Sunday, May 14, 2017

Easter 5A, 2017: Oneing as a royal priesthood

I had the privilege of supplying again today at St. Mark's, Chester, SC. My sermon was extemporaneous, but the voice file failed to capture properly. So... I post my sermon notes instead.

Lectionary: Acts 7:55-60; Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16; 1 Peter 2:2-10; John 14:1-14

Rhythm of life: crucifixion, death, resurrection. Our story never ends at death - no matter how bad the circumstances look. Jesus speaking to his disciples, preparing them for what is about to happen (his arrest, trial, execution, death, and resurrection). They don't get it. How could they?

Jesus says over and over (6x) Believe... Believe = trust. Trust me. Trust God. No matter what happens. Don't get stuck in the death. Let the rest of the story unfold. Trust God. Trust me...

The end of our story is always resurrection and new life.

Plan of God: love and redemption. Always. At all times.

SALVATION: The Greek word translated as “saved” literally means to make sound, that is, in good condition – free from injury or disease. It meant to preserve someone from danger, loss, or destruction. It was used by our forebears in the faith to mean being delivered from the consequences of sin and death and it included the bringing in of blessings in the place of condemnation.”

ONEING: Julian of Norwich: Her concept of the Trinity. “For the almighty truth of the Trinity is our Father, for he made us and keeps us in him; and the deep wisdom of the Trinity is our Mother in whom we are all enclosed; and the high goodness of the Trinity is our Lord and in him we are enclosed and he in us.”

Her concept of “oneing” confirms that we can never be completely cut off from love. “For he says… ‘I am loving you, and you are loving me: and our loving shall never be parted in two.’”

CHRIST THE MOTHER OF MERCY: she describes the wondrous kindness and tenderness of God’s maternal love. “And therefore he is compelled to feed us, for the precious love of his motherhood makes him a debtor to us. The mother may suckle her children with her own milk (see 1Peter reading for today), but our precious Mother Jesus, he may feed us with himself…he may lead us homely into his blessed breast by his sweet open side and show within part the Godhead and the joys of heaven, with spiritual certainty of endless bliss.”

ROYAL PRIESTHOOD: (See 1Peter reading)
"let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ... But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."

Jewish temple priests served as intermediaries between God and the people of God - bringing God to the people. They conducted animal sacrifices meant to please God.

Jesus seeks different from us: the sacrifice of ourselves - our praise and thanksgiving. To move from a concept about God to the indwelling of God.
• Holy Eucharist - taking the body of Christ into our bodies, which metabolize, and literally become part of us - our very cells. The concept becomes an embodied reality.
• We do this regularly, together, to help us "grow into our salvation" - maturing our Christianity all our lives.

The Psalms:
• God also called for “a sacrifice of thanksgiving” (Psalm 50:14, 23).
• “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit” (Psalm 51:17)
• “Let my prayer be set before you like incense; the lifting up of my hands like the evening sacrifice” (Psalm 141:2).

• “to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service” (Romans 12:1).

• “Through (Jesus), then, let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of lips which proclaim allegiance to his name. But don’t forget to be doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:15-16).

Eucharistic Prayer:
• We offer our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving...

Why this matters: WE are the dwelling places of God in God's household. The spirit of Jesus dwells in us - as individuals, as a faith community, AND as this moment in Christian history - that we might carry it into the darkness of the world.

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