What is truth? It’s a different question than, “What is the truth?” We seem to be asking the latter a lot these days. We watch news shows, read the newspaper, or listen to news radio all with the intent of finding out “the” truth of what is going on in the world. Yet, do we trust it as being 100% accurate and unbiased? We hear the cries of “fake news” from those who oppose the stories, but wouldn’t fake news be false news or lies? How can news be fake or a lie if there are verifiable facts to back up the reporting? Personally I believe there is “tainted” news that is intended to sway my opinion and perspective toward one side or the other. But is that news or propaganda? So I still am left at the end of the day asking, “What is the truth?”
When Jesus was before Pontius Pilate he said in John’s gospel when asked if he were a king, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jew-ish [leaders]. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here… You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate then asked Jesus that famous question. “What is truth?”
Isn’t that why we gather for worship every week? To hear the truth of God’s kingdom, God’s reign and rule for life in this world? Jesus’ kingdom is absolutely not from this world, a world that trusts and believes that “might makes right” rather than “take up your cross and follow me.” A world that believes golden rule is “the one with the most gold makes the rules” rather than “do unto others as you would have them do to you.” A world that is convinced we must “hate our enemies” rather than “love and pray” for them. We gather for worship to hear God’s word of truth, sing our praises of that truth, and then experience the truth of God’s love and forgiveness in receiving the bread and wine, Christ’s body and blood, at the Lord’s table.
What is truth? The truth is, sin and death does not have the last word. The God who raises Jesus from the dead does. The truth is, the love of God we have come to know in Jesus wins in the end. Not even a cross and tomb could stop such love.
And that’s the truth we have been called from the waters of baptism to live out each and every day. We are called to be God’s agents of love and grace in a world filled with hate and vengeance. We are called to be God’s ambassadors of mercy and forgiveness in a world that seeks retribution and revenge. We are to be God’s voice and servants of courage and hope in a world filled with fear and despair. And we are able to be such disciples because we know and trust THE TRUTH, that God’s kingdom way of life is not of this world, yet through our hands and voice the work and word of God’s life-giving kingdom is revealed by the power of God’s Holy Spirit poured out on us in Baptism.
This summer, as you travel to shore or mountains, near or distant lands, or simply dial down your weekly schedule from its regular frenetic pace, I invite you to stay connected to “the truth” of the good news of Jesus Christ amidst all the other forms of news in our world. Attend worship services wherever you may be. If you’re a parent with school age children who typically attend Sunday school make a point to use the summer months to teach them how to engage in corporate worship with the gathering of the baptized. Help them learn how to listen to God’s truth revealed in scripture, sermon, song, and sacraments. And then, together, let us reveal the truth of God’s life-giving kingdom in the corner of the world in which we live. The refrain to that old song are as true and needed today as ever before. They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love. And that’s the truth!