Not Luke – but lots of Bible!

If you are looking for some Bible study – try out God’s Story (video) and God’s Story continued (audio).

All together they cover the full narrative of the Bible.

 

https://www.saintmichael.org/gods-story-continued/

 

https://www.saintmichael.org/gods-story/

 

 

 

Advertisements

Rowan Williams

“Humanity’s vocation is not simply to be optimally human in the sense of exemplifying it’s natural qualities as perfectly as possible, but to be actively engaged in the harmonizing of the created order as part of a ‘liturgical’ service offered to God.”

Christ the Heart of Creation, p. 104.

Christ is King!

This is not part of the Preaching with Luke series, it is what I am preaching today.

Text is below, here is the video feed:

Revelation 1:4b-8

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Look! He is coming with the clouds;
every eye will see him, 
even those who pierced him;
and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.

So it is to be. Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

John 18:33-37

Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “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 Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “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.”

 

I’ve missed you all the past few weeks. The Sunday after preaching on November 4th, the kids and I worshiped with Allison at St. Stephens, Hurst, the parish she is serving, and then spent time last week in Alabama. You might remember my encouragement on November 4th to read about or reflect upon a Saint that inspires you. I tried, really, I did, to read Bernard of Clairvaux the week of All Saints, but my heart was not in a good place to receive his words. So that book goes back on the shelf to try again at a later date. Sometimes, the devotional material or spiritual discipline we have taken on isn’t as effective as we want it to be. Don’t give up! Instead of Bernard, I found Madeline L’Engle’s book on writing and faith to be an inspiration in my own journey. Also, please remember my invitation to join me in reading the daily office, Year One, starting next Sunday and continuing through the liturgical year. If you have thoughts or questions, let me know.

During Thanksgiving week, Allison, the kids and I had the pleasure to spend time with Allison’s family and some of our friends in Alabama and Mississippi. Walking on the beach, sharing delicious food, reconnecting with family and friends not seen in some time, and having lengthy and deliberate experiences with our children made Thanksgiving truly wonderful. We have so much to be grateful for, and it was easy to celebrate the abundance of God’s blessings in our lives during the travel.

One night at dinner we arrived at a restaurant just as two televisions tuned into the nightly news. Within a few minutes I noticed that both children were looking at the different screens, and then I realized that the news had four stories in a row about shootings and other violent deaths. They even had an image of a dead body. Now, we do not shy away from talking about death with our children, but we do so in age appropriate ways. We most certainly don’t talk about these tragic subjects the way the news does. We actually don’t watch the nightly news at our home, nor do we take the paper. This is not because we do not want to be informed about what all is going on in the world. Actually, through a news app on my phone, car radio, and a few others sources, I feel like I am just as informed as I have even been. We do choose to skip some media (and I am grateful to continue being off of Facebook!), because, while I do believe it communicates truth, many of these media stories and sources do not convey the full truth.

What I mean is that the 6 o’clock news will almost always report a tragic death, but very rarely will communicate a profound resurrection. The newspaper is loaded with stories of corruption, financial fears, and disappointing sports updates, but is light on celebrating the leaders and good work being done in our community. Social media is full of emotionally charged political ideologies, to the extent that many Christians forget that our earthly political leaders are only temporary.

I wonder if partial truth can be just a dangerous as “fake news?”

In the Gospel reading today we hear Jesus answer Pilate:

“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.”

Christ’s kingdom is about truth, ultimate truth, truth that originates from God.

Today in the Church we celebrate Christ the King Sunday. This is a relatively new Church feast day, originating from Pope Pius XI in 1925. He saw the rampant secularization of church-going people and knew we needed a reminder that politics, consumerism, and social status were not what follows of Jesus should be focused upon. Pius believed that we all needed a reminder that Christ is our King; our ruler, the one to whom we owe allegiance and show homage.

Christ the King Sunday is a day of holding things in tension.

  1. We are transitioning from the long season after Pentecost into our new liturgical year; next Sunday is the first day of Advent.
  2. We hear today from Revelation about the triumphant cosmic Christ, ruler of all creation, and also about our crucified savior, who shows his power in forgiveness.
  3. We live in this wonderful country of freely elected leaders, yet as Christians we claim citizenship in God’s kingdom, with Christ as our king.

We live in the already and the not yet. Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Today we are reminded, that though many seek power in order to influence, and though many seek wealth in order to feel secure in this world, our salvation is found through God’s love for us and in Christ’s powerful forgiveness. We serve a king who is also a servant.

Christ as king establishes God’s kingdom of love, of forgiveness, and of acceptance for all people – a kingdom he invites us to continue to strive for in all that we do, in all that we say.

Understanding Jesus as King, only makes sense in light of the history of Israel. I am so glad we are engaged in God’s Story, the full narrative read through of the Bible, because only through this kind of exploration of salvation history can we fully appreciate the history and trajectory of God, a King, and God’s people.

If you will remember way back, the Hebrew people during the time of the Judges wanted to king to rule over them. God sent prophets to council against the idea. Just because other nations had kings, didn’t mean that Israel needed any king other than God. Eventually God consents to the request and Saul is made king. Saul was almost an okay king, then David did pretty well with a few indiscretions, Solomon was a good king but after him, there is a whole slew of wicked and awful kings. These were the kings who trampled on the poor and the led the people away from God. Once the people and leaders stopped looking to God as their king, things really fell apart.

Fast forward to the first century, and the Jewish people were anxious for a new king. They were tired of being ruled by foreigners and wanted a king who would lead their people in battle against their oppressor and to freedom and power. So again, God consents to their request, but this time God sent Christ the King.

Christ was not the type of king that most of the people were waiting for. While many wanted a king who would fight against their enemy the Romans, Christ fought against the hypocrisy and greed in people’s hearts. While the leaders of faith wanted a king to help define themselves as a people group and get separation from foreigners, Christ the King and his followers worked to ensure that the divisions between people caused by money, power, gender, race and class would cease so that all could live in faith community together.

Nearly 2000 years after the Resurrection, we await the return of our king. His physical presence is absent but his spirit continues to guide us today.

If Jesus Christ is our King, then the weight of the world shifts from our shoulders to his.

If we follow Jesus Christ as our King, we seek his will in our lives and in the world, rather than riches or power.

Because Jesus Christ is our King, the earthly leaders might we cheer for or jeer at, take a back seat to the truth that we are only resident aliens; here on earth for a few years hopefully to make it a better place than we found it, but destined to join our creator in eternity.

I wonder how you and I might remember and celebrate that Christ is our King throughout this week.

Will we follow our king’s leadership and work for justice and mercy, telling many about God’s love and profound forgiveness? Can we place our allegiance to Christ our King above all other allegiances and associations?

Thank God we have a king who models a better way for us to live with each other. Thank God we have a future to look forward to, one full of hope and peace. Thanks be to God, who from the beginning has patiently waited for us to acknowledge the Divine reign, and to follow and serve Christ our King. Amen.

 

 

What is unfinished…

It has been too long again. Time away from this blog project is typically not productive. As we approach Lectionary Year C – Luke’s year, I am reminded of the need to finish up this book of sermons that I am working on.

I’m using Scrivener as the program to write and organize the sermons.

I’m also beginning to think about other subjects, projects, and thoughts I like to blog about. I do feel like I need to continue these Luke sermons posting, and apologies in advance, I might be posting week by week some that have already been posted to keep up with the lectionary calendar starting December 2nd.

I recently re-read a journal entry from 2007 that mentioned my desire to wrte a book about Christian discipleship. Wow, that means I have been thinking about this book for at least a dozen years. Again, a project that needs to be worked on and finished.

The painting above popped up as I opened my photo’s program on the computer. It is a very unfinished work I was playing around with a few years ago. I love the idea of abstract, of texture, and of color creation. The painting is also a reminder that I haven’t painted in a long time and that I would enjoy returning to learn that craft.

Perhaps for me, 2019 is the year of finishing things. Let’s hope so! I wonder what the year 2019 will be for you?

 

PS: I ‘m still off of the facebook, but I did sign up for Instagram. ericjliles – just like this blog if you want to find me there.