Sermon notes for Lent IV
26th March, 2017
So that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind. (John 9.39)
I offer you this morning five points of wisdom. I believe these truths give substance to Jesus’ mission to allow us to see past our blindness. They are not my five points. I learned them from Fr Richard Rohr, and they help me see past the smoke and mirrors I make of my life. They may be shocking to you, or uncomfortable, but I know they are truth, and you should expect nothing less from your preachers. Besides, they will lead us into the heart of God.
LIFE IS HARD
Life is not fair; even the good things in life can be hard.
You are signed with the cross in baptism, so don’t be surprised when it shows itself.
Difficulty, pain and suffering are the only elements strong enough to get the full attention of our egos. Even adversity has grace in the wisdom of God.
Remember: Suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope is not disappointing because God’s love has been poured into our hearts. (Romans 5.3-5)
YOU ARE GOING TO DIE
Mortality and impermanence must become apparent. Life here is limited. Death has a place in the economy of God. To look in the face of death, to know its language and its limits, reduces fear and sets us free. Grief will come. Grief comes because we love, but we need not fear.
We came from God and we are going back to God. Everything in between is a school. (Rohr)
Remember: There is nothing in death or life, nothing in the realm of spirits or superhuman powers, nothing in the present nor future, in the forces of the universe, in heights or depths – nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8.39)
YOU ARE NOT THAT IMPORTANT
Humility is essential for human health and happiness. Humility assures there is room for others, and their humility makes room for us. You are gifted, chosen, and cherished, one among many, but not more than one.
We are of the earth – hummus – and our dignity is that we are human, beloved of God.
All else is window dressing
Remember: Your name is written in heaven (Luke 10.20
YOU ARE NOT IN CONTROL
We believe we are until God leads us to limits of our own resources. Then we might learn something utterly new and good. We are stewards, by grace, but not in control.
Reality is in control – let the actual teach us. Spiritual journey begins when we know we are not in control.
Remember: Jesus - I am with you always… (Mt 28.20) And the essential lesson from Job – Someone trustworthy IS in control.
YOUR LIFE IS NOT ABOUT YOU
You are about life – small part of a larger picture – a momentary instance in the suffering and resurrection of God
You are part of this grand mystery of life, life that we share with every other creature on earth, life that came before us and will go on after us. It is not about us, we are about life
The opposite of death is not life. The opposite of death is birth, like opening and closing parentheses. But there is life before birth and after death, God’s great gift. And if God is greater than life, then we are part of God. Your life is hid with Christ in God… Colossians 3.4)
Jesus said he came into the world, “So that those who do not see may see...
Think on these things: Life is hard; you are going to die; you are not that important; you are not in control; your life is not about you. See if they don’t ring true at a profound level. Check the Bible verses. Then take your old head off, and put on a new heart. It will change everything. Amen.
I don't know what the future of the church is, but I know that we will continue to be a place of sanctuary and hope, working towards healing in the world.