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NOW YOU SEE HIM, NOW YOU DON'T / FRIENDS JOIN HANDS ON THE JERICHO ROAD
May 11, 2006
 
Today's eMo is really two different meditations on texts that will be read in many churches this Sunday. The first is the usual sermon preparation eMo. The second is intended for preachers who wish to focus their congregations' attention on the Church's ministry to the poor and victims of natural disasters or war, through the work of Episcopal Relief and Development. As with all the eMos, preachers and teachers are welcome to borrow, with the usual attribution. No further permission is necessary.
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Now You See Him, Now You Don't

In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me...
-- John 14:19


Well, that's the truth: the world doesn't see Jesus -- didn't then and doesn't now, for the most part. But then the world isn't looking for him.

People often accuse us of wishful thinking: You guys just think there's a God and that Jesus loves you and that your life has meaning because you want it to be true. This is said with a faint air of triumph, as if a fatal flaw in our thinking has just been unearthed: Aha! You're not disinterested.

Well, yeah. I definitely do want it all to be true. And I'm defnitely not disinterested -- I do want to find Jesus everywhere I look. I've given my life to it, and I have no higher desire.

Are our faith convictions somehow disproved by our commitment to them? They might be if they were scientific experiments, but they are not. They are ways of living one's life, and the proof of them is in the living. They are decisions about whom to follow on a journey we must take anyway, regardless of whose path we travel. There are signposts on all our journeys; I'm looking for the Jesus ones, myself.

And, while there are many roads and many signposts, there is one destination. God is One -- a mighty One, more than capable of bringing any number of people home by any number of paths.
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Watch for Ways of the World, the newest neighborhood on The Geranium Farm. Wall Street economist Carol Stone writes out loud about money and our spiritual and moral decisions about it -- for you and me, for the nation and for the world. It goes live on the site tomorrow, Friday, May 12.

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Acts 8:26-40
or Deuteronomy 4:32-40
1 John 3:(14-17)18-24
or Acts 8:26-40
John 14:15-21
Psalm 66:1-11 or 66:1-8
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And here is the ERD meditation:


Friends Join Hands on the Jericho Road

I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. -- John 14:18

It is Jesus the Christ who says this, the Christ who transcends the local biography of the Jesus of Nazareth who lived and died in first-century Palestine. The one who rose was Jesus, yes. But the people's experience of this Jesus was not what it had been. Much had changed.

Last week, the Diocese of Louisiana and Episcopal Relief and Development announced the Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative, an ambitious plan for the rebuilding of New Orleans' devastated Central City. Jericho Road will build houses in preexisting neighborhoods decimated by the floods, answering in the affirmative the many questions that have been raised since Katrina about the feasibility -- and even the desirability -- of bringing these neighborhoods back to life.

Beginning with the construction of 150 homes, Jericho Road hopes and expects ecumenical partners to join in the work and expand it greatly.

The families who lived in these neighborhoods have been scattered across the country: with family, with friends, with congregations, with kind strangers. Some will not return; they will put down roots in a new place. But many want to come back home.

Home was a simple place, for many of these: they were very poor. And the houses they lived in aren't just broken; they're gone. There will be new houses. The old ones aren't coming back.

Resurrection isn't a restoration of everything we had before. Resurrection is new -- a new birth. The resurrection in which we who support ERD will be privileged to join with the Bishop of Louisiana and his brave parishes will be a new thing, not a resuscitation of the old.

I will not leave you orphaned, Jesus says. This does not mean that the things that happened will be erased: we live in history, and we can't go back in time and undo it. But it does mean that we are not left alone with our sorrows. Together, we feel the Spirit move among us, whenever we join hands and begin our walk toward a common goal.

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To read more about Jericho Road, to learn more about ERD's other work or to make a donation, visit http://www.er-d.org/ or telephone 1-800-334-7626, ext 5129.
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