All Saints
Christ The King

Books of the Bible
Lenten Series
Christmas Dramas


Series A - Matthew
Series B - Mark
Series C - Luke
Series D - Other

To contact
Edward F. Markquart

Series C
The Father is Still Living in Me

Easter 7     John 14:23-29

Today’s Gospel lesson is one of the most complex set of words put together in Scripture. I defy anyone to sit down, read the gospel for today, and summarize the gospel in a few clean sentences. It is not possible. Rather, the words weave in and out, around and through, twisting and turning. Why? Because the author, John, writes in this circular, circuitous style.  If…you unweave the all the strands, basically there are three colors of thread that emerge. The first is this: God is called Father, implying an intimacy, a closeness, a familiarity with us, to a powerful presence much greater than we are. The word, Father, is not suggesting sexuality and maleness, but the closeness and intimacy of relationship between a parent and a small child. Imagine a parent and a new baby or young child. So it is with God with us. Second, God, the Father, comes to live in us and we in live in God. That is, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God the Father, comes to live in us and we live in the Holy Spirit. There is a mutual, spiritual indwelling. We are in the Spirit and the Spirit is in us. Third, as a consequence of God, the Spirit, living in us, there is a perfect harmony and peace. We become people of peace. People are then drawn to and attracted to a community of peace, drawn to people where there is harmony and love and peace.  Within John’s circular, circuitous style, there are three colored strands of yarn: God is called Father with all the intimacy that the word, father, brings. God, the Holy Spirit, comes and lives in us and we in God; and we then become peaceful people.

I have this strange sensation that overcomes me occasionally. Perhaps you have had similar experiences. I think you have. Sometimes, I will be using my hands. I will be using my hands and fingers to hold a newspaper, type on the computer, work with the calculator, and as I look at my hands and fingers, my hands and fingers move in such a way that they are my father’s hands. They are no longer my hands but my father’s hands. Because my father’s hands were identical to my hands. The hairs on my hands. The fingernails. The ways my hands and fingers move. These hands and fingers are identical to my father’s and sometimes I have that strange sensation that these hands and fingers are not my own but my father’s from years ago.  … Or, I have another vivid but old memory. In years passed, I would be getting dressed in the morning, and I would be standing over there in front of my closet, putting on my t-shirt, and meanwhile a young child of mine would be jumping on the bed, singing “fatty daddy, fatty daddy”; and while the child was chanting “fatty daddy” and I was putting my t-shirt, my mind would flash back through the decades to when I was a little boy bouncing on my parents’ bed, and I would watch my father putting on his t-shirt as he stood before the closet door. I can still remember seeing his skinny little legs and his little butt. As I stood there in front of my own closet decades later, I felt I was a re-incarnation of my father. You see, I have my father’s body. I have his shoulders, his stomach, his legs, his rump, his fingers, his hands, his feet. In many ways, I am my father and my father lives in me.  … Or sometimes when I sneeze loudly and go “aaahchooo” and that sound rings through the whole house, I hear my father the loud sound of my father’s sneeze from so many years ago. I would say to Dad, “Dad, cut that sneezing out.” My kids used to say and still say on occasion, “Would you watch your sneezing?” It is like the sneezes of my father are living in me. … Or another thing about my father. My father cried very easily and tears welled up in him at almost nothing. I remember that I used to read about Vice-President Hubert Humphrey, the old senator from Minnesota, that he was lachrymose. I never knew what the word, lachrymose, meant, and I had to look it up in the dictionary. Hubert Humphrey was labeled, lachrymose, according to the newspaper, so I used the dictionary to find out what that word meant. Lachrymose means “teary,”  “weepy,” or “easily prone to tears.” That was my father; that is me. I inherited that same quality from my father, and I cry very, very easily. It is as if my father’s tears are living inside of me.

And so I am suggesting to you this morning that my father lives inside of me. I have his hands, his fingers, his fingernails, his wrists, his sneezes, his belly, his shoulders, his legs. I have his mannerisms. I have his attitudes, his tears, his feelings. I am very simply, my father. Edward F. Markquart, Sr. lives in Edward F. Markquart, Jr.. We not only have the same names by the same identities. We also have the same birth date. If you knew my father, you would know me. If you know me, you know a lot about my father.

How did this come to be? Why am I so much like my father? Well, I don’t exactly know, other than to know that we are related. I have his genes and chromosones. Also, we spent a great deal of time working at the gas station together as I was growing up. We spent a lot of time walking and talking and working together in our family gas station. Just by daily being together in all these circumstances, he transmitted his qualities to me. He didn’t try. It just happened by working together in the gas station.

Many of you are the same way. You are a spitting image of your parent, parents, or grandparents. In our parish, I look at Jeremy McGinnis and he is the spitting image of his grandfather, Jerry Larson. The same is true of Matt Beer and his grandfather.

It is with these images that we approach the gospel lesson for today. When Jesus says, “My father lives in me,” I understand that. I understand that perfectly well because Ed Markquart Sr. lives in Ed Markquart, Jr. I understand it perfectly well when Jesus says, “I live in my father and my father lives in me.” All the same mannerisms of God the Father live in his Son. The Father’s gentle love, the Father’s patient forgiveness, the Father’s compassion for every one around him, the Father’s willingness to die. All these qualities that Jesus had in him, these are the same qualities that Jesus got from the “old man.”

When did it happen? When did Jesus get to be like God? The Bible tells us that they were the same nature; they had the same genetic pool. The Bible tells us that long before the world began, Jesus, the Son and God, the Father, were living together up in heaven. The way I see it, the Father and Son were working together in a filling station, a gas station, up there in heaven long before the world began. God and Jesus were working together: pumping gases into the universe, filling the universe up with gas. I think the “big bang” of the universe happened when the Kid united the gases. At any rate, they were talking together, walking together, being together in the heavenly gas station in the sky. Jesus, the Son, saw God the Father up real close. Jesus saw God’s love, God’s forgiveness, God’s compassion. Gradually, Jesus became just like his old man. And besides, they were of the same stuff, the same substance, the same genetic code or whatever God’s mind is made of. … And then, eventually, after some billions of years, when Jesus came down to earth, Jesus said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father because I am a perfect imitation of my father. I am a perfect replica of my old man.”  We can understand that because we, too, may be like our parents and they are like us.

Then the Bible says, “We will come and live in you.” Just as the Father lives in the Son and the Son in the Father, so we will come and live in you. We, God; We, the Spirit; We, the Holy Spirit; we will come and live in you. The same love, the same compassion, the same forgiveness, the same gentleness, the same kindness that was and is in God, now this same shining glorious presence of God is going to come and live in you…and me.

Well, how does this come to be? How do these divine qualities get into our lives? By walking with God, by talking with God, buy working with God, by being around God, by hanging out with God. These qualities than gradually seep into our lives. And we can understand that. Because Ed Markquart Sr. live in Ed Markquart Jr. The father lives in the son. The mother lives in the daughter. The father live in the daughter. The mother lives in the son. We can understand that because people closest to us live in us. Their love, their compassion, their mannerisms, their values, their beliefs: they seep into our lives and we don’t even know it is happening. And God’s Spirit seeps into our lives and we don’t even know it is happening. Why? Because we hang out together; we walk together; we talk together; we work together.

This past week I was trying to think of an illustration where God came to live in somebody. I was browsing through a book by Charles Colson.  Chuck Colson had worked for President Nixon years ago; he was in the Nixon administration; and he became a primary part of the Watergate scandal. Now, as a young man, God did not live in Chuck Colson. God didn’t live in Chuck Colson at all. Chuck Colson had grown up in the church and had some ideas about God in is brain. He had some religious traditions and habits in the head, but he didn’t have God living inside of him. Tragically, his life fell apart during the Watergate scandal. When his life fell apart, he started to associate with a group of men in whom Jesus lived. One man was named, Hughes, a senator from Iowa. Another man named, Quie, a representative from Minnesota. These were two devout men in whom God lived. Gradually a change became in Colson and like water seeping underground, Colson didn’t see it, but the Spirit of God was flowing beneath his life like an underground stream. Change started to happen in Colson’s life. One night, in desperation, after having a conversation with Hughes and Quie, Colson ran out of the room, the house and into his car when he sat behind the steering wheel and bawled like a baby. His feelings inside of him came bursting out. As his feelings burst out, he asked God to come in and live in him. He asked, “God, would you come and live in my life?”  Slowly and surely, as the days, months and years passed by, God came to live in Chuck Colson. God took up residence in Chuck Colson’s body. God started to live there in his body. Chuck Colson started to live in God and God started to live in Colson. Colson started to walk with God, talk with God, work with God, be with God and gradually Colson’s life was changed. God came to live in Colson and Colson in God. And we can understand that.  I know what it means that my father lives in me and l live in my father. You can understand that because chances are, your mom and/or dad live in you. You are keenly aware of your mom and dad living in you, and you live in them as well. You see yourself in each other.

When God comes to live in us, it is God’s love that comes and lives in us. Love. Pure love. Absolute love. The love of Christ comes and lives in you. That is Christ’s commandment to us: that we are loving people; that the love of Christ is to live in us.

And the result of all of this loving living inside of you? When the love of Christ lives in you and you obey God’s commandment to be a loving person, the outward result is peace, harmony, oneness with others.

That’s what the Bible passage for today is all about. God, would you and your love please come and live in these people. Would your love come and live in these people, so that they would be one, would be peaceful, would be in harmony with each other.

Look at the fighting that goes on between world religions and also between denominations and non-denominational churches. How these groups of people fight with each other about religion and within Christianity. In the past, the Lutherans and the Catholics fought about the pope. The Presbyterians and Methodists fought about how to methods to govern a church. The Baptists and the Pentecostals fought about how much water was necessary for baptism. The denominational churches today fight, with the non-denominational churches about being “born again.” What is it about religious people that we think that we have the right way and therefore others have the wrong way. We are on the right path and they are on the wrong path. We have the right interpretation of the Bible and they have the wrong interpretation. What is it about religious people that we withhold love from people who don’t agree with us? What is it that we always have to fight about religion? … Christians have fought with each other throughout all of church history. That is, in teaching my course, ON HOW THE BIBLE WAS MADE, we learned that Wyclif, who first translated the Bible into the language of the laity; his bones were dug up and were burned, forty years after he died. Talk about fighting about religion. … And knowing that people love to fight about religion, the Irish Catholics fight with the Irish Protestants, the Jews fight with the Muslims, the evangelicals fight with the mainliners, the Christians fight with the Gentiles (that is, everybody who is not a Christian and cannot be saved); knowing these enormous conflicts between world religions throughout all of human history and knowing these enormous conflicts within Christianity throughout all of church history; Jesus said: God, would you and your love please come and live in these people? Would your love please come and live in these people, so that there would be harmony and peace on the earth?

Do you see? The consequences of the love of Christ coming to live in ones’ heart is peace, oneness, harmony.

This peace and harmony of Jesus Christ is not only to come into denominations and towards world religions but also into congregations. Have you ever been part of congregations that fight and snap at each other? Congregations can become some of the most vicious communities. Congregations, like families, go through problems and people start biting at each other. “We like this pastor. We don’t like that pastor. We like this group. We don’t like that group.” Congregations can become very very bloody places to live. Let me tell you. And knowing that, knowing that there is something about religious people wanting to fight with each other about religion, knowing that religious people often make the congregation their personal battlegrounds, Jesus said to God: God, would you and your love come and live inside this congregation? Would your love come and live within this congregation, inside this group of people, so that there would be perfect harmony in the church? … Tell me, when a congregation is fighting with each other, do you think they are focusing on the mission of the church? When a congregation is fighting with each other, do you think other people outside the church want to join that congregation? Do you want to be part of a congregational family that is snarling at each other?

But it is not only religions, denominations and congregations that easily fight with each other but it is also families. Knowing that husbands and wives can snarl at each other; knowing that brothers and sisters can snarl at each other, that brothers and brothers and sisters and sisters snarl at each other; knowing that parents and children can snarl at each other; knowing that there is something about the disposition of people that we are quick to argue and snarl, Jesus said: God, would you and your love  please come and live in these people of mine? Would your love, and the Spirit of your love, your Holy Spirit of compassion come and live in this family, so this particular family would finally become peaceful, harmonious, and gentle.

Do you understand? Do you understand the sequence? There will not be harmony in the family; there will be no harmony in the congregation; there will be no harmony between denominations; there will be no harmony between religions; there will be no harmony between political parties, another place where people love to fight. If there is no love living inside the people, if the love of God does not come down into those groups of people first.

I love a quotation and paraphrase of Martin Luther: “Can a rock that has been in the sun light all day not fail to give off warmth and heat at night?” Can a rock that has been in the warmth and heat of the sun light all day not fail to give off warmth and heat at night? Can a Christian who has lived in the sunlight of God’s love not fail to give off warmth and love? No. That is why you have to have first things first. You don’t say to others, “Start loving each other. Be nice. Be nice. Be nice.” No, no, no. First, we need to live in the sunlight of God’s love. We need to bake in the sunlight of God’s compassion. We need to absorb God’s light into us. And then…we start to give off the love. May your light shine on me, God. May your love shine on us, God, so that there will be peace in our family and on the earth.

I want to back up a moment. Are you attracted to families that fight with each other all the time? Do you want to go and visit those couples, those families, that are fighting and bickering and snarling at each other? No. Do you like working in an office atmosphere where hostility lingers in the air? Do you really like working in an office where people snarl at each other over nothing?  Do you like working in those kind of offices? No. We normally avoid being near such families or offices.  On the other hand, aren’t you attracted to couples, families, or offices that have love in them? You like to be with those couples, those friends, those families, work in those offices if there is peace. By analogy, what is it that attracts people to congregations more than anything else? Love between the people. It is not the fancy choirs, not the fancy organ, not the fancy band, not the fancy music, not the fancy pastors, not the fancy building, not the fancy stained glass, not the soft pews. What attracts most people to stay and remain in a congregation for a long time is the quality of love. People want to be part of a community where there is an unusual amount of love and caring. People remain for a long time in a community, and over a long time, they gradually become more deeply committed to Christ, as the love of Christ seeps into their lives and they don’t even know it.

Do you get the sequence? Step one: God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are pure love. They learn love from one another. Step two: The love of God and Jesus and the Spirit comes and lives in us, takes residence up in us and lives in our body. Step three: When God’s love lives in us, there is much more peace in our families, our churches, our offices.

It all began with my hands. I was pounding the other day, and I saw my father’s hands pounding. I was typing the other day, and I saw my father’s fingers typing. I started to cry the other day, and I knew my father’s tears were running down my cheek. My father lives in me.

Jesus said: God of love, my heavenly Father; would your love come and live in my people? Would you come and live in my people that they may indeed love and be peaceful with one another. Amen. 

Back to Top