Take Him at His Word – Br. Sean Glenn

Br. Sean Glenn

Acts 13:32-43
Luke 14:7-14

In your days I am doing a work you will never believe, even if someone tells you.[1]

Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.[2]

Easter has always captivated my imagination—even in my days as an angry atheist, convinced that such miraculous events are of course impossible.

Yet, in this season of my life, marked as it is by bereavement, scarred by the awful and unanticipated absence of my late parents, Easter—with all its accompanying hope and joy—has been less a consolation and more a taunting insult, a vexation, a catalyst for all kinds of cynicism, doubt, and anger.

Of late, I have refused to be comforted, closing off the precincts of my heart to any touch of joy or hope. I have refused to be comforted, content only to bear my tears, anguish, and sense of injury. In your days I am doing a work you will never believe, even if someone tells you.

Yet God is merciful. As I prepared—reluctantly—to preach today, Jesus’ words to Philip came to my embittered heart over and over: if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. This reveals to me a mistake in my reading of Reality—my grave misunderstanding of the “terms” of life—and one of the ways even the Resurrection must be both consolation and challenge.

It is too easy to see the Resurrection in human terms, an event that reveals a God whose omnipotence is characterized by all the ways human beings conceive of omnipotence. A personality who is big and strong and powerful.

Yes, God is big and strong and powerful.

But not in the ways our hearts have been trained to conceive of such attributes. For when we strive to be big and strong and powerful, we invariably strive for something that will ultimately destroy and injure and dominate.

This is one of the spiritual risks of Easter—to tear down our human conception of who God is and the ends for which God’s strength and power are oriented. For if we do not, we will not understand—we will not believe—the true, saving content of God’s revelation and gift in the Resurrection. We will not believe the work God is doing in our days, because we wont have the eyes to see it. We will only have a heart stranded in the despond of dejection and bereavement.

If you have seen me, you have seen the Father. May we take Jesus at his word. Look at Jesus, and there you will find God’s strength and power, a strength and power so unlike our own.

[1] Acts 13:41

[2] John 14:9

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  1. Craig K on April 26, 2023 at 10:05

    “Life promised to all”. Such powerful words to describe the Resurrection. Thanks, Br. Sean Glenn

  2. Mary Lysecki on April 26, 2023 at 08:41

    I like the phrase from the New Zealand Prayer Book’s version of the Lord’s prayer – “for you reign in the glory of the power that is love.”

  3. Richard Roy on April 26, 2023 at 05:58

    Thank you, Brother Sean, for so sharing the fruits of your spiritual journey that endured the lows of loss with the discovery of hope through empathy with the humanity and hope of Jesus. It is most likely the demands of the depth of self understanding and revelation of Divine Love that called you to embrace monastic life. Your articulation of the connection of your journey will be a grace for so many!

  4. Elizabeth on May 23, 2022 at 16:27

    Thank you for sharing your struggle Br Sean… I’m glad that you overcame your reluctance to preach as your words came very powerfully and much needed for me. The above written sermon doesn’t contain the end quote of the poem you read on the audio; would you be so kind as to reference the author here for me? I couldn’t quite make out the author from the audio. I believe the title is When He Came. It is beautiful. My deepest sympathies for your loss.

    • Barbara A Harris on April 26, 2023 at 09:50

      Dorothee Sölle

    • Kathleen McCalla on April 26, 2023 at 11:15

      I believe the poem’s author is theologian Dorothee Solle.

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