During her sermon at our most recent diocesan convention, our Bishop asked an interesting question. I’ll paraphrase. “If Jesus were to visit Waterloo tomorrow, where would he be sure to go?” How each of us answers that question says something about whom we believe Jesus is in the world today. It also informs those of us who follow Jesus about what we should be doing in Waterloo.
So, where do you believe Jesus would go in Waterloo? We will play a little music while you consider your answer. (Theme music from Jeopardy plays for one minute.)
Here is my answer: while I am not certain about all the places Jesus would go, two of the places that I’m sure he would visit are the Elizabeth Crossing Apartments and the laundromat on Virginia Street.
In the books of the Prophets, in the Psalms, and in the Gospels, God repeatedly shows interest in the people who are at the margins of society. This does not mean that God is not interested in those of us who are not at the margins of society. God’s love for each of us is intense – you, me, the woman down the block, members of Congress. But God makes a special point of noticing those whom the rest of us may fail to notice. God evens things out. Jesus, following The Father’s example, will do the same.
Of course, it would be wonderful if Jesus were to visit our beautiful, historic church and talk with us. I am sure that he would be impressed with our faithful presence in Waterloo, and that we would be inspired to carry on the work that he began during his earthly ministry. Carrying on that work, however, means that we would need to go to those places in Waterloo where Jesus would go if he were to visit. Jesus would go to the places where he could comfort those who are struggling every day to meet the demands of the world by telling them of God’s love and care for them and by telling them that God would like to provide them with the strength and courage needed to continue their struggle. And Jesus would remind them that, through the promise of eternal life, they and their children have much to look forward to.
It is unlikely that Jesus will be visiting Waterloo anytime soon. He may – Jesus has always had the ability to surprise those around him. But, it seems unlikely. And so the question is: how can we stand in for Jesus and visit these folks to give them what Jesus would give them if he were here. I think that, as a parish, we should be thinking about this and talking about this. Let’s try to do that soon.
Go with God,