Sunday, August 31, 2014

Imagine that some more

Gate Pa – Pentecost 12
(22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time in Year A)
Psalm:                         Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26,45c                               
Psalm Response:  Glory to God – Creator, Word and Spirit
As God always was, is now, and will be forever.  Amen.

First Reading:            Exodus 3:1-15                                                            
Second Reading:        Romans 12:9-21                                              
Gospel:                       Matthew 16:21-28                                                    

What I want to say:
Use the three readings to explore the big question – who are we. From there I want to ask 3 questions – what seismic shifts are we invited into ourselves? What is our vocation in this place? What is my role in that vocation?

What I want to happen:
People to reflect on these questions and begin to live it out.

The Sermon

      1.     Introduction:

Dominant images in media last few weeks
            election – all which coloured by nicky hagars book –“dirty politics”
                        ongoing revelations and ramifications.
                        significant proportion
                                    take little interest – just vote as have last couple elections
                                    not vote at all – just encourages them
            international stage what happening Syria and Iraq –
                        James Foley – beheaded
            and ISIS crusade (use that word deliberately – mirrors Christian crusade 8-900 years ago)
                        targeting all those do not conform their idea what one believe or how behave
how to make sense of all this?
so hard
face of all that we have these three readings

      2.     Moses

foundational story Jewish people
“our people were slave in Egypt
Lord God heard our cry
rescued us and brought us through wilderness into promised land”
story recited every Passover for last 3000 years, and many occasions in between
here is beginning
grown up in Egyptian court
now shepherd far away
happy with life with wife’s family
life good
stumbles across burning bush
in that bush meets God ancestors
life turned upside down
everything took granted changed
given his vocation
free Hebrew people
see God, world and himself differently
God cares and will rescue Hebrew people
Moses would be vehicle of that
seismic shift

      3.     Gospel

not only time God invites God’s people make such seismic shift
exile another such time
most important – Jesus
one purposes of gospels help struggling churches grasp this shift and to live it out
disciples still not really get what Jesus on about
like most people – hopes future shaped desire for long life, safety, health,
                        maybe - wealth, power,
looking for world as it had been with them at top
Jesus not offering that
offering kingdom God, kingdom heaven
radically inclusive world
fuelled God’s infinite compassion and love for all humanity
kingdom not built on obedience to rules and law
not motivated by maintaining rigid boundaries
not motivated by long life, safety, health, wealth, power,
instead - life lived response to God;s love
God’s welcome and embrace
lived such way I and all people filled God’s life and love
all treated and live and sons and daughter living God
only way to that world is through the cross
Christ breaks power darkness
we in turn shed deep desires good life for ourselves.
ð Paul’s Letter Romans hear his radical drawing that life
o   in passage from heard today
passage motivated astounding story what happened her at Gate Pa 150 years ago
            acts deep courage and compassion

      4.     Two themes - vocation

two themes for me all this
first – we too, like Moses,
            like early disciples
            given vocation
one troubling things about being ordained
often asked when called to “the ministry”
answer – when baptised
all of us have God given vocation
given through baptism
mine just got marked out little more clearly
your vocation not less important
not less vital than mine
like Moses – not always easy understand it
but it is who we are

      5.     second theme – living it out our legacy

second theme – shaped story how Heni Kiri Te Karamu and Henare Taratoa and maybe others
acted out reading Romans
under great duress
putting own lives at risk
treated invading British soldiers as brothers in Christ
gave them water
how then do we live out that legacy?

      6.     Isis and elections

easy just take granted what others say
being flowers of the way involves digging deeper
have preconceptions broken open
work not have own prejudices reinforced
join God creating kingdom
what happening in Syria and Iraq is horrific
            for people involved
            for Muslims and Christians around world
sadly mirrors exactly what western Christians have done too often
in name Jesus Christ
How then do we engage and respond as people of the way?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Imagine that

The lectionary presents us with a fascinating triplet of readings this week, all of which demand that we focus just on them. And in other weeks we might have been able to do just that. But not this week. This week we need to pay attention to all three.
The first reading is the call of Moses in Exodus. Last week if we had had the lectionary readings we would have heard the story of Moses the baby being saved from Pharaoh, and ironically growing up with Pharaoh. This week we have skipped over the account of his stepping in on behalf of a slave and killing an Egyptian, and we find him way up north at Mount Horeb, looking after his father in law’s sheep. On Mount Horeb, the sacred mountain, he encounters the burning bush which is not consumed. He stands on holy ground and he is given his vocation for the rest of his life. He is invited, well, more dragged kicking and screaming, to reimagine himself not as shepherd, but of leader of God’s people, and spokesperson for the God of those people to pharaoh, as the one who will bring them to a land of milk and honey. And he is invited to reimagine God as the one who saves. Strangely he is not so keen. But it is hard to say no when you are on holy ground hearing the voice of God.
Paul in his letter to the Romans also invites his readers to imagine themselves in a new way. Rather than being defenders of what is theirs, they are to be the conveyers of God’s deep compassion and infinite love to all, even those who hated them and who strove to persecute them. They are to treat them well, feeding and offering them drink.  Today’s piece from this letter is our reading. It is what motivated the selfless and courageous acts of kindness on this battlefield 150 years ago. It continues to speak to us today. We are the ones who are to carry on that legacy.
Finally we have our gospel reading. A reading in which Peter has gone from hero to zero. Last week, Peter proclaimed Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, and in return was told that he is now Peter, the rock on which the church is to be built. And now he is getting it all wrong, and being told to “get behind me Satan.” Peter, and the disciples thought following this Messiah would lead to the end of Rome, maybe the end to Herod and the High Priests, with a new order being established, with them at the top enjoying all the fruits of that position. Power, wealth, honour. That is the road they are looking for. It is not the road Jesus is on. His way is the way of the cross. It leads to humiliation and death. He invites his disciples, including you and me, to follow him on that road. Sadly too often we as Christians have thought that Christ did the all suffering for us, and we simply enjoy the fruits of that suffering in honour, wealth, power today. We can see this all around us if we look. It is not what Jesus is saying. That way is not the way of life. We are to reimagine what the way is, and follow Christ on his way.
Today we are invited to reimagine. What is it you are being invited to reimagine this day? Your vocation? What you look for from your life of faith? How you live that faith out day to day? May we know God’s peace and goodness as we pray this week.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dogs and Such

Gate Pa – 17 August 2013
Psalm:                                                 Psalm: 133                                                     
First Reading:                                       Genesis 45:1-15     
Second Reading                        Romans 11:1-2, 29-32       
Gospel:                                       Matthew 15: (10-20) 21-28 

What I want to say:
I want to explore three different ways of reading this passage today. The first is that Jesus is just rude. The second that here we see both Jesus and the early Christian community struggling with the universal implications for what Jesus was teaching and living out. To read it in this way people need to keep in mind some information about how the New Testament came to be, Thirdly I want to place this story with the what Jesus is talking about before it, and to suggest this is used by Matthew as an example of what Jesus is saying, that it is not obedience to the law that makes one clean, but what comes from ones heart.

What I want to happen:
People to be more informed to read and understand scripture for themselves.

The Sermon

     1.      Introduction:

begin with a quiz
what language did Jesus speak?
what language was the Old Testament written in?
what language was the New Testament written in?
who wrote the oldest book in the New Testament?
How might we describe how the New Testament is organised?
What is the second volume of the Gospel according to Luke?
What are the Synoptic Gospels?
When did Paul write his letters?
When were the gospels thought to have been written?
What happened in 70CE?

     2.      A Tricky Gospel.

this morning’s gospel is tricky
one level, Jesus appears rude Jew, trapped by time and culture
            – part- truth to that
people often get around that by suggesting
            that really only testing disciples and woman
            –> given not treat anyone else like this,
            - most commentators read suggested unlikely
how then make sense of what happening here?
keep it in context
two contests need pay attention to
times written

     3.      times written

Here we see both Jesus and the early Christian community struggling with the universal implications for what Jesus was teaching and living out.
– use quiz to explore

     4.      Context With Text Itself

en-fleshed example of teaching vs 10-20
16 Jesus replied, "You too? Are you being willfully stupid? 17 Don't you know that anything that is swallowed works its way through the intestines and is finally defecated? 18 But what comes out of the mouth gets its start in the heart. 19 It's from the heart that we vomit up evil arguments, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, lies, and cussing. 20 That's what pollutes. Eating or not eating certain foods, washing or not washing your hands—that's neither here nor there."
– explore

5.      Conclusion
which of these ring true for us?
how invite us into deeper understanding of who we are and our place in God’s ongoing work today?