Sermon for the fourth Sunday of Lent

Fourth Sunday in Lent

Knowing where one is going and time of arrival is a real comfort. Or when you travel do you worry about what you are going to eat along the way or on arrival? The people spoke against God and Moses saying, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.” When I am in this kind of darkness. I too have spoken out against God. This is not about food or water or how one feels. This is about looking to God for healing, comfort, and confidence.

John’s Jesus is the preexistent Son of God
Sent into the world to be Gods agent
John’s Jesus insists that believer’s have eternal life in the present at the same time he promises eternal life in the future.

John’s writing is a contrasts between light and darkness, Moses and Jesus, law and truth, acceptance and rejection” With verbs like “believing”, “seeing”, and “knowing”; now that is John’s Jesus. In the Gospel of John everyone speaks the same language. A very limited vocabulary, with the same key words repeating over and over again: love, truth, light, darkness, life, world, see, look, know, believe, ha e faith, send, abide, hour, glory, father, son. John uses these words, which are rare in the other gospel’s, more often that the rest of the New Testament combined .

Scripture: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV)
For many years someone would bring a sign to important foot ball games. All the sign said was, John 3:16 in very large letters. They would always get TV coverage. I often wondered if those signs converted anyone. Where they a light shining in the darkness?
And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.
For all who do evil hate the light or are too fearful to admit to evil. And do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.” Now that is my kind of evangelism. Let your light so shine that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven.

We are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works.

Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Lent is a time for us to ask ourselves what part of the dark do we still like. Where do we live in the dark?
Can we as a community move through lent without guilt yet open ourselves up to understanding of our personal and communal shortcomings?
Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. In todays pluralism do we believe this?
I think that one could conclude that John’s community was hard pressed in proclaiming the Gospel of light to the world and also have encountered push back from the World. For John’s world was pluralistic in believers and non-believers. I suggest that our mission is as difficult. Pluralistic ideas of our time have seeped into our theology.
Today’s pluralism has had a profound effect on our lives and the church. The church struggles with defining the difference between diversity and pluralism. Diversity without real encounter and relationships will increase tensions in our society. Pluralism is not just tolerances it should be the active seeking of understanding of the differences. I am not saying that tolerance in not a public virtue, but it does not remove our ignorance of one another, and leaves us with stereotype, half-truths, and fears. Fear that has lead to violence and division.
This inability of our social order to engage person to person will prove to be very costly and be a place were darkness would prevail.
In today’s society many of us are faired to let our true opinions be known, yet a full one on one relationship relies on openness.
“Pluralism is based on dialogue. The language of pluralism is that of dialogue and encounter, give and take, criticism and self-criticism. Dialogue means both speaking and listening, and that processes reveal both common understandings and real differences. Dialogue does not mean everyone at the “table” will agree with one another. Pluralism involves the commitment to being at the table — with one’s commitments.
I hope that we as a church can come to this table and not water down our theology, and not be part of the heresy of feel good theology, a theology where every idea is accepted as truth without thoughtful consideration of our three-legged stool, of a balanced understanding of authority, tradition, and God’s revelation. This balanced understanding of the middle way, “Via Media” is an Anglican willingness to tolerate and comprehend opposing viewpoints instead of imposing tests of orthodoxy or resorting to heresy trials.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good and his mercy endures forever.

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