Entwined Roots

Can be listened to here

Gate Pa – Year A  16th Sunday of Ordinary Time,
Psalm                          Psalm: 139:1-12, 23-24                  
First Reading              Gen 28:10-19a                                                  
Second Reading         Rom 8:12-25                                                      
Gospel                         Matt 13:24-30, 36-43                                      
What I want to say:
Use Matthew and Paul to explore how our roots are buried in the faithfulness of God to the covenant -  the promise to restore humanity and renew creation through God’s people.
When we are faithful to this (righteous) we find life
What I want to happen:
How might is our vision for what the life of Christ is about. How might we be invited to grow it?

The Sermon

     1.      Introduction:

had a week off from Paul – should be excited and ready for more
For those who were not here for my introduction there are a few copies of my sermon available at the door.
 some edited highlights:
-          Paul is Jew –
-          radical – a lot discontent about his understanding of gospel – seen to have gone too far
-          those letters comprise @25% of NT - important
-          not write all letters that have his name on were written by him
-          letters were written to particular people at particular times to address particular issues
o   not written to be read as anything more than that
§  need to pay attention to who written to, why it was written, and social context written in and for.
-          Letter to churches in Rome is unique
o   not been there and so not know people as well, and they do not know him.
§  not off the cuff but carefully thought out and reasoned
-          writing to little house churches, some Jewish and some Gentile about place of Torah in their lives as followers of the Way of Christ
-          Paul's letter to Romans is written to help them move beyond this conflict so that they can support his mission to Spain

       2.      Matthew

clear that early church was not harmonious and peaceful
outbreaks conflict all over place
like churches in Rome
-          clear that church Matthew wrote for had significant conflict
stories like today's, and other stories all about conflict within and between those struggling little churches.
to this conflict Matthew offers this wonderful little story
            too often ignore or misread
how often when we are in a disagreement or conflict do we revert into
“I’m right and you are wrong”
or to put it another way
“I am wheat and all good
and you are a weed and all bad
we should separate and I can be rid of you!”
It happens so often
history of the church and our church is full of exactly that
east and west mutual excommunications in 1200s
protestant reformation in 1500’s –
birth of Methodism and Salvation Army
today in world-wide Anglican church we have groups doing exactly that over place homosexuals and women in our church
            one things we are going to talk about at Regional Conference is how we might avoid exactly that
“I am wheat and all good
and you are a weed and all bad
we should separate and I can be rid of you!”
to which Matthew says
-          you are not the one to judge between wheat and weeds – that is God’s job
o   pretty disappointing
o   what is the fun in that
-          dangerous to pull apart because our roots are entwined
o   hurt each other
o   need to wait until the end of the age (which he thought was quiet soon)
o   then God will sort it out
-          involves level of patience and humility

       3.      Roman soil

Paul's answer to conflict in Rome
(more in your face in other letters)
            slightly different to Matthews
rather than just roots being entwined
I think Paul is saying that our roots are in same soil
that soil is theme of his whole letter
-          Gospel of God
-          what sermon of two weeks ago was all about
o   apologise so long
o   trying in those sermons lay out groundwork
-          God’s righteousness
-          here was need to be careful

       4.      God’s righteousness

At service down south last week with some friends
in sermon priest said that “If we are faithful God is faithful”
hear a lot
how many would agree with this
“If we are faithful God is faithful”
Paul would say just
God is faithful no matter what
-          story of Hebrew scriptures is all about faithfulness of God no matter what Israel does
-          story Gospels is faithfulness of God revealed and fulfilled in Jesus
-          faithfulness based on who God is and not and what we do
soil in which we are all planted and in which our roots entwine is God’s faithfulness.
But who or what is God faithful to?

       5.      God’s faithfulness

that takes us back to really long sermon from 2 weeks ago
takes us to this week’s reading just heard
God is faithful to covenant – through people of God, God would restore humanity and renew creation
that is what he is talking about in this morning’s reading
humanity and creation is groaning waiting for covenant to be fulfilled
really important to understanding Paul
He is not saying that God is faithful to us alone
            to our hopes, dreams and desires
too often Gospel reduced to God is faithful to church
or people of church
Paul’s vision is much bigger
Soil in which we are all planted is God’s faithfulness to all humanity and all creation
Story of God in scripture is story of God’s faithfulness
and in baptism we are baptised into this grand story
which should shape our understanding of who we are and what we are to do
when we forget this
            when who we are and what we do is shaped by own hopes and dreams for ourselves and those we love
            then we are in sin
This is such a big vision
Pauls response to conflict then was to offer a huge vision of what the gospel of God is all about
and I think also saying that we are all a little bit wheat and a little bit weed
            so get over yourselves
he offers us the same huge vision
wonder if we have courage see our roots planted deep in this soil
this soil is not about keeping the church going
it is about restoration of humanity and renewal of creation
and small and important roles we play in that
invitation to reflect on and discuss this statement:
"Our roots are buried in the faithfulness of God:
God’s faithfulness is to the covenant -  the promise to restore humanity and renew creation through God’s people. 
When we are faithful to this (righteous) we find life".