Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Sunday's Sermon: Follow the Leader, and, "Mother, May I?"
Follow the leader.
Remember the game we played growing up?
We asked. And, the leader spoke out how many steps we could take on the cement sidewalk squares in front of our two-story-aluminum-sided home on Arcola Street on Detroit's East Side.
That home still stands.
One leader was required by law in the occupied Palestine of the first century.
One to follow.
One king, one Caesar: the Roman Emperor.
If Jesus is a king, he's absolutely of another DNA, so to speak.
Care, compassion and healing of God's children came through Jesus of Nazareth's death and resurrection.
"God delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, I whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins," Paul's disciple accredited with Colossians engages listeners and the centrality of their faith here.
As David brought together all Jews, Jesus unites followers, and, all people.
Kings and queens I know take care of themselves. Even corporate kings, queens and CEOs, and even Bishop Bling - they call him - in Germany, for example.
Jesus cares for the criminal crucified next to him. "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
This king of the cross is taunted: "If you are king of the Jews, save yourself!"
What kind of king winds up on a tree at the place called The Skull?
How does a king with no army fit into our myth of the first or 20th century, that redemptive violence is the ruling measure?
A myth is a story with a profound truth, you recall. Like the truth of the Adam and Eve mythology that shows them crossing boundaries, sinning, wanting to be center stage - GODS! Like us at times!
The messiah here in this myth save himself and us from death at the hands of all evil enemies.
The means of redemption from evil is killing. Killing big and massively. You know.
We experience daily in the trauma of a terror-filled culture here at home.
This kindly king Jesus doesn't fit into the king's kids' understanding.
Ye, the king on the cross, the gospel reminds us, is the lone one who can save us from the myth of redemptive violence and terror.
Jesus saves us from the willful illusion that we will be freed from evil by killing our enemies.
Jesus points the other way: He always does. He turns us upside down in following him always.
Suffering, dying, love, giving, forgiving of enemies are the soul of the opposite end of killing. The messiah can't kill evil.
But, by dying to evil and self and ego and self-centeredness, and following my own lead, or false leaders, Jesus and you and I can transform it through LOVE!
YES WE CAN!
"THROUGH HIM GOD WAS PLEASED TO RECONCILE TO HIMSELF ALL THINGS, WHETHER ON EARTH OR IN HEAVEN, BY MAKING PEACE THROUGH THE BLOOD OF HIS CROSS." (COLOSSIANS 1:20)
What a king to follow.
Happy festival ANNIVERSARY to you and to Care of the soul.
A blessed beginning with Sandra Bell and Marge Hallman, directors, into another urgent yearning of the Good News so needed now and always in Jesus the Christ, the lone leader who got it right along with the gravity of his Father, and our own, who directs this parade, this procession of life keeping each of us grounded with A GRAVITY that functions so well if but we FOLLOW NOW!