Saturday, July 26, 2014

"Stop the Killing!" ~God

"Stop the Killing!" ~God

Somebody has to tell the religious nut cakes and everybody else to quit the killing!
Hamas, for God sakes quit shelling Israeli. The rockets you are using are not particularly accurate or effective and the rockets and troops of the Israelis are very accurate and deadly. So far about 848 Palestinians have died and three Israelis have been killed. It makes no sense to keep up the shelling when it comes back to bite you that badly. 
Quit the killing! 
All in the name of God!

And it goes on in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Ukraine, the planes shot out of the sky! Hundreds and thousands of lives lost amid the clamor; much of it at the hands of religious zealots. Stop killing the  children of God of all ages.
Knock it off.

I’ll tell you who is saying that. Not me! God speaks much more persuasively than I can. In all three Abrahamic religions God says; “Thou shalt not kill” and yet we wage war, they wage war, terror strikes in unexpected places and at unexpected times.

This is not pleasing to God.

In Judaism, God has given us the Law through which we might learn “Obedience”. So, for God’s sake “Obey”! 

In Christianity, God has given us Jesus through whom we might learn to “Love one another”. For God’s sake “Love one another”!

To Muslims, God has given us the Koran, in which we meet “Allah, the All Merciful”. For God’s sake, be “Merciful”.

As it turns out, our timidity as “mainstream Christians” has allowed the extremists within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, to rise to the forefront and pursue their bellicose and bloodthirsty ends all in the Name of God.
This is not pleasing to God, no not at all.
Quit the killing!

There are nobler ends to pursue. Perhaps we can work to end poverty. The Books of Moses, the Bible and the Koran tell us to do so.

Perhaps we can reach out to the marginalized and the outcast. Certainly we know Jesus was clear on that one. Just this week we celebrate 40 years since the ordination of the Philadelphia Eleven; the first ordinations of women in the Episcopal Church. The presence of women in the ordained ministry of the church has enriched the church. They also  prove that women can play to as much a mixed set of reviews as men. But it is the faith and the courage of women and men in this world that enriches all of life.

It is your courage and your faith that matters as we move throught this dangerous period of our history. It will take great courage and generous helpings of faith to stand up against the rantings and ravings of those at the extremes who do not embrace Obedience, Love or Mercy to Yahweh, Jesus, or Allah.

You and I know all too well the devious nature of human nature. After all we know that Jacob deceived his father to steal his birthright from his brother. So too we know that what goes around, comes around. Thus in today’s first lesson we find Laban deceiving Jacob on his wedding night by pulling a switch of brides. What a surprise that must have been bright and early the next morning. All in all Jacob paid for the love by Rachael by serving Laban 14 years at hard labor. She must have been very beautiful. 

This devious human nature is at the heart of human conflict. Thus there is more war, yet another impeachment and so on and so on. So many lives lost, so many dollars and materiel wasted, all because we cannot manage the conflict among us.

One hundred years ago, we built the Cape Cod Canal. Before that, we built the Panama Canal, through a series of devious human actions. We built the railroads…more devious human activity. In fact human history is the chronicle of a devious human nature and bloody conflict.

It is onto the stage of human history that Jesus comes, at the heart of the conflict, both in time and geography. He put himself into the hands of the Temple authorities and the Roman Empire. There’s nothing obedient, loving or merciful about that crowd.

But Jesus changed history and introduced a new world order. He insisted that the way through history was by the breaking of bread and the drinking of wine. “Do this in remembrance of me”. That word “remembrance” in Greek is “anamnesis”. It means remember in the the sense of invoke into the present my very being and life. This we do in remembrance of him. The only way through history is to bring Jesus into the present.

We remember his love, his forgiveness, his reconciling power. We still find ourselves in the midst of our dangerous and tiresome history. But the church has also brought us great peacemakers like Martin Luther King and Desmond Tutu. 

The church has also inspired some of the most amazing creativity; her literature, music, art, and architecture, have all enriched our lives. 

Jesus gave us a reason to live. For not only are we to find a way to create, we also are here to save ourselves and others from the dangers of violent conflict. 

We are here to sanctify our lives and the lives of others by sharing our gifts and imparting God’s high and holy wisdom to this world.

This is none other than the Triune Power of God. God has entrusted this Triune Power to us. We must therefore speak in the unmistakable terms of our Lord and Savior.

Quit the killing! Knock it off! God is not pleased!

In today’s Gospel were told that at the end of the age a net will be thrown into the sea and all fish of every kind will be drawn ashore. The good will be gathered into baskets and the bad will be thrown away.

The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. Yes, it is a tiny, tiny thing but once grown to full blossom, it becomes an enormous tree. This is how God wants us to grow.

The kingdom of heaven is like a woman who took a measure of yeast and mixed it with flour and water. I have done this particular parable with every youth group in all churches I’ve served. I only wish I had more time to do it here. Make bread by hand. Notice how a little yeast bring flour to life and it rises, and when punched down rises yet again. Notice how it changes the whole lump and brings it to life. This is how God’s word is to grow in your life. It is to change you utterly and completely and grow within you. 

Notice that the kingdom of heaven is like the pearl of great price. It is worth more than anything else you may think you own. By the way. You don’t “own” a thing in life. You are a steward of the things you may have for a few years. But you don’t “own” anything. But whatever it is you think you have, once you discover the Kingdom of Heaven; once you know about the love of God and his power over Sin and Death; everything else in life pales by comparison. Sell it all and take hold of that which is of true and everlasting value.

The Scribes know what is of true value and what is not both in the new and that which is old and ancient of days. There is where we will find and cleave unto the Kingdom of God.

Finally there is this; of all the things that Paul says, perhaps the most stirring is that statement that really sums it up. For whatever I face in life and death there is that rock on which I have built my whole life. Keep building shipmates; for this is the very Kingdom of God.  As the blessed Apostle put it in today's Epistle; “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

There you are. That says it.
Now quit the killing! and Love one another!
Not my words! That’s what Jesus said.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Fr Paul

No comments: