“Same Genetic Code” is a sermon interpretation of John 14: 23-29. Parents and children share the same genetics.
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. 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. We share the same genetics.
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. We share the same genetics.
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 chromosomes. 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. Same genetic code. All these qualities that Jesus had in him, these are the same qualities that Jesus got from his parent.
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. Same genetic code.
Well, how does this come to be? How do these divine qualities get into our lives? By walking with God, by talking with God, by 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.
To live with Christ, is to become like Christ, to have a similar genetic code.
Sermon by Rev. Edward Markquart