other!
I remember when I went to Ukraine and Israel that I had to take a universal electrical adapter with me so I could charge my phone and other electrical devices. Without my adaptor, I was powerless! Jesus is our universal adapter that helps us to connect, and stay connected with Him and each other!
Our 2019 Lenten season series of messages is all about how well we see God in our lives and especially for today, how well do we see how God has been and is at work in us, through us and all around us? As we spend time discerning our own faith life identifying our strengths and our weaknesses, we also want to look at the hard aspects of faith too: suffering, wisdom, our calling as a disciple of Jesus and the ways that God is at work in us. Today let’s ponder our calling as a priest.
Today’s two passages of scripture reminds us 1) of the truth that Jesus is our High Priest, and, 2) that we are called to be a part of the priesthood of all believers.
As our High Priest, Jesus represents us before God; he offers the ultimate sacrifice for us; he teaches and rebukes us to help us become more holy and Jesus reminds us of our own calling as Christ’s representative in the world every day.
Jesus is our true High Priest! Even though Jesus is God, he still had to experience the deepest parts of our humanness: struggles and sufferings. Have you noticed that some of the most meaningful lessons of life were gained through struggle and suffering?
Our biggest struggle in life began when we wanted to move, so we crawled. It might have been painful at times – but we were moving! While we crawled, we saw neat things, new things, exciting things. Some of life’s best lessons are learned on our knees!
Jesus learned about humanity through his times of struggling and suffering too, yet through it all, he never sinned, he never fell to temptation and he never lost sight of his call as our savior and priest. We learn the lessons of holiness when we lean upon Jesus during those times of struggle and suffering and become more connected to Jesus through this common experience. And here is the good news: Jesus overcame his struggles and suffering and through him, we can too!
Our great High Priest now calls us to be his priest in the world. Just like Philip and Andrew in the scripture lesson were able to connect the Greek persons to Jesus, we also are invited to become connectors of Jesus to others. Who, in your circle of connection, your network of family, friends and acquaintances needs you to help them to connect with Jesus? This is our priestly calling and challenge. And the Lenten season is the best time of the year to evaluate our calling to evangelism and our role in connecting others with Jesus.
Holy Communion is a meal all about connection. We celebrate our connection to Jesus every time we come to the Lord’s table. We experience grace and mercy again as we partake of this holy meal.
We also connect with Jesus’ suffering when we come to the table. Here we acknowledge our own needs, concerns, hurts, struggles and sufferings and it is at the table that we are reminded that Christ overcame the world through his reliance upon the Father. We overcome through our reliance on Jesus and the Holy Spirit!
This meal reminds us that we are Jesus’ priests in the world and are called to bring others to Jesus too – even when we’re not sure what we are doing (like Philip and Andrew were).
Come celebrate the joy of our connection – your connection with Jesus. Come priests of Jesus Christ! Experience his grace again. Receive his mercy again. And as we go from this place today, may others see in us, our High Priest!