Easter 3: “Safe Space”
April 26, 2020 – 1 Peter 1:24-25.
He is Risen!
You may have noticed that for the last several weeks, the sermons do not start the same way they have traditionally been starting. I have not been starting by declaring to you “Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” It is not that this greeting is bad, in fact, it is very good, it is Scripture. It is that as times change, meanings of words become lost and need to be translated again so we can understand their meanings. Grace is an undeserved gift from God, specifically, the forgiveness of our sins. Mercy is what happens when you deserve a punishment that you do not end up getting. And peace, well, peace is simply peace, not hostility, resentment, or anger between two people. Therefore, to translate this opening greeting from Scripture a little more for you I will open by declaring to you: Brothers and sisters in Christ, may you get from God the forgiveness you have not deserved, not get the punishment you have, and may you have peace with God through the blood of our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ.
Do you feel safe? Do you feel safe going to the grocery store right now for groceries? Do you feel safe when you go out in public? Do you feel safe being with family you do not live with and having to see them from six feet apart? In this COVID time, do you feel safe?
In many ways, you are not safe (whether you feel it or not).
Hear the words of St. Peter “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls…” (1 Peter 1:24). No one is safe. All will die like grass that withers and fades away. Everyone will die, whether it’s by COVID, a heart attack, cancer, Alzheimer’s, whatever! Some will die with family at their bedside, isolated and alone in the hospital, tragically on the side of the highway in a car accident. And some, as we hear about in the news of our fellow Canadians, will die by a gunman who shoots us in our own home.
We are not safe. Our hearts will stop beating. All health or money in the world will not stop that. All the “glories” of humankind cannot stop it. The strongest body or the smartest mind cannot do a thing. Governments or the “right” government cannot save us either.
People who are not safe, lash out. They shortchange others, they are self-obsessed, stockpile money and resources in order to feel safe. They are not safe. What are the futile things you do to make yourself feel safe?
Ignorance is Bliss
How can we live not lashing out?
How do we live giving? Ever taking risks?
How do we feel safe? Even more, how do we not just feel safe but truly become safe?
We often convince ourselves it is okay. We tell ourselves “the odds are so low, etc.” Getting into a car? How many times have I done it before and been fine? I’m safe. Eating tonnes of bacon instead of having some lettuce? I’ll probably survive.
We tell ourselves stories to feel safe. In order to function in a world full of danger.
How do we find true safety?
How do we have a feeling of safety that never stops because it is real?
How do we find safety from death?
Brothers and Sisters, God’s safety finds us. On the road to Emmaus, two of Jesus’ followers were emotionally lost and scared. Their hope of safety, their hope of the Messiah come to rescue them, had vanished in the crucifixion of Jesus. They were alone and did not believe the news they had heard of His resurrection. Until Jesus, who was with them, preached to Him the good news that He must have, and had, risen. God found them in their fear just as God finds us and brings us His safety in the Word of Jesus’ resurrection for us.
While we are lost in this world withering and fading, the good news is preached to us!
News that God has power over death to make us safe and evidence in Jesus that this news is true… and for You!
In baptism, we have been made imperishable seeds. “What’s imperishable mean again?” You know those cans you are finding in your pantry now? They are considered non-perishable foods because they will last without being in the fridge for a year or more but even these foods will eventually go bad. Imperishable things last forever. We do not know of anything that is truly imperishable, except for you and God’s Word which makes you imperishable. You are an imperishable seed that dies, goes into the ground, but will rise again. You will never cease to live. You will wait in the ground until we rise again together to live at Jesus’ command. The action is a little bit like when the pastor asks us to stand in church and we all rise at the same time. Another way Divine Service is like our rehearsal for our eternal life.
Jesus has given you a safe space. You can function. You can live!
You can “hold space” for others. Holding space is a term used to describe when you are so firmly grounded that you can truly hear and listen to someone in their emotional state and yet still be solidly grounded in your own peace. You can hold space for others not being threatened by things that come against you or opposed to what you know is true in Jesus.
You hold an emotional safe-space for others that points them to the safe-space God has given you.
You are safe in God’s Words that absolve you of your sins. In His supper that cleanses you. In His baptism which washes you clean.
You are His
And may this safety bring you endless bliss.