The Community that Calls Christ King

The Community that Calls Christ King

Sermon on Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 and Matthew 25:31-46 for Christ the King Sunday, November 26, 2017

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24

Matthew 25:31-46

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.

“Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’

“Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

I grew up in the suburbs of Dayton, Ohio – which is a small city, but large enough to have homeless people downtown. 

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Dayton was also large enough to have an area called the West Side, just across the river from downtown, which a few blocks west of the riverbank is quite poor.  It was where Dayton’s version of the race riots of the 1960’s happened. 

Most of my suburban friends had never been over to the West side, and the majority had never walked by homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks of the city.  But I had.  I happened to have a friend named John whose father owned rental housing on the West side. 

John and I started working for his dad on weekends and summers, all through high school.  So, I was on the West side a lot, and downtown too, where we often went to buy supplies.  I saw poverty up close.  I saw homeless people, prostitutes and pimps, drug dealers, and lots of poor people just trying to get by.   

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Vision and Longing

Vision and Longing

Sermon on Amos 5:14-15, 24 and Matthew 6:24-33 for Pentecost +23A, November 12, 2017

Amos 5:14-15, 24

Seek good and not evil,
that you may live;

and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you,
just as you have said.
Hate evil and love good,
and establish justice in the gate;

it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts,
will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an everflowing stream.

Matthew 6:24-33

“No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

  “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?  And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin,  yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?   Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’   For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.   But strive first for the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Vision and Longing

Last week in my Sunday school class we watched a video clip of a professor doing a   lecture that really could be called a rant.  He spoke with passion and strong language.  I sent the link to the video to someone who replied that his delivery was so powerful it was almost off-putting, but he spoke with such intelligence that his rant was compelling. 

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We only read a snippet of the prophet Amos, but Amos reads like a rant.  He feels passionately about issues so he uses intense language.  And because he is a prophet, and prophets speak for God, he makes it sound like God is ranting too. 

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“You are all students” he said.

“You are all students” he said.

Sermon on Matthew 23:1-12 for Pentecost +22A, Nov. 5, 2017

“You are all students” he said.

Matthew 23:1-12

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the market-places, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father — the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Wednesday was All Saints Day, which we celebrated last Sunday in church by remembering those who were dear to us, who are no longer with us in this life.  

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Every Wednesday we have our pot luck supper and adult discussion, so, this past Wednesday, since it was All Saints Day, and since it is the beginning of November and therefore the time we approach Thanksgiving, we started our discussion by going around and naming a person who was no longer with us, whom we were especially thankful for. 

The sharing was deep and personal, often emotional.  As we explained our reasons for being grateful for the people who had been important to us, we could all sense this state of appreciation and gratitude that seemed to fill the room.

Continue reading ““You are all students” he said.”