The great question of this hour is ‘What does belief look like?’
We find Jesus this morning in John chapter 5 in the aftermath of a healing. The religious leaders are pissed that Jesus would have the audacity to heal on the Sabbath. The audacity of the healing was that Jesus left the boundaries of what one was supposed to believe and the rules that one was supposed to follow.
Jesus’ leaving such boundaries allowed the lame to walk. Do you think the lame man cared what day it happened on? Can you imagine the lame man looking at Jesus and saying, ‘Why in the world would you heal me on the Sabbath?’
Leaving the boundaries of religion or what was supposed to be believed allowed for a healing.
There are many of you who have been tremendously hurt by religion. Know that you have a tremendous amount in common with Jesus…who was consistently hurt and called into question by religion and the boundaries of his day. Yet Jesus consistently left boundaries in order to experience love and give healing.
There was the gift of love. Jesus loved the lame man and the religious rule keepers. Jesus sought to show them what belief looked like through love and action. No one is ever going to believe anything you or this community says until we learn how to love each other and love the community. You see the value of a spiritual community is not what teaching we can provide, but rather what love we can provide to each other and to the world.
What does belief look like? Love. What does love look like? You and me connecting with us and them. Surely you didn’t think you could get to God without going through your neighbor did you?
To be quite honest, I do not believe that God or love can be experienced outside of community.
While Jesus gives a tremendous testimony of faith in the second half of chapter 5, I am wondering what the lame man was talking about right around this time.
We have a tremendous amount of skeptics in this room who will not allow themselves to experience anything that exists outside the boundaries of what they would call normal or scientifically provable. Can you imagine if that was the feeling of the lame man? Walking around and constantly asking himself, ‘Am I really walking? Surely I am not really walking? I know I am not walking. I can’t actually be walking.’ This sounds ludicrous.
So too does it sound ludicrous when we spend our days questioning our healing experiences with love and God.
Belief looks like accepting what is.
Jesus gives a tremendous testimony in the face of long odds. Love is here to replace a system of broke down laws and judgments.
The Church at Mable Peabody’s exists in the face of long odds. We exist to declare that love is here to replace the systemic broke down laws and judgments of the religious and non-religious alike.
Belief looks like replacing law with love.
Friends, together we have been granted the ability to walk…the ability to run. May we stop walking or running around…asking or thinking, ‘Surely this is not real?’
Just be healed. Just believe. Just love. Just run.