Sermon: “Locks and Bagels”
Rev. Glenn G. Grant
Kirkridge Presbyterian Church
Transcription from April 24, 2022
Sermon transcription is automatically generated. Please forgive any grammatical errors.
Life is full of surprises. Think about what it would have been like to have been one of the disciples. After the crucifixion you're not sure what really is going on. You know that there are a lot of people in the temple hierarchies that are really upset, whether it's because there's still these followers of Jesus out there, or because there's this rumor that Jesus didn't stay in the tomb. But they’re upset. And so as a result, the disciples are behind locked doors behind locked doors. Now we're all probably fairly familiar with this story. You know, we even have a thing that we refer to somebody that doesn't believe what we're telling them is a doubting Thomas because of this story.
You ever wonder why we don't have a denying Peter? I mean, we don't refer to Peter is denying Peter, but we referred to Thomas as doubting Thomas. So we have kind of this uneven treatment a little bit here, but this story is all about Jesus appearing to his disciples, not once, but twice behind locked doors. And we always talk about that. And I remember in seminary, there was this big discussion about whether Jesus was a ghost or not.
You know, we've got this ghost that kind of appears inside of locked doors and inside of four walls. And was he a ghost? Well, if you put your, if you could put your fingers in the nail prints in his hands and your hand and his side, he had to be a physical presence. So there was this big theological discussion about whether Jesus was a ghost or not only seminarians would have that discussion.
What we miss in this whole story, it's another little piece of it. You know, part of this goes right along with a Psalm where. It talks about the rulers of this earth, having all these plans. And in the words of the Psalmist, it says the Kings of your shall rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed saying, let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.
And then the one in throne laughs. Then the one enthrones in heaven laughs and the Lord scuffs. God must laugh at us a lot, you know, because we go to church on Sundays and we are behind closed doors well we keep our eyes open. But you know, a lot of places you go and the doors to the sanctuary are closed during worship, or at least the doors outside of the building or on the outside of the building are closed during worship.
And we really don't expect Jesus to show up in the middle of this. And I think God laughs at us and we forget about the rest of that passage. And that's the part that comes later in our reading from the gospel where Jesus said to them, go, go, go. I am sending you out to share the good news. I am sending you out.
And if you forgive someone they're forgiven and if you retain their sentence, they're retained and I am sending you out. And yet in the churches today, we have this tendency to stay in. We want to stay in, we like going to church where we know everybody's name you know it’s like, cheers. You want to go where everybody knows your name and what's that that's okay.
God sends us out. Just as Christ was sending out his disciples, we're not supposed to stay inside of locked doors. That's not the way the church works. The church is only the church when the church is the being the body of Christ. And that doesn't mean that you're all in a room together.
It means that we are doing what Christ would do. It means that we are out being the body of Christ community around us, taking the good news of the resurrection to everyone around us, not just by walking up to them and saying have you been saved today? But by sharing the grace and love and peace that is the message of Easter, the hope that we have in a resurrected Christ. If we can't help instill that kind of hope in other people, if we're not working to do that, then we're sitting behind locked doors. And that is not what the scripture calls us to be doing.
The thing that most churches do and are doing right now is struggling with how to get people back in the doors after COVID. How do we get people back in the doors after COVID and I think that's the wrong attitude. I think what we need to be looking at is how do the ones of us that have been back, go out more? How do we do more out?
We need to go out. We need to find ways of reaching out. And one thing that that affects is our priorities as to how we do things as a church. We sponsor a scout troop. We invite the Scouts to come and join us for scout Sunday, every February. How many other times do we invite them to be with us? Hmm, maybe we need to do that more. We have people that come here and rent our building for lifeline screening. Wouldn't it be nice if there was somebody from the church that was here, welcoming them? And what's even more here is that God is calling or Jesus is telling his disciples that you are now going to have to be you. You are going to have to be what I've been just as Kathy and Alicia, and Kim have stepped up to be what Lauri would have been this morning with one queuing to music and one hitting the right notes for our hymn and one kind of directing and trying to keep everybody on time.
You see the church, isn't a person just as the message of God wasn't just Jesus. What it is, all of those who carry it out to the world. It is those who carry it out to the world. It's those who step up and say, I am part of this and I am going to do what I can to help get the message out.
And I know that I have said this before, because Justin told me that they had discussion on their way here this morning and it was brought up and he said, that's something pastor grant says! You ever want to know if God's got a sense of humor? Tell God your plans. Talk about your plans.
I'm wondering because Lauri and I struggled with what we were going to do for this morning's worship service. It wasn't really until just a week ago that it came together and normally we've got all the hymns, rewritten and everything else, weeks in advance because we'll have one night where we're both clicking on it and we'll be texting back and forth late at night.
What if we do this? All right, that's great. What do we, and this year we struggled with it. And maybe that was because God knew that Laurie wasn't going to be available today. Just maybe, but you know what? God had other plans for the way we worshiped. This congregation can sing acapella! You did it. The choir can sing without somebody up there necessarily.
And then we've got poor Jeff over here trying to hold down both the tenor and bass part, but people step up and God is calling us to step out. So as we go through our week, there is a challenge for each and every one of us to get out there and see what we are doing in our lives to help spread the good news and to help people understand that the cares and troubles of this world don't get the last laugh.
They don't get the last laugh. God's had that laugh and will keep it. That's God's privilege and we get to laugh along. We get to laugh along. So I dare you to walk past me with a frown on your face. When you walk out of here today, I dare you to do it. And I know a couple of you will do it just to call my bluff.
But you won't be able to keep it, because God laughs at the foibles of our world, let us pray.