Homily, Sharing a Bathroom with God
Fifth Sunday of Easter, 2023
Good Shepherd Episcopal Church
The Rev. Derek M Larson, TSSF
Today’s Lectionary Readings:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Have you ever had to share a bathroom with someone? Maybe a sibling, a spouse, a friend, a roommate? Sharing a bathroom with someone is a marker of real intimacy isn’t it? You can be dating someone, or friends with someone, you can work alongside of someone every day, you can be neighbors with someone for 30 years, but sharing a bathroom is a different kind of relationship.
Perhaps you’ve had a relationship like that. Perhaps you were dating or friends with someone and you came to that moment in the relationship when you asked one another, “Do we want to live together?” Or “Do we want to get married?” And you were probably excited by the prospect and maybe picked out paint colors together, and then you finally move in with one another. And it’s great! But suddenly you see a whole new side of this person you thought you knew so well, don’t you? You see the beard trimmings in the sink. You see the hair ties everywhere. Suddenly your morning make-up routine is disrupted by the fogged up mirror from the person taking a hot shower. And there is a little bit of tension as you work to figure out a new rhythm—a new routine together. But eventually the two of you start to move in sync with one another so that even the brushing of your teeth together becomes almost like a dance. You move this way, they move that.
To share a bathroom with someone is to share life with someone. You have to really trust someone if you’re going to share a bathroom with them.
You know, believe it or not, that’s what Jesus is talking about in today’s gospel passage. Sharing a bathroom. Sharing a home. Sharing life with God in Christ. He says, “In my Father’s house there are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come and take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.” This is a proposal to move in together. Jesus is inviting the disciples to come be with him—to live with him—in his family home.
Some scholars even point to this passage as being a first century Jewish wedding ritual. There would be a wedding proposal by the groom, often organized by the family, and then the groom would go away for a time to prepare a place in his father’s house, and only after it had been completed would he then return and bring his bride to their new home.
Jesus is inviting the disciples into a greater intimacy with himself and with God. He is inviting the disciples into the next level of their relationship. He is inviting them to be family with one another and to share a home.
Which is why Jesus also says, “Believe in God, believe also in me.” He says that word five times in this short passage. Believe. Now in our society the word believe normally means to think or to have a deep seated opinion about something. It is primarily an intellectual activity. “Do you believe in Santa Claus?,” we might say. Do you think there is a Santa Claus? But the Greek word here means so much more. The Greek word, pisteo, also means to trust. It is a relational word.
When Jesus asks us to believe in God he is not asking us to be of the opinion that God exists. God doesn’t care about whether or not we think God exists. God exists whether we think it or not. No, when Jesus asks us to believe in God he is asking us to trust in God. To lean on God. To share life with God. To shape ourselves according to God. To share a home with God. Belief in this passage is not an individual, intellectual activity, it is a relational posture. We have to trust in God so that we can grow ever closer in relationship with God.
The vision Jesus is casting here is real intimacy with God. It’s not simply about visiting God from time-to-time in the temple or in the church. It’s not about talking with God regularly in prayer when it comes to mind. It’s not about asking God for help when you need it. The vision Jesus is casting here is real intimacy. It is a call to live with God. It is a call to share in the Divine life. It is a call to trust God as you would someone you brush your teeth with.
And while at first you may find your rhythms disrupted and experience the tension of having to change your way of life, with time the intimacy will blossom into a Divine dance.
So what kind of faith do you have? What kind of relationship with God do you have? Is God someone you visit on the weekends? Is God someone you talk to on the phone everyday? Is God someone you go out to dinner with regularly? Or is God someone you live with? Is God someone you shape your life around? Is God someone you can share a bathroom with? Amen.