A sermon on the 8th of July,2018
2 Samuel 5:1-5,9-10
2 Corinthians 12:2-10
Mark 6: 1-13
I would like to start with a reading from Malachi 3:5 least we forget.
“Then I will draw near to you for judgment; I will be swift to bear witness against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired workers in their wages, the widow and the orphan, against those who trust aside the alien, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.”
God calls out: Please Love
God draws near. In todays Gospel reading Christ hometown has to deal with God drawing near. And they reject him. The Gospel this morning is a reminder that not all in our own town will take us seriously. Here was the Son of God within his own town and the fact was not clear to them. Logic did not work. They asked how could this be? We have his family with us, how can this be?
Yes how could this be?
Two weeks ago the apostle’s asked the same question when Christ calmed the storm. They asked who is this that can do these things?
Yes how could this be?
Last week Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “who touched me?”
Yes the same question, “how can this be?”
The woman is healed and she now can return to community, a restoration of life. She had been separated from her community and place of worship, during her sickness. So she was made free again.
In each of these accounts Jesus is saying that great things will happen if one truly has faith. But also that when one speaks out for justices and proclaims the Gospel of love there is always rejection.
The kingdom of God has drawn near is not good news to everyone. There has always been resistance to the true power of God’s love. This is a hard lesion to learn, and hard truth to take hold of.
We know what rejection is like. As St. Alban’s brings the word of God near to the streets and parks. Lets name rejection for what it is a symptomatic issue of the indiscriminate nature of God’s love.
I call it “idolatry” the worship of power, money, and influence. This idolatry has seeped into our society so that even well meaning people do not recognize it and even validate and justify it. We must be careful about how we feel about the Bible and not hold it more valuable than the personal experiences of God, the personal experience of love.
There is another type of idolatry when we put our trust in age-old systems of patriarchy and privilege and patriotism because it is familiar. In this we uphold policies and principles not built on love and do not take care of the poor and alien.
The most difficult idolatry to identify is our worship of the self. The kind of love that thinks that God’s love can be controlled. It’s a love that can be measured out in increments. It demands that God’s love is given out based on worth and merit and then accompanied by comparison and competition.
Rejection starts an unraveling of the self. Causing one to question ones worth, justification of the self and validation of self.
Karoline Lewis said
“External forces clamor for our attention and our loyalties. And all of a sudden, you start trusting, believing in that which makes you feel loved in the moment, worthy in the moment, rather than the one who made you feel more loved than ever before in your whole life.
Rejection is never something easily sloughed off as, “Oh, well. That’s their problem” or, “That’s ok, I’ll just move on.” Jesus knows; rejection is what eats at the soul, even a soul already saved. So, Jesus goes first. Jesus always does.”
After the rejection Christ suffered the twelve go out on mission. They were given the power of healing both spiritual and physical needs. Yet they were rejected and so will we be rejected. As we bring the kingdom of God’s unconditional love into our community.
We must stand up for what is right and fair. Stand up for unconditional love. And name idolatry in our selves and society. Rejection is part of being a Christian. Remember that we have a living God of unconditional love, and our worth is in God’s love.
“The heart of the Christian life is a personal relationship with Christ. A Christian is a person in whom Christ abides. We experience our life in union with Christ through faith, prayer, love, acts of witness, service to others an above all through the Liturgy and the reception of Holy Communion”.(unknown author)