For our sermon this week, I focused on John’s gospel and the word and meanings of truth. Jesus promised that the Spirit of Truth would come to his followers after his death and resurrection.
First, truth is the opposite of false. Facts are different from opinions. These days it is hard to tell what is an actual fact and what is an opinion or an out and out lie. The phrase, alternative facts, was coined to illustrate the latter.
I shared an example from 60 Minutes in which a Representative from Florida falsely stated that the National Institutes of Health had given a $3.7 Million grant to a lab in Wuhan China. In fact the grant was the annual grant to Eco-Health Alliance, a non-profit research organization which has been studying viral outbreaks for 15 years and happens to have a cooperative relationship with a Wuhan lab which includes a $100,000 expense in their annual budget.
Based on this falsehood, the Eco-Health Alliance has now lost its government funding just when its work is most needed.
A second use of truth in John’s gospel means faithful and trustworthy. When we say that God is True, that Jesus embodied truth and grace, we mean that God’s love can be trusted and God’s Covenant with us will last throughout eternity. To be true is to be loyal and reliable.
The third use is found when Jesus speaks with the woman at the well in John 4. He says that people will worship God in spirit and in truth. He means that we will worship God not only with prayers and praise but with the words and actions of our lives. When Jesus was brought before Pilate he said that he came to testify to the truth. Pilate asked, What is truth? Jesus answered by carrying his cross and accepting his death. He was true to the larger reality of his life as a child of God. He gave all that he had as the one we call: the way, the truth, and the life.
We are invited to embrace all three meaning of truth: honesty, faithfulness, and integrity as we follow the way of Christ.
Blessings and love to all,