Map writing with John

 Gate Pa – Epiphany 2 – 2013


Hebrew Scripture:      Isa 62: 1-5 
Psalm:                         Psalm: 36: 5-10          
Epistle:                        1 Cor 12: 1-11
Gospel:                        John 2:1-11     

What I want to say:

we live in a time when all maps that told us how to be a successful church no longer work
need to draw new maps
to do that we need to begin with the story of Jesus.

What I want to happen:

people to be willing to let go of how church was, and start to talk about how we are invited to be church now
people to have hope in a God who is committed to us
People to read scripture anew with fresh eyes.

The Sermon

      1.      Introduction:

Wilma’s funeral – lovely celebration of special life
Thank all you made service and afternoon tea so successful
Privileged to be invited to burial
            Maps in head said go to Pyes Pa
            Conversation with +George – in town -> saw hearse turn right
Rising levels anxiety
not know where go
not know how find out where to go

      2.      Missional Mapping

reading Missional Map-making by Alan Roxburgh
only 1/3rd through
maps used understand how to be church no longer work
            keep pointing to wrong place
            like me Thursday
            no idea how work out where going
maps based particular way seeing world
every now and then, way see world shifts
maps no longer work
example offers Galileo
            most western Europe up to C17th say earth centre universe

            ignored work Copernicus

sun and all planets revolved around us
much bigger consequences than just science
affected how saw selves relation to God
how church understood to be God’s representative
Galileo came along said – sun is centre, not us.
suddenly a people took that more seriously
maps made sense of world didn’t work any more
church fought hard old world view and old maps
tried heresy – lived final years in house arrest
as people embraced work Copernicus and Galileo
found needed new maps
didn’t know what new maps look like
in what Roxburgh calls – in between time

      3.      Successful Church

we live in in between time
when old maps no longer work
what makes successful church?
how do we go about being that?
trouble all those is that don’t work any more
difficult place to be for us all
want this to work
but it won’t
time draw new maps

      4.      Isaiah

not alone
people God been here before
couple of todays readings give us some clues how to write new maps
book Isaiah –written for people in “in between times”
actually three books
all written in “in between times” just like we are in today
1st is work actual prophet - Isaiah – C8th –Assyria destroyed Israel, crushed Syria
            Judah became vassal state Assyria- with all uncertainty came with
maps starting not to work

chapter 40 – 55 written much later, when ruling class of Judah in Babylon – exile
            in foreign land
serving foreign king
Jersualem gone
no longer temple
maps based how to be God’s people no longer work
needed new maps
face that person/school reinterpreted prophecies Isaiah to make sense new situation

what heard this morning comes that “3rd Isaiah?”
third section – 3rd Isaiah 56—66
written for people returned find
Jerusalem destroyed
temple wrecked
priests scattered
remnant living there defeated
maps no longer work again
again person/school reinterpreted word Isaiah for this new place
seek rebuild hope, rebuild faith
rekindle their imagination as to who they are as God’s people
likens people to bride, and God bridgroom

      5.      Isaiah and marriage

talked last week about what gets in way reading scripture
one things is that we bring C21st world view
hear marriage, hear celebration of Love
even some commentators talk about this passage in terms God’s love
good thing know God loves us
but not sure that is really what this passage is about.
Bishop Riah – autobiography
when time get married
sought advice who would be good choice
went parish priest
together went parent young woman and began negotiate marriage agreement
not about love
who do I want to commit myself to rest life?
This is what this passage is about
God’s absolute commitment to us
God’s partnership with us
God’s presence among us
God’s delight with us
these are strong images for people in an in between place
where maps no longer make sense
no idea where to begin making new maps 
people like us 

      6.      The Word

second reading that gives some clues is gospel reading
last week talked about what gets in way really reading scripture
            so familiar with it don’t really pay attention
            read it with smooshed together story in our heads, don’t hear actually reading
miss things
First of Jesus signs
miss that this first time mother Jesus appears in John’s gospel (never names her)
miss that John doesn’t talk about miracles but signs
miss that John in particular, (also all gospel writers)
            if you want to understand (as much as we are able) God, and God’s creation
starting point is Jesus
John begins great prologue
prologue talks about “the Word”
            how understand “the Word”?
-          creative word of Genesis?
-          Greek philosophical Word - Logos, template by which all created
maybe neither
cannot apply that theology or philosophy to Jesus
cannot apply any theology or philosophy to Jesus
Story Jesus in base on which theology and philosophy developed
Gospels are lens through which read
Throw away all preconceived notions about who God is
who we are in relation to God
start with Jesus
the Word
John also wrote in an in between time
Christianity had been a Jewish sect
            had maps that told them how to make that work
now temple gone
Jerusalem fallen
centre Christianity moved Antioch
increasingly non Jewish converts
no maps for this
had write new maps
old ways of reading scripture no longer worked
john says
start with Jesus
that is invitation to us today

acknowledge maps no longer work
start again – become map writers
starting with Jesus
one took means by which rid ourselves of impurities gathered from others
turned it into symbol of great feast where all invited