Staying Awake

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Gate Pa 9 November - Pentecost 22, Proper 27, Ordinary Time 32
Psalm                          Psalm 78:1-7                                    NZPB Page 285
First Reading:             Joshua 24:1-3, 14-25                      Bible Page 187
Second Reading:        1 John 4:13-18                                 Bible Page 991
Gospel:                        Matthew 25:1-13                            Bible Page 806
What I want to say:
I want to explore the gospel as a suggestion that we need to build lives of resilient faith that will continue to keep us in the long haul

What I want to happen:
people to think about their practices that sustain their faith
ask what new practices they might be invited to

The Sermon

     1.      Introduction:

Last Wednesday attended Tauranga Ministers Association
as part of the conversation about being a pastor
            -one pastors stated
            that we are running headlong towards coming Jesus
                        interesting statement
                        one level – agree
                        but running headlong for last 2000 years
                        not really on my agenda as more urgent than has been
            already begun reading for this week’s sermon
            passage seems to be all about this urgency

     2.      Matthew

Thought by many that Matthew writing to Jewish Christian community
            who had thought they rushing towards final judgement and Jesus return
now well over 30 years since Jesus died, maybe 40 or 50
still not back
even though Jerusalem fallen and had been destroyed
            if there was ever an event pointing to return Jesus and final judgement
                        surely that was it
Matthew trying make sense of that.
As I said in pew sheet
            theme of final judgement, Jesus return, establishment reign God on earth – is really big theme for Matthew
much bigger than any other gospel writer
what heard this morning part cluster 4 parables on this theme
            Jesus final block teaching in Matthew
set within two chapters all about this theme.
in particular being ready
            and what is involved in that
so we have this story about wedding

     3.      the wedding

this is how weddings worked
groom would leave parents place
go brides family
return home parents with new wife
bridesmaids – really virgins
their job – i understand
was to wait to welcome groom when he returned home
if it was dark – were to light the way.
now was time frame all this normally happened
never guarantee things go to plan
            as can’t today
so best virgins prepared
in this story –
            5 weren’t prepared
-          expecting things happen in their anticipated time frame
-          caught short when things not happen
-          Here is first lesson
-                we don’t determine the timing
-                God does
-                so don’t give up
5 prepared – had extra oil
                        making no assumptions
                        second lesson - be prepared

     4.      The Long Haul

two lessons -  here
            make no assumptions about time frames (in this story)
            we are in this for long haul
as I look around
make my own assumption
that I am aomong people who have been doing this faith thing for a long time
                        you have been in it for the long haul.
how do we sustain our lives of faith for long haul?
what your practices?
talk neighbour moment any like share


     5.      Our context this week

Last week remembered event Parihaka –
            1600 troops and cavalry entered the village at dawn on 5 November 1881.
                        arrested prophets Te Whiti Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi arrested –
Tuesday – remember end WWI 1918
war to end all wars
            decisions made afterwards sowed seeds
                        led to WWII,
                        current problems in middle east
            war over 100,000 men and women from this land – over 10% population went to fight for King and Empire
                        casualty rate around 59% when deaths over next 5 years counted

Wonder what this story has to say about that
wonder what lives of faith lived for long haul have to offer to these two commemorations
invite you to reflect on that over next week or so.


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