|Easter 5, Year B||April 22, 2018||The Fifth Sunday in Easter, Year B||John 15:1-8|
|Easter 2, Commemoration of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, 2018||April 8, 2018||Easter 2, Commemoration of the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King||Luke 6:27-36, Ephesians 6:10-20|
|Sunrise service, 2018 – “The Road to Emmaus”||April 1, 2018||Easter||Luke 24:13-35|
|Easter Sunday||April 1, 2018||Easter, Year B||John 20:1-18|
|Good Friday||March 30, 2018||Good Friday, Year B||John 18:1-19:42|
|Maundy Thursday, 2018||March 29, 2018||Maundy Thursday, March 29, 2018||John 13:1-17, 31b-35|
|Palm Sunday, Year B||March 25, 2018||Palm Sunday, Year B||Mark 15:1-39, [40-47]|
|➤Lent 5, Year B||March 18, 2018||The Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year B||Psalm 51:1-13, John 12:20-33|
|Lent 4, Year B||March 11, 2018||The Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year B||John 3:16|
|Lent 3, Year B||March 4, 2018||Third Sunday in Lent, Year B||Exodus 20:1-17; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; John 2:13-22; Psalm 19|
|Lent 2, Year B||February 25, 2018||Second Sunday in Lent, Year B||Genesis17:1-7, 15-16; Psalm 22:22-30, Romans 4:13-25; Mark 8:31-38|
|Lent 1, Year B||February 18, 2018||The First Sunday in Lent, Year B||Genesis 9:8-17, Ps 25:1-9, Mark 1:9-15|
|Ash Wednesday, Year B||February 14, 2018||Ash Wednesday, Year B||Isaiah 58:1-12;Psalm 103 or 103:8-14; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10;Matthew 6:1-6,16-21|
|Last Sunday after the Epiphany||February 11, 2018||Last Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||Mark 9:2-9|
|Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany||February 4, 2018||The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||Isaiah 40:21-31; Mark 1:29-39|
Lent 5, Year B
Sermon Date:March 18, 2018
Scripture: Psalm 51:1-13, John 12:20-33
Liturgy Calendar: The Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year B
God is our cosmic cardiologist!
God wants to heal our hearts, but we must make and keep our appointments with God to insure good heart health.
The psalmist realizes that he has a damaged heart, and he’s feeling desperately ill, so he calls calls God, his cardiologist.
“Hello, this is The Psalmist. I need to make an appointment with the doctor.”
“I see that you are already on today’s schedule. The doctor has been waiting on you. Can you come in now?”
“Great! I’ll be right there.”
So the psalmist shows up at God’s office and doesn’t even have to wait. The receptionist shows him into the examination room, which stretches out of sight, the most beautifully sunlit woodlands, bluebells blooming under the trees, the blue sky a backdrop for some wispy clouds high above, a stream of pure water rushing and singing along through the trees. The air, being circulated by a cool breeze, is so fresh and pure that the psalmist finds himself inhaling deeply, and the song of birds echoes through the tree branches high above.
God comes in, bringing a whole eternity of full attention to offer to the psalmist.
God looks at the psalmist with the deepest gaze of love and waits for him to speak.
And finally the psalmist does speak.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirt within me.”
And then the whole tale comes pouring out as God listens.
The psalmist knows that he has made some mistakes that are negatively affecting his heart. So he tells God about all that stuff, what he describes as sin and transgressions that are always before him, the heart clogging stuff that can lead to a heart attack unless it is treated. In fact, the psalmist says to God, “I feel that I am sick through and through.”
God has now heard the diagnosis. Now God waits to hear whether or not the psalmist has any idea what treatment is needed.
And the psalmist, who must have googled heart disease on the heavenly internet, does have some treatments in mind, and tells God what he thinks he needs to get better.
“I need your mercy, your loving-kindness, your compassion. I need you to wash out this heart clogging stuff that has taken over. Please, purge it out of my body. I need your wisdom. And God, this disease has affected my hearing. I want to hear joy and gladness again. For a long time, all I’ve been able to hear is the loud racket of negativity. I need you to make me new, and most of all, I need the assurance that you are always with me.”
When God hears this, God smiles. The space around the Psalmist grows brighter. The psalmist can hear the spine tingling music of the spheres. The psalmist’s heart starts to swell, to beat hopefully. The psalmist waits for God to speak,
to explain what the medication is going to be, and how often the psalmist should take it.
To the psalmist’s surprise, God says nothing, but as God’s smile widens, God draws something on a prescription pad and hands it to the psalmist.
On the piece of paper, the psalmist sees only a cross, and in the center of the cross is a heart, a human heart.
The psalmist cannot stop staring at this image. As he trains his puzzled and penetrating gaze on the paper, he sees that the heart is beating and from it pours a healing love like he has never felt before. It’s as if this heart is reaching out, enveloping him in such peace, such acceptance, such grace! The heart is warm, and alive in his hand.
The psalmist feels himself relaxing, feels his heartbeat matching up with the eternal health giving rhythm of the heart God has handed to him. He feels the sludge that has damaged his heart being transformed. He can feel new, lifegiving blood, carrying divine oxygen, flowing through his body.
After a long while, the psalmist realizes that he is no longer holding the heart, but that the heart in his hand has merged with his own. The psalmist looks up and sees that God is still there, throbbing with wild joy. As if they are one, the two stand. The psalmist follows God out of the examination area and back through the waiting room.
And in the waiting room the psalmist sees countless numbers of people. He sees people who must have lived in the earliest shadows of time, he sees people he knows, he sees people that have died and returned to dust, he sees people who will live long after him and who have yet to be born stretching out into a great, unfathomable space—all the people who have ever lived, who are living, and who will live.
They are all there, waiting for their appointments with God.
The psalmist instantly knows that God has drawn everyone here—and that they are all here to receive the saving help of the cross, living, beating, new life giving hearts, and the sustenance of God’s bountiful Spirit.
God is our cosmic cardiologist.
When we call, God will tend to us immediately, no questions asked. Just please, come right now.
And when we ask for clean hearts and a right spirit, God will give us what we ask, through the saving help of the cross.
Jesus said to those who heard God’s voice come from heaven that day in Jerusalem, that “God’s voice has come for your sake. When I am lifted up on the cross, all of the things that make you sick will be driven out. And I will draw all people to myself.”
God will draw us, and all people, and creation itself, through Jesus, into God’s own eternally loving, beating heart.
All we have to do is to make that appointment with God and to keep it.