Tag Archive for 'kingdom of God'

Good Friday April 22, 2011

John 18:1-19:42                                                                                                                                                                   

I’ve never watched one of those reality TV shows, where people are cast on tropical islands to fend for themselves, voting one another “off the island” until an ultimate winner is left. Maybe in retirement I’ll come to that, but in my ministry I find there is quite enough “reality” just in everyday life. Because I have only a vague, hearsay notion of these “off the island” shows, I don’t know whether you’re allowed to take anything with you to the island. But supposing you are, what would I take? What one thing?

 Well, narrowed down to just one thing, I would have to say the Bible. (A choice that would no doubt ensure that I would be the first person voted off the island!) And if I were pressed to choose just one part of the Bible, it would be the Passion according to St. John, what we just read. As one commentator has said of John’s Passion narrative:

From beginning to end, artistry and ideology have consciously shaped traditions grounded in historical memory for purposes unique to this particular story of Jesus. Numerous details have been included that are nowhere else mentioned in the New Testament. Precise descriptions and electrifying dialogue merge to produce one of the most compelling and powerful stories of courage and commitment, betrayal and fear, politics and passion known to humankind. If we have not learned to find the importance of each word and phrase . . . , we will largely miss the carefully nuanced message of the Johannine Passion narrative. But if we do pay close attention, the story will lead us to the heart of humanity’s most compelling questions, to a forked road down which we must choose our own path[i]. Continue reading ‘Good Friday April 22, 2011’

Pentecost 18 September 26, 2010

Amos 6:1a, 4-7                                                                    

1 Timothy 6:6-19                                                                

Luke 16:19-31

 

Once upon a time there was a young man, the son of a prosperous merchant. He had a love for good times, rich friends, music, partying, and fashionable clothing. One day he was selling cloth in the marketplace for his father when a beggar came by, asking for alms. Finishing his business deal, the young man ran after the beggar, emptying his pockets and giving the beggar all that he had. His friends mocked him for his charity; his father was enraged.

He sought glory on the battlefield, but without success, captured and imprisoned for a year. He suffered a serious illness. He began to spend time alone, wandering in the countryside, praying in abandoned churches. He took to nursing lepers who were shunned by others in society. One day in the marketplace, in a showdown with his father, he stripped off all his rich clothes, renounced his patrimony, and declared his dedication to the poor.

You will have guessed, perhaps, whom I’m talking about: St. Francis of Assisi. Continue reading ‘Pentecost 18 September 26, 2010’

Christ the King November 22, 2009

2 Samuel 23:1-7                                                                 

Revelation 1:4b-8                                                                              

John 18:33-37

So a family was driving to the potluck supper here a week ago, and they were talking about what their names meant. The father, Donald, said that his name was gaelic and it meant ruler of the world. That’s not right, said his daughter; Christ is the ruler of the world.

But what does that mean, that Christ is the ruler of the world – Christ the King, as this last Sunday of the Christian Year has come to be called? Well, one of the things it means, as the gospel reading for today makes clear, is that when it comes to conflicts in values or allegiances, it is Jesus who comes first, not any of the rulers of this world. Jesus was on trial before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate to find out whether he claimed to be the King of the Jews in opposition to Herod, the Roman puppet king. And you may remember from Palm Sunday that when Pilate asks the mob whether Jesus is their king, they reply that they have no king by Caesar. So the tension over who is the ruler of the world was a real one in biblical times.

It’s a real one in our times too. More real than we usually realize. Continue reading ‘Christ the King November 22, 2009’

Pentecost 6 July 12, 2009

Amos 7:7-15                                                                       

Mark 6:14-29                                                                      

Children’s literature is full of stories in which someone discovers a magic doorway – the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland, the back wall of a clothes closet in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – through which they pass into a world where everything is different. The sacrament of Holy Baptism, symbolized by the baptismal font that stands by the entrance to our worship space, is such a magic doorway into the world of Christ. Continue reading ‘Pentecost 6 July 12, 2009’

Pentecost 4 June 28, 2009

Wisdom 1:13-15, 2:23-24       

Mark 5:21-43                                                                      

If we were worshiping in the New Bethel Church in Louisville, Kentucky, two weeks ago, we would have heard a sermon on “God, Guns, Gospel and Geometry.”* Inspired by this message, telling us that America was built on God and guns, we might have attended the “open carry” celebration at the church last night, at which everyone was invited to come to church carrying their firearms, enjoy a picnic and participate in the raffle of a handgun—chances $1 each.

Instead, we gathered here at Holy Cross for worship this morning have this story from Mark’s gospel of two healings—two stories really, intertwined together. Continue reading ‘Pentecost 4 June 28, 2009’