Good Friday is done and now we hide away in the upper room.
We all have an upper room. A place where we go when we are too afraid to go anywhere else. For some of us this is an actual physical place–a bedroom, a mountain top, the side of the lake, the basement–but for most of us this is really a “spiritual” upper room. We sit with our hopelessness, thinking all is lost, we don’t know what to do or who to turn to, or what is going to happen next. We can’t picture our next move and in that confused state we just sit and wait.
Imagine today being any of the disciples of Jesus. Most of them weren’t even brave enough to watch him die. They ran away and hid themselves to afraid that they might be the next to be crucified. After Peter denies Jesus for the third time Luke’s Gospel states “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter…” And off Peter went to his own upper room where he wept uncontrollably.
What causes us to flee to the upper room? Do we not believe that God is enough for us? Do we crave other sinful things in our lives because we secretly think that God doesn’t know what He’s talking about when he says to us that we don’t need power, or sex, or booze, or money–that what we need is to believe that God knows what is good for us.
And we’re all too often afraid to do that…and so, we choose the upper room. And in that upper room, we find paralyzing despair. We find other things offered to us that we think will eliminate our despair and maybe it does for a fleeting moment, but then don’t we just end up back in that room a short time later.
I think we all spend way too much time in the upper room.
But what’s the Good News? The Good News is that God is not afraid of the upper room. God gets in, even though we’ve locked the doors and don’t want to leave. And God, Jesus Christ risen again says those words that we all long to hear: PEACE! Peace be with you. Jesus calms us down from our anxiety and our fear and lets us cry tears of relief and embraces us and lets us know that even death cannot stop God from breaking into our lives. Even our own doubts that God could destroy death doesn’t stop God from reaching out to us.
And when we hurl ourselves into the abyss of that upper room Jesus comes and finds us anyway and gives us the courage to go out and to live the lives that we are called to live–to become the best person that we can be–the person God meant us to be.
Perhaps today, as people of faith, people who know how the resurrection story ends–perhaps we need to start unlocking the doors of our upper rooms and make it a bit easier for Jesus to make His way into our anxiety-filled lives? Perhaps that’s what we’ve done with this very church. Perhaps just maybe your church should be that upper room–that place where you could go when your too anxious to do anything else? Perhaps we need that place so much because our world tempts us into believing that we really don’t need God and that our religious leaders don’t really know what they’re talking about and that it’s all just a figment of our imaginations?
I know that if i didn’t make my way to a place like that at least once a week, that it would be very easy for me to stay in a much darker upper room. Where it’s a lot harder to come out again and where God has to search a whole lot harder to find me and where I can’t imagine God ever coming to visit and when he does he has to offer me peace before anything else.
Jesus comes into our upper rooms, again and again. Let’s change the venue and realize that we don’t have to go to that place of darkness. Instead, we have this place, tonight, where we can literally see that light always overcomes the darkness.