At the risk of showing the Wizard of Oz hanging out and pulling the levers behind the curtain, I have an admission to make about sermon writing. One of the things which often happens is I (or is it the Scripture?) have more to say than what can be fit into one sermon, at least in our tradition of 15-minute sermons. My preaching professor told us part of the work of writing a sermon is to close doors. We have to shut off avenues of thought so our sermon will be more concise. We have to close rabbit holes so we don’t get bogged down.
I bring this up because there was a particular door which I wished I could have found a way to fit it in there. This door revolves around the last verse of John. “But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (NRSV). What a way to end a Gospel right?
I mean we already hear about the abundance which Jesus’ provides during his life and post-resurrection. I spoke about him feeding abundantly, helping/healing abundantly, and offering Grace abundantly. Why would it surprise us Jesus’ gifts are so large in number they cannot be contained?
The thing though is this passage is not just referring to the things and stories about what Jesus did found in the other canonical Gospels or even the extra-canonical ones (such as the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary). This passage refers to Jesus’ ongoing presence with the community. As Jesus continues to be present with us today (wherever 2 or 3 are gathered), the stories of the things he does for us continue to grow in number. These stories arise out of Jesus’ abiding presence with us as we seek to follow and believe in him.
The world cannot contain the story books of Christ our lives produce as we try to follow his teachings and believe in God’s grace. But why don’t we try? So, what’s your story?