Sermon of 4th Sunday Matthew 8:5-13 2023/07/02 Osaka Church
In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit
One day I asked the children of our church, “Do you know where God lives?” They all looked at me with a blank stare, but I heard one little boy say, in a small voice that sounded unsure, “A far away place.”
In a sense, that is a pretty good answer.
But really, it is even further than “far away.”
Our Lord Jesus Christ came from a “place” that cannot be described with words like “far away,” from a place that cannot be described with words like”place”. He is God, but He became man, and came all the way across the far, far gap between the Creator and the created, to come to us, to come for us, to save us from the pain, affliction, and sadness we suffer.
One day, as Jesus was walking through the city, a Roman centurion came to him and asked him to help his servant who was suffering at home from a serious illness. Jesus immediately said, “Then I will go to your house and cure him”. The captain panicked. He said, “I cannot have such an honorable man as you come to my house. Pray here, and his illness will be cured”.
Jesus marveled. He had never seen such unwavering faith among the Israelites, who prided themselves on being God’s chosen people. Then he told the captain. “You believe that there is nothing I cannot do. That is truly an admirable faith. Go home and see your servant”.
When Jesus said that, the servant’s illness was cured.
Christ came from “farther away than far away. Not only for this sick servant. It is for all of us.
But let us not forget that the captain also came to visit Christ. He could not have come from far away. It could have been the captain’s house just a short walk around the corner there. And yet, the captain “came” too. Even if it was only a short walk. To meet Jesus, who had “come”. To meet the “coming” Christ. To meet the God who had “come”.
We, too, must walk, even if only a little bit, to get to Jesus.
The best place to meet Jesus is in the church. But there is a place where God is even closer than the church. It is “nearer” than “near”. “Near” and “place” are human words. We can only be sure of where that place is by the “events” of our hearts.
I will not tell you where it is today. If I told you, it would not be true. But if we continue to gather in church and receive the Eucharist, we will one day know where the “place” is. That wonderful event, that experience, will drive away solitude, fear, and hatred from us.