January 19, 2020
The Second Sunday after Epiphany
(1 Corinthians 1:1-9; John 1:29-34)
(Note to self: Read John 1:29-41)
For today’s sermon, has a blend of outside sources as well as my own for a creative touch.
Pick a destination.
After deciding how you’re going to get there, you then need to decide where you’re going to stay.
Now days, if you spend less than $100 per night at a hotel, you’re probably staying at a low-budget chain motel.
However, our modern times a traveler has options not available 20 years ago. In the sharing economy, we can find online platforms that connect us with people willing to share a room or an entire house, and usually at a price far below a commercial facility.
The leading disrupter of the hospitality industry is Airbnb. The company was conceived after its founders put an air mattress in their living room to offset the high cost of rent in San Francisco, effectively turning their apartment into a bed and breakfast. Airbnb is a shortened version of its original name, AirBedandBreakfast.com.
Today, a little more than 10 years after its humble beginnings, Airbnb is valued at more than $30 billion, and has booked tens of millions of overnight stays for its hosts around the world.
Today, Jesus is asked, “Where are you staying?” Jesus says, “Come and see.”
Jesus extends an invitation to his new friends to check out where he’s staying!
So, what does Jesus’ guest house look like? It certainly is not his own house. Indications are that he was like many millennials today. He lived with his parents until he was 30.
Maybe he rented an Airbnb in Capernaum and it is to this house that he invites his new friends.
Or, maybe Mary and Joseph had a rental down by the sea. Probably not.
This is an unusual situation in which Jesus is the host.
Other times, he is the guest or he’s inviting himself to someone’s house (Zacchaeus). In Revelation, he’s knocking on the door, trying to wrangle a dinner invitation (3:20).
Here, as the host, he extends the invitation to “come and see.”
So, for fun, let’s explore a little about this.
If Jesus were the guest, what might it look like. What would that look like? First, there’s no problem with the wine. As long as we have a nice bottle of Perrier, Voss or Evian, Jesus can take care of the rest.
But we’d need to make sure there’s bread. And what about furniture? Do we eat on the floor? Foot-washing? “Uh, Jesus, generally we just try to wash our hands before the meal … with soap. But, certainly, if you would like to pass on this ritual, that is entirely your choice.”
And we’d want to find Grandma’s Bible, and dust it off and have it lying around casually on a table … with a bookmark in it, maybe even opened to John 3.
Put up a cross? Maybe. Could be touchy … bad taste? Hmmm…. Gaming consoles? Pull out that game about the Pharisees and Sadducees, called Broods of Vipers — the one with tombs full of dead people’s bones. Jesus might like to play that one.
Setting the table. Plate ware, silverware. Try to look the other way if he chooses to not use the silverware.
Conversation. What do we talk about? “Hey, did you catch that chariot race?” The weather? Or small talk? “So, you were born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, eh?”
What to eat? Oh, you have some leftover fish (2?) and five slices of bread. Perfect! Wash it down with a nice merlot. And olives. Everything about olives. Olive oil. But avoid “virgin” or “extra virgin.” Maybe black out those words with a magic marker. Can’t be too careful. Maybe not necessary. Better to be safe.
Figs. Crackers and hummus. Falafel?
Would you play cards? Maybe not, given how he knows everything …
And would you pray? Do you even know the Lord’s Prayer? How awkward to have a brain cramp at the wrong time. You don’t want to sound like Sister Mary Clarence in Sister Act. “Bless us, oh Lord, and these thy gifts ... and, yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of no food, I shall fear no hunger. We want you to give us this day our daily bread ... and to the republic for which it stands ... by the power vested in me, I now pronounce us, ready to eat. Amen.”
What would you wear? Anything as long as it’s long and covers everything …
Now what, on the other hand, would we do if we were invited as a guest into Jesus’ home? Maybe we should research this.
In the gospels, Jesus is host three times. The first time is in this text before us today. He tells two of his future disciples to “come and see” where he’s staying.
The next time is when he tells his disciples to go prepare for then dine with Our Lord in what we now call the Last Supper. The first hosting experience was at the start of his ministry; the second, just before he died.
And finally, there is a post-resurrection scene in Galilee in which Jesus hosts a fish breakfast: “Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realized it was the Lord.” (John 21:12).
So, Jesus is host three times: (1) When Jesus calls the disciples: (2) before Jesus lays down his life; and (3) before he leaves this earth.
First hosting experience (Capernaum): Key words: “Come and see.”
Second hosting experience (Last Supper): Key words: “Go and prepare.”
Third hosting experience (Galilee): Key words: “Come and dine (have breakfast).”
Come and see - When Jesus says to Peter and Andrew, “Come and see,” he establishes a motif for our ministry as Christians, and the message for the work of the church. It is an essentially inviting and welcoming ministry.
This is what the church does. It invites and it welcomes. This is who Christians are. They are inviting and welcoming. We don’t coerce; we commend. We don’t impose; we invite. We don’t wrestle and wrangle; we welcome. We don’t threaten; we tempt and tease. We don’t lampoon; we love.
The mission of the church and our responsibility as followers of Jesus is — not to tell people to go to the church down the street where they might be more comfortable; not to judge people as to their eternal destiny; not to judge them according to race, gender, political allegiances, sexual orientation, their taste in tattoos or music or what team they’re rooting for in the Super Bowl.
Jesus encourages us to follow his example as a host: Be inviting and welcoming. Three words. “Come and see.” This is all that we need to say to those who are seeking a deeper, more meaningful experience of life.
Go and prepare - As the Passover drew near, the disciples want to know what Jesus has planned. Jesus indicates that he will be the host of the Passover meal, but that he needs some help. So, he asks the disciples to help him with transportation and venue. He tells them to “Go and prepare.” And this is precisely what the disciples do: They find him a donkey and an upper room.
In Luke, his specific instructions are, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover” (22:8). In other words, not only are we to welcome others to the meal, we are asked to prepare the meal itself!
Jesus is the host. But we’re in the kitchen. Jesus has done the shopping. But we’re doing the cooking. We have the ingredients, but we have to prepare the meal.
Too often, the meal we invite others to sample is not too tasty. Perhaps it’s dry, under-cooked, over-cooked, stale, unfamiliar, odiferous, bland, over-salted or too spicy.
Jesus asks us to “Go and prepare.” This is an invitation to thoughtful consideration of what our guests will need and appreciate.
One interesting note: Jesus asks us to “Go and prepare,” and he also says that he, in turn, will “Go and prepare.” See John 14:3. He will go and prepare “a place for you.” It’s not exactly quid pro quo, but the implication is clear: “You go and prepare and I will go and prepare a place for you.” (Probably equally as clear as that someone in the White House!)
Come and dine - Finally, Jesus acts as host in Galilee when he invites his disciples to a fish breakfast. This call to “come and dine” is the logical, third step in the discipleship process. First, we invite; then we prepare the meal; and now, we call people to dinner — to sit down and partake of the fellowship and nutrients that will feed their souls and more.
It is the “and more” part that is interesting. It is well-known that many business deals are sealed over dinners. Meals are often occasions when planning, preparation, future-thinking, decisions and proposals are made.
It is no different here. Jesus is handing out jobs.
The most challenging interview is with Peter. As they’re munching on tilapia, Jesus asks Peter about his future employment plans. You know how this goes. After a brief period of confusion, Peter gets his commission. He will “feed the sheep and the lambs” and it will cost him his life.
Jesus invites us to have a meal with him. Not just the meal we know as the Eucharistic Meal. The meal we have with Jesus is, of course, a figurative one. It is to enter into an experience of closeness and union with the Lord so that we know his will for us and are strengthened to do it.
In this study, we have taken a look at Jesus. He is more than an Airbnb host, of course. But no doubt when we invite people to come and see, go and prepare and come and dine, they are going to check the reviews. What are other people saying?
Five stars? Three stars? Or no stars? As the host, Jesus shows us how to be welcoming and how to prepare the meal. And, then, we seal the deal: We invite others to “come and dine.”
Let us pray.
In today’s gospel we hear from John the Baptist that he was inspired by God to proclaim to the world that Jesus was His Chosen One. We pray that, by our words and actions, we too are committed and active witnesses for Jesus and his message of salvation. We pray to the Lord.
That we as Christians will “Come and see;” “Go and prepare;” and “Come and dine” in our lives each day, so that we may be prepared that we might host Jesus in our fellow man. We pray to the lord.
We pray those for migrants, refugees and strangers who have sought a new beginning in our country that they may experience generosity, kindness and freedom to live among us as brothers and sisters. We pray to the Lord.
We pray for all those, particularly women and children, who have had to leave their homes because of domestic violence, that they may receive understanding, care, shelter and love in our community. We pray to the Lord.
We remember today our homeless, those in temporary accommodation and those who sleep rough on our streets and doorways. We pray that the Irish people show generosity, kindness and support to them and that they have safe and warm shelter in these particularly cold and wet times. We pray to the Lord.
We pray for the elderly and particularly for those living alone, that they may experience care, security and community support in their homes. We pray to the Lord.
As we commence Christian Unity Week, we pray that we and those in all churches and Christian denominations be united in prayer and work for justice. We pray to the Lord.
That as we continue our building and repairs a benefactor or benefactors will be led to our humble parish as we look to obtain the funding needed to finish the rectory and necessary repairs. We pray to the Lord.
For those on our parish prayer list, that they may find consolation through Christ’s healing presence. We pray to the Lord.
We bow our heads and remember in silence our own personal intentions and the intentions of those who have asked for our prayers (pause). We pray to the Lord.
Gracious God, you have enriched and enlightened us by the revelation of your eternal Christ. Comfort us in our mortality and strengthen us to walk the path of your desire, so that by word and deed we may manifest the gracious news of your faithfulness and love.
Holy Father, Father of Christ who asked the disciples, “What are you looking for,” and who offered the invitation to “Come and See,” open our hearts to what you reveal and give us the courage to follow. By your Spirit aid us in our journey, so that like John, our words and deeds point to the Lamb of God. For those who are suffering, let us point to Christ through comfort. For those who are hungry, let us point to Christ through bread. For those in the grip of despair, let us point to Christ through hope.
Almighty God, whose Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, is the Light of the World: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshiped and obeyed to the ends of the earth. We pray all this in the name of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.
God Love You +++
++ The Most Rev. Robert Winzens
Pastor – St. Francis Chapel
San Diego, CA.