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[Sermon] Here's My Heart

Pastor Hector Garfias-Toledo + April 4, 2024 + Second Sunday of Easter

In his sermon for the Second Sunday of Easter, Pastor Hector explores the ongoing relevance of the resurrection narrative, urging listeners to transcend personal fears and societal norms. Through reflections on Peter's journey and Jesus' call to "feed my sheep," he inspires a commitment to revolutionary love and societal transformation in the face of injustice and despair.


From automatically generated captions via YouTube, with punctuation and paragraphs added by ChatGPT.

Grace to you and peace from God, our creator, and the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Last week we were talking about the resurrection, as David reminded us. We were talking of the resurrection as an event, as the event of that day, as the event that came to disrupt the whole system of political, economic, and religious at that time. When I was thinking of last Sunday's message and thinking about the message that the resurrection brings, remember I told you that I like to see the resurrection as something that goes beyond just a holiday in the calendar of the world or in the calendar of the East country. But to see this life-changing event for the entire creation.

I also remember the words of Oscar Romero, Archbishop Oscar Romero, and I think that this is connected with what I want to reflect with you for a few more minutes. When he was threatened that he was going to be killed because of the work that he was doing to liberate people in El Salvador, he replied to those threats by saying, if they kill me, I shall arise in the Salvadoran people. And not that I want to compare Oscar Romero with Jesus, but I think that the message that it conveys is that the movement continues, that they want to stop, that this is not something that happened one time and ends there. The movement continues. And I think that that's what I want to reflect with you this morning.

As I said during the event of the resurrection, the women and Peter were they experienced this driving force that led them to go to the tomb out of doubt or out of belief. Doesn't matter. It doesn't matter why they went when the point was that they went and they experienced the portentous event of God through the spirit bringing Jesus to life and to resurrect. But now the question is for us and for them, perhaps at that time was, what does this movement of the resurrection people is expected to be. Why do we keep singing? And how may that song that we keep singing may sound?

I believe that the sound of the song that we keep singing as a resurrection people, it is the sound of the new order of life that leads us to fall upward once again. Jesus finds the disciples. Jesus finds us in our life where we are as we were heard today, in that sense of denial and that sense of going back to what he used to do, his constant, reckless, never-ending love finds us even when we go astray or hopeless or wondering, as David said. And he just took this part of my message. And now I don't know what to do, but let me try.

The story that we read today is a summary, as he was saying, the story that we heard today kind of circles back to that where we started our journey in this wandering hearts. Remember that we started at the beach with Jesus finding the disciples where Jesus does a miracle, where Jesus calls Peter, and Peter jumps out of the boat.

This time Jesus finds them on the beach. Jesus performs the miracle and Peter jumps out of the boat. And this time he doesn't sink. But I believe that he's running on the water because the Bible doesn't say so. I want to think that now. This time he's running on the water or swimming. Doesn't the author of the gospel doesn't say? The point is, he gets to Jesus. And then as these five were supposed to work this morning to reminds us that they have a meal, an affirmation of who they are, a call to follow again. Do you love me? Says Jesus. Three times. Ask the same question. Peter responds, yes, Lord, I love you. And Jesus responds, feed my lambs. Tend my sheep, feed my sheep.

Now, I don't know how you when you read the Bible, but when I'm reading the Bible, it's almost like a movie is going on in my mind. And I'm trying to think of how this may look like. What does Jesus was thinking when he said when he asked the question, and when he told Peter, feed my lamb? Or what was Peter thinking? Or what's yet what was in his mind when Jesus was asking him if he loved him and told him, feed my lamb. So I think in that I'm thinking that maybe what was in Peter's mind when Jesus said, feed my lamp, my lamb. He was thinking that maybe something like in this video, what's going to happen? Let's see the first video.

So Peter is listening to Jesus and just thinking, of course, Jesus, I love you and I will feed your lamb and take care of them. But maybe in Jesus mind, there was a little different, a little something a little bit different. Let's watch the next video.

Maybe in Jesus mind, the sheep were more like this.

Keep that in mind. They have gone back to what they know how to do. Well, what was that? Fishing. They also, I believe, have come to the realization that in their life there is this tension. You have heard this saying, this interface of faith and real life, right? They are thinking what? Maybe what they have learned through walking with Jesus through his life, death, and resurrection. They are trying to find where they are. In the midst of all these events that have happened in the past three years and the last three days, I believe that they come to the realization of their human finitude, the human limitations and the shortcomings of our humanity, but also that they are able to see in Jesus and their experience with him, that there has never been anyone like Jesus who valued them in such a way, in such a way that he is willing to say, follow me, be more, and do greater things than what you have ever imagined.

And the question perhaps was. His worth trying? Or should we go back to what we were used to do? Peter says, I am going fishing and what the others say, I'll go with you. We will go with you, Peter. Let's go fishing. The reluctance, or maybe our reluctance to embrace, to join the newness is relatable. I believe we have been there. We too shy away from trusting again, fearing another heartbreak. We may push away the very thing that can heal us. We are afraid of being hurt. And ironically, this becomes the very force that keeps us from experiencing love and wholeness, the love and wholeness that is offered to us through the power of the resurrection.

But Jesus knows that they cannot abide in that fear. The resurrection was not Jesus event. Personal, private, miracle. For him, it is the new shape of their reality that they are living together is a new shape of the reality of this world and of the entire creation. And it's filled with grace, with possibility and newness. They will not be the same. Remember that Jesus said, you are not going to fish or catch fish. You are going to catch people. Things. Things are not going to stay the same. So the question is, will we fall back downwards or we will fall upwards?

And maybe you have heard this phrase falling upward, which is the title of one of the books of Father Richard Rau, who in his book says the most amazing fact about Jesus, unlike almost any other religious founder, is that he, Jesus, found God in disorder and imperfection and told us that we must do the same or we would never be content on these earth.

Now you see, perhaps why there is such discontent in the entire world among societies and countries. Because we want the rest of the world be we like us, because we want the person next to me to be like me, because it needs to be as orderly as I think that it should be, because you need to respond to the normal that they determine for others. Do you remember the stream of ships up there and the video? That is life. That is life. Life together, pushing each other, trying to get ahead of each other, running next to the people that we like, but most of the time next to the people that we don't like.

And yet, Jesus calls us to be stewards of the God's creation. And in stewarding God's creation, we are called to steward one another to take care, to be with, to work with, caring, calling out our true identity as who we are and whose we are and reminding each other that we are the movement of the resurrection. People who proclaim life and see God. Where our social, political, and economic construct dehumanize and make others commodities for their own self-interests. We cannot remain immovable. We cannot come and proclaim Jesus is reason. Jesus has died, Jesus is risen in Christ will come again, and then go back to my seat and see it and see the entire world falling in this swirl of violence, pretending that if I'm okay, the rest of the world should be okay, or my neighborhood or my community.

When there is despair and hopelessness, the forces that trying to avoid the new order of life. Resurrection. People. It's a revolutionary movement. And I'm not afraid to say that you and I are a call to be a revolution. And this is not a call for an insurrection or anything like that. But it's a revolution, a revolution movement propelled by the power of the living Lord, which dismantles a system that continues to tell us that the way to success, worth and value is war, death, the subjugation of those who do not agree with us, the bullying, the discrimination, the verbal abuse, the home violence and etc. etc. etc. yes, it is overwhelming, is disorienting, is discouraging at times. We are not just called to do loving things. You and I are called to be the very presence of that love shown on the cross and in the resurrection are called to do and to be greater things that you and I have ever imagined.

As Jesus promised the disciples in chapter 14, verse 12, we do not need to wait for death to experience resurrection. It is tangible when you when we love someone, even when we need to love those who are hard to love for us. No matter how far we wander, my siblings in Christ the risen Lord will find us and make us full upwards, receiving, seeing, and being the love of God. The power that makes empires fall. Things do not stay the same. If the resurrection really is the best good news that has ever hit the planet, then its goodness doesn't depend on us and again, us. Father Richard always say the tomb is empty, death is vanished. Jesus lives period. We are not in charge of life given resurrection. Who is God is. Do you love me? Said Jesus. Do you love me? People gather at the place called Trinity Lutheran Church and Schools present here are online. And the people have said, Oh, God, said, what? Yes, we love you. And Jesus said, tend my sheep, and follow me. You are not the same.


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