Abide

This sermon can be listened to here


Gate Pa – Year A  6th Sunday of Easter,

Readings:
Psalm                          Psalm:  66:8-19                                              
First Reading:                         Acts 17:22-31                         
Second Reading:        1 Peter 3:13-22                 
Gospel:                        John 14:15-21    
                               
What I want to say:
The gift of the Spirit is that the glory of God resides in each one of us, that all may be drawn into the way of God – the way of compassion, generosity, justice and love.
What I want to happen:
People to reflect on this awesome gift, and awesome responsibility.

The Sermon

       1.     Introduction:

Season of Easter which still in
is 50 days from Easter Sunday until Pentecost
time for us to reflect on what resurrection means for us today
what it means for us to live resurrected lives
resurrected lives – what does that mean
resurrected from what?

       2.     Resurrection

for most last five years I have been saying, on and off
that too often Christians have thought that point of Christianity is getting us into heaven
resurrection then becomes something that happens way in the future
but I have been saying from biblical point of view
point Christianity is God’s honouring of the eternal covenant with this world and humanity,
that humanity would be restored
            as St. Augustine of Hippo said
            we are reminded that we are made in image of God
            God’s love and compassion resides in heart of each of us
and creation renewed
resurrection begins when we are freed from death of worshipping false idols
false idols of power
            wealth
            security
            placing ourselves first

        3.     John

to help us explore all this
lectionary writers have offered us various passages from John’s gospel
particularly passages that help us into some of the big themes of John’s gospel
2 weeks ago we explored the big themes of life
            life
            eternal life
            abundant life
met again last week as we explored what Jesus might have meant by
he being the way, truth and life.
this week we continue to hear Jesus last words to his disciples
continues one themes also heard last week
theme first introduced in great prologue of John’s gospel
theme of abiding
God father abiding in Jesus
Jesus abiding in God father
Jesus abiding in us
we abiding in Jesus
so much abiding
so how might we understand all this abiding?

       4.     Exile

For those who were with Jesus
            all of whom were Jews
and for John’s hearers
thought most of whom were also Jews
it has been suggested that this is all about shekinah
            glory of God
            presence of God in temple
lets tell the story of God’s presence in the temple
God back to exodus
When God honoured covenant -= made with Abraham
bless Abraham’s descendants so that they might be a blessing
might be the mean by which God’s promise to all people and creation would be honoured
God chose Moses to lead people out slavery
            into promised land
glory God – shekinah of God
led them as pillar cloud in day
            pillar flame at night
when eventually claimed Land
given Torah to show them how to live in presence of God
to live as a blessing
at that time glory God first resided in tent of tabernacle
            then in temple once build by Solomon
            in Holy of Holies
but over time people God forgot who they were
forgot that were to be a blessing for all people
worshipped false idols of power, greed, wealth
put Torah to one side
powerful enslaved poor
            forgetting that they had all once been slaves
either ignoring the aliens or treating them with contempt
result was fall both kingdoms
destruction of Jerusalem
destruction of the temple
people taken into exile
glory God left temple
left the land.
In some ways the exile ended when Nehemiah and Ezra returned
In some ways it ended when temple was rebuilt
But in reality the exile continued
glory God did not return
while Herod's rebuilding of temple was magnificent
God was not present
people longed for day
glory God would return
God would once again be among people God
Israel would be blessed to be a blessing.

       5.     Jesus is the glory – we are the glory

which brings us to John
the prologue makes it clear that glory returns
this time not to the temple
but in person of Jesus
The man Jesus is the long awaited return of the glory of God
In Jesus, the exile is ended.
so when John has Jesus say that he abides in the father
and the father abides in him
he is saying that he is the shekinah of God
covenant is fulfilled
Israel is restored
through Israel humanity is restored
creation will be renewed.
But Jesus goes further
Jesus says to his bewildered and grief stricken disciples
I will abide in you
and if I abide in you
my father will abide in you.
or
you too will be the glory of God
you and I
when we live the way of Jesus
we are the glory of God
what an amazing gift
what as amazing responsibility.

       6.     Truth

want to finish with some thoughts on this word truth
what is meant by that
The Greek word which is translated into English as "truth" is alethea.
“"Lethe" is the river in Greek mythology that the dead drank from in Hades in order to forget their past.
And so "a-lethea" - truth – is opposite
has the sense of: waking up; remembering; overcoming oblivion and stupor; being alive and vital; not being deceived by false ideas or desires or scams; SEEING what is as it actually is.”[1]
Today Jesus says that not only do we abide in risen Christ and risen Christ abide in us
but he also sends the Spirit of Truth to be our advocate
The Spirit of Truth wakes us up from our forgetting who we are,
Spirit reminds us that we are made in the image of love.
reminds us that we are glory God present in our families
            in our communities
            in this world.

       7.     Resurrected Life

began this morning by wondering
what is resurrected life
resurrected life is when we remember who we are
resurrected life is when we live way of God
resurrected life is when we embrace that glory God resides within us
and we live that out in our everyday lives
what does it mean to be reminded that the glory of God is within us?
how do we live this out?



[1] http://www.holytextures.com/2011/04/john-14-15-21-year-a-easter-6-sermon.html

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