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Philip, like so many of us, was really a native of Missouri, the show-me state. Philip was part of that great company of rational, reasonable, human beings who would evaluate all the evidence twice over before arriving at any definitive conclusion. However, Philip is not the only member of the show-me club.

How many times has that loved one, that husband, wife, partner, child, friend, messed up, come crying to you about how sorry they were and how they would never do it again and you simply said, "Show me." How many times have we listened to political promises and we simply shake our heads, "Show me"? How many times have we gone to community work and even church meetings and heard all the plans for a better future and leave mumbling under our breath, "Show me"? I'm not suggesting that we don't have reason to ask for and expect some kind of proof. In an age of deceit and disappointment, in an age of broken promises and broken hearts, in an age of con-artists and rip-offs, it seems to me that one would only expect to have some kind of proof before we invest our trust. However, there is a quality within humans that no matter how much evidence we are given, we still demand more.

Jesus was preparing his disciples for his impending death. He was telling them that, while his death would not be the final word of God, things would change drastically. He was reassuring them that he was not going away to remain separate from them, but to ensure that they would dwell with him in the eternal realm of God. Jesus was having that conversation that parents have with their children before they go out. "I love you. I won't be long, and I'm coming back."

Thomas asked a perfectly logical question. "Where are you going and how are we going to get to where you are going?" Jesus responds, "I'm going to the Father and the way you get there is by hanging with me. I am both your final destination and the road you must take to get there." At this point, Philip joins the conversation. "That's all well and good, but before you go, show us the Father. Show us God."

Can you imagine living, working, traveling, eating, praying with someone day in and day out for three years and still not knowing them? You don't know what they like and what they don't like, what they believe and what they don't believe. They reveal the deeper parts in themselves; they've given you the best that they have; they've withheld nothing from you, but the hour of reckoning arrives, and you realize that you really don't know them. Many of us have walked with Jesus all of our lives. We've grown up in the church and in God-serving homes; yet our lives are not exempt from the midnight hours of wrestling with our faith. Uncertainty visits our spirits, and we find ourselves walking in a fog-like faith, not really sure of what is before us, and when trouble rises and life turns crazy, we cry out, "Lord, I know what you have promised. I know that you really are there, but show me something more than I can see. Show me something that will strengthen my faith and let me keep believing."

When the world shows its ugliest side as evil raises up against evil and war rages throughout the world, when we look in the eyes of starving children and at the same time turn the channel to Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, when we witness and participate in the benefits of exploiting God's creation, both human and environmental, when we watch humans killing each other in the misrepresented name of God, when we recognize humanity's ability to self-destruct, someone, somewhere, is crying out, "Lord, show this mean old world that you're still in control! Show us!"

Jesus says to us like he said to Philip, "Have I been with you this long and you still do not believe?" The Gospel writers have been clear that Jesus' presence with us is to show us the Divine. Matthew tells us that the very naming of Jesus, Emmanuel, was a sign that God was revealing God's self to us and was present with us in the very life of Jesus. John teaches us that the Word became flesh and lived with humanity so that we might know the awesome glory, love, and favor of the Divine. The invitation into relationship with Jesus is an invitation for an intimate, up-close, personal experience of the Divine, yet in our honest moments, we still have questions.

"Well, if my presence with you is not enough to believe, then listen to what I have been telling you. Listen to my words." Jesus, the Living Word, the embodiment of God's creative and redemptive work continuously gave revelation to God's purpose and power.

* I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, whoever believes in me will never thirst.

* I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the Light of Life.

* I am the Resurrection and the Life; those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and whoever lives in me will never die.

* I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

* I am the Vine and you are the branches. Those who abide in me, and I in them, bear much fruit because apart from me, you can do nothing.

Jesus' I AM revelations reminds us of Moses' encounter with the liberating God who declared that I AM that I AM that I AM. Jesus' revelations were not simply of himself, but of the unity he shared with the one whom he called Father. His life and mission were consistent and unified with the liberating work of the Divine. His testimony was not of himself but of God at work in him.

Jesus then presents the work of his life as evidence. If what I have taught you and told you are not sufficient, then look at what I've done. Look at my works. Jesus' work of preaching good news to the poor, setting those physically, spiritually, emotionally, politically, mentally captive free, confronting principalities and powers in order to liberate the oppressed in the church and in society, was to reveal God's restorative power at work in the midst of humanity so that we might more fully know God.

But the story doesn't end there. Jesus went on to challenge Philip and the other disciples that we would continue the work that Jesus has done; and in fact, greater work would we do. Not necessarily greater in quality, but the revelation of God in Jesus would be carried outside of their small circle into all the world. The unity Jesus shared with the Divine is shared with those who would follow him, and we would continue to be about showing the world something of the Divine. We were brought into this unified relationship with God through Jesus Christ, not for the purpose of holding an exalted, privileged position or developing an exclusionary theology, but so that we might continue the work of God in Jesus Christ, the work of preaching Good News to the outcasts, the work of setting captives free, the work of confronting principalities and powers, the work of liberating a people and a world from the realm of evil and showing them the realm of God.

In the faith of great trial and tribulation, in the midst of oppression and suffering, in the appearance of defeat and death, in the struggle between doubt and faith, someone is crying out, "Show us God!"

We will remember that the words we speak and the work we do is not our own, but God is at work in us, continuing what God began in Jesus, setting God's people free, and anything we ask according to the righteous realm of God, God has promised to do for us.

Are we ready? Are we really ready to show the world, to show the world Jesus?

Let us pray.

Gracious God, as we go forth, you've called us to minister, you've called us to continue the work given to us in your Son Jesus. Grant us grace sufficient to believe, to follow, and to show others your redeeming love. In the name of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Liberator and Savior, we pray.

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