Thursday, February 11, 2016

Facing our desires in Lent



Last week I talked about how our desires betray us. Despite our best intentions, our desires show who we truly are. They reveal how we see the world, God and our place in all this we cannot hide from them. 

This week we begin Lent by hearing the story of Jesus being tested in the wilderness. We too often use the word "tempted", but really this is a test: a test of Jesus' deepest desires and what they reveal about what it means for him to be the Son of God. And he is tested in the three areas that so often betray us: food and comfort, wealth and power, status and honour. Lent is a time for us to face these same tests through prayer, giving and fasting.

This lent our studies are on stewardship. Stewardship is about joining God's generous creativity for all this world and all who live in it. We can only do that when we face our desires.

May this Lent renew us all in being shaped in God's love and life.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

A Call to Be

Can be listened to here


Gate Pa – Epiphany 5 or 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time – you pick

Readings:
Psalm                                      Psalm:138                                                                                                        
First Reading:                         Isaiah 6:1-8
Second Reading:                    1 Cor 15:1-11
Gospel:                                    Luke 5:1-1

What I want to say:
I want to explore the nature of our call in terms of who we are rather than what we are clled to do. And I want to use Brain McLarens thoughts on patterns and my thoughts on images to think about being called to be the image of God in this place at this time – what might that mean for us? And I want to explore Te Tiriti in light of all that
What I want to happen:
Invite people to reflect on who they desire to be, and who God deisres them to be.

The Sermon

     1.     Introduction:

A married couple in their early 60s were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary in a quiet and romantic little restaurant.
Suddenly a tiny yet beautiful fairy appeared on their table. She said, “for being such an exemplary married couple and for being loving to each other for all this time, I grant you each a wish”.
The wife answered, Oh, I want to travel around the world with my darling husband”. The fairy waved her magic wand and poof! – two tickets for the Queen Mary II appeared in her hands.
The husband thought for a moment: “well, this is all very romantic, but an opportunity like this will never come again. I’m sorry my love, but my wish is to have a wife 30 years younger than me”.
The wife and the fairy were deeply disappointed, but a wish is a wish. So the fairy waved her magic wand and poof!...the husband became 92 years old.

     2.     Being Careful

[Isaiah]    our desires reveal a lot about us don’t they
a lot of who we really are
            the husband was not all that people thought he was
we have just heard the story of the call of Isaiah
            called to be a prophet
called to be a prophet to kingdom Judah
            southern kingdom
                        Judah thought it was holy and righteous kingdom
                        kings stood in line with David
worshipped in true temple in Jerusalem
as opposed to those backsliding cousins up north
-         Abandoned Davidic kings
-         set up own places worship
-         now for all their sins - under serious threat from Assyria –
like husband
their desires revealed who truly were
Isaiah was called be to prophet to them not to the north
-         own desires for wealth and security at expense of the poor
o   immigrant
o   orphans and widows
o   and their northern neighbours
revealed that not all they thought they were
Their desires
            like husbands wish
betrayed them.
wonder what our desires reveal about us?
Lent is a time to reflect on exactly that question
            –> what do our desires reveal about us?

     3.     Call

[disciples]    lot of today’s readings are about call
When talk about call – I often think in terms of call to do something
Isaiah was called to prophesy
Peter, James and John were called to follow Jesus and do what he says
I am called to work as a priest
Bonnie is called to teach
others called to play music
            work in Altar guild
            run AAW
            work as vestry members
            go to Synod etc….
Call is often described in terms of doing things
But Isaiah, Peter, James and John weren’t just called to do something
in readings we heard today
            called to changed their understanding of who they were.
Isaiah was called to “be” a prophet
            involved radical change in how saw himself
            how he saw his family
                        his community
                        southern kingdom
            radical change in what he desired
            would change how all those people saw him
            changed his relationships with everyone
Same is true for Peter, James and John.
            stepped out family networks
                        defined who they were
                        what did with their lives
                        how made decisions
                        their priorities
                        their desires
            the call to follow Jesus redefined everything about themselves
                        no longer son of ancestors
                        now disciple of Jesus first and foremost
same is true of us
we talk about our call in terms of doing things
when really we are called to be
be what?

     4.     Be What?

last week talked about patterns by which we understand our lives
            our interactions
            our world
used four patterns suggested by Brian McLaren:
remind you what said last week
each pattern has it's own logic.
[logic]   McLaren offers three universal patterns of logic that are applied
as read them I thought about images of God that fit with each one
·        pattern of rivalry - cosmos is huge battlefield where participants survive by competing, defeating, displacing, winning.
            Image of God the goes with that is God the Victorious King.
·        pattern of compliance - where learn rules to live by
            Image of God is God the judge
·        pattern of meaningless mechanism - just cogs larger system with no inherent meaning
            No God
·        4th pattern or logic is that of God revealed in life Jesus Christ
            -  logic or pattern of love

     5.     Call and Patterns

Lets apply those patterns to our discussion about call
All of us use these patterns to see understand our lives
whether we like it or not
            we operate out of rivalry, or compliance, or meaningless mechanism
We are called
like Peter, James and John
to see ourselves differently
we are called to see ourselves in terms of this new pattern revealed in Jesus
this logic of love
that is the call of every Christian
it is a lot harder than it sounds
as our desires reveal
when we feel honest enough to really look at them.

     6.     Call of Society

another aspect of call that is called into question in today’s readings
that we see call as individual thing
            Isaiah was called
            Peter was called
            I am called
stories heard today – those calls have a communal aspect to them
Call of Isaiah is to be a prophet to kingdom of Judah
            remind whole kingdom
            that they are to be a community
                        a society
                        patterned after God’s compassion, mercy, generosity
                                    ->patterned after God’s love
            his call had social, economic, political consequences.
Call of Disciples also had social, economic, political consequences
Jesus taught and modelled what communities would look like when
            modelled on love
            modelled on compassion, mercy, generosity
Same is true for us.
we are called to model what communities would look like when
            modelled on love
            modelled on compassion, mercy, generosity

      7.     The Treaty

[Te Tiriti]       Yesterday  we remembered, commemorated, signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi
intrinsically Anglican document
-         petitioned for by, among others, Anglican missionaries
-         argued for in London by Anglican humanitarians who sought to protect Maori from worst effects of encounter with settlers
-         drawn up and translated by Anglicans
-         signed by those trusted (among others) Anglican Missionaries
o   understood text in light of what those missionaries taught on other occasions about bible
-         taken by (among others) Anglican Missionaries around the country for more Maori to sign
our fingerprints are all over this thing
which is why it is at heart of our church’s constitution.
Sadly
our desires have too often let us down
too often we lost our calling
            lost our identity in God’s love
adopted other patterns
            patterns of rivalry – where Maori were seen as opponents, and then enemies
                        where we desired what they had and more
                        worked to compete with,
                                    defeat,
                                    displace,
                        so much of the talk around Treaty Settlements still uses this language
                                    still comes out of this logic
            patterns of compliance
                        where we imposed our rules
                                    meted out punishment when they were not complied with
                        so much of treaty talk still echoes these patterns as well.
Today we are reminded that we are called to be more
that we are called to live by another pattern
we are called to join Isaiah, Peter, John and James
be a reflection of God’s love, generosity, mercy,
Treaty of Waitangi is ours
We stand with Isaiah
Our calling today is to invite our nation to be more than we have been
to honour the dream of those who first conceived of and signed this document
that our country and how we relate with each other
             might once again be patterned of God’s love