Sunday, November 29, 2009

What are we Waiting for?

The 4 Parts of the series:
1 Advent - The Resurrection of the Body and Redemption of Creation.
2 Advent - The Judgments – Particular & General
3 Advent - The Kingdom of Heaven & the Son of Man
4 Advent - How many Ends do you need?

Advent – The first season of the church year. The 4 Sundays preceding Christmas. (from the Latin word adventus, meaning "coming") the period of expectant waiting and preparation for the coming of the Lord.

Eschatology – Greek eschatos last, farthest + English -logy;  a : a study or science dealing with the ultimate destiny or purpose of mankind and the world.

Pagan (from Latin paganus, meaning "country dweller", "rustic")is a blanket term used to refer to various non Judeo-Christian religions, however there are various differing definitions as to what religions can actually be defined as being paganism, with no consensus as to which is correct

Parousia (παρουσία from the Greek: divine presence, derived from "para": beside, beyond, and "ousia": substance) the "appearance and subsequent presence with" (in the ancient world referring to official visits by royalty).

Bible notes
Second Coming:
 in power and great glory Lk 21:27
 to judge the quick and the dead Acts 10:42

The Bodily Resurrection:
Corruption will put on incorruption 1 Corinthians 15:53
Jesus as first fruits 1 Corinthians 15:20
eating broiled fish Luke 24:42
 the wounds after the resurrection John 20:27

New Jerusalem:
Comes down from heaven Revelation 21:2
new Heaven & new Earth Revelation 21:1

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

By the pricking of my thumb, a Sermon Series this way comes.

Yes, the rumors are true.
Advent is here and the next 4 Sundays will be devoted to preaching THE END.

Ah! But which end? Very important question!  (not just for milkmaids and artillerymen)

I will be using this space to note the non-ends, that are often confused with the parousia* the Sermons, which will be podcast , will set out the teaching of what we do believe, and more importantly, I hope, why we believe it.

Non-End #1:
2012 and planetary alignments of all types.
Yes, Jesus said: "There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,..." Lk 21:25
But he never said I won't tell you about them but I will tell my Mayan buds & they will carve it up in glyphs. Pua-leese!

But you don't have to take my word for it, ask NASA: 

Stay Tuned for more non-ends.

*parousia (παρουσία from the Greek: divine presence, derived from "para": beside, beyond, and "ousia": substance) the "appearance and subsequent presence with" (in the ancient world referring to official visits by royalty). 

Saturday, November 21, 2009

iTunes Approved - Momma would be so proud. 

Theoretically, at least, following this link will let those of you who are iPod equipped to subscribe to the Sermons.

(Not sure why you'd want to... but that's up to you)



Who is your King?

IT ONLY remains now to speak of ecclesiastical principalities, touching which all difficulties are prior to getting possession, because they are acquired either by capacity or good fortune, and they can be held without either; for they are sustained by the ordinances of religion, which are so all-powerful, and of such a character that the principalities may be held no matter how their princes behave and live. These princes alone have states and do not defend them, they have subjects and do not rule them; and the states, although unguarded, are not taken from them, and the subjects, although not ruled, do not care, and they have neither the desire nor the ability to alienate themselves. Such principalities only are secure and happy. But being upheld by powers, to which the human mind cannot reach, I shall speak no more of them, because, being exalted and maintained by God, it would be the act of a presumptuous and rash man to discuss them. The Prince Nicolo Machiavelli CHAPTER XI Concerning Ecclesiastical Principalities

When my friend Nicolo wrote the second-best book ever, most of his readers knew what it meant to have a Prince or King who ruled them.

Actually “owned them” is closer to the truth. Feudal vassalage is more akin to the practice of debt-slavery as it is still practiced today in south Asia than it is to any form of government we would recognize from civics class. In debt-slavery the debtor, and their children, work off a debt by direct service instead of by payment in money.

In the feudal system King owns the Land – all of it, and the rivers, and the sea. Everyone from the farmer to the mill owner to the Lord of the Manor holds “their” land or rights by a contract with the King. The Vassal pays rent in the form of service. Farmers pay in crops, Fishermen in a part of the catch, Lords pay Knight-Service: the obligation to raise, equip and field a set number of warriors in the cause of the King. These warriors are drawn from… you guessed it… those same farmers and fishermen.

See what I meant by “owned?’

Now would it surprise you, after our trek back to olden-times, to learn that The Feast of Christ the King goes all the way back to… 1925?

Yep. Oh the title of Jesus as King and King of Kings is biblical. But we didn’t need a Sunday dedicated to teaching the concept of Christ the King until the time came where most of us have no day to day experience of human kingship.

You owe the King because the King has given you everything you have. Your job, your house, the food on the table, and the peace you have to enjoy it. In return the King may call on you to deliver up any or all of those, even your life in his cause.

For us, we have received everything, literally everything, from our King. Light, gravity, life, and our salvation from sin and death, all these we have as the gift of Christ our King.

What do we owe in return? 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

November 15th was a tutorial for all of us in God's Math!
Every Baptism is a miracle but sometimes...

First there were 2... then there were 4!

Podcasting - sort of...

This is the link to the audio of Sunday's Sermon.

There are slicker ways of getting this to you, but we must crawl - and crawl - and crawl before we walk.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Regrettable Common Lectionary (RCL)

My faithful readers well know that my relationship to the holy men and women who edited the Sunday Eucharistic Lectionary is best described as fraught.
They have expressed the most laudable motives and goals. Things like “Presenting the great narrative sagas of the Hebrew Scriptures in sequential readings.” or “Increasing our awareness of women in salvation history.”
And then, when presented with a great narrative saga of the Hebrew Scriptures whose central character is a woman, they treat it with the same delicate finesse you’d expect of a cocker-spaniel puppy toward a newspaper.
The editors thought the story of Hannah & Samuel was important enough that they ditched the liturgical psalm in favor of The Song of Hannah, but then, they gutted the story.
The outline is like this:
Hannah is barren. She prays to God for a son and promises to give the boy to God if her prayer is heard. God grants her prayer and she names her son Samuel “Heard by God” because her prayer was heard. We are all good up to this point.
But here the editors chose to skip ahead to The Song of Hannah, which is a lovely song in praise of God - BUT this is not where the song goes in the story!
You see, there is a 7 verse gap.
What got lost in those seven verses? Everything.
The edited story goes:
Hanna Prayed – God answered – Hanna sings.
The real story goes:
Hanna Prayed – God answered – Hanna sacrifices - and after she sacrifices, - Hannah sings.
What does she sacrifice? Her son.
Having promised him to the Lord, Hannah keeps him only until he is weaned and then leaves him with Eli at Shiloh. And it is as she is walking away that she sings.
By pulling that punch, the editors are telling a fundamental lie about God. God is not a divine version of, not a delivery system for goods and services.  
God is Love, and love is all about relationship. God wants us to ask for what we want – Indeed he does! But He gives us what we need, specifically what we need to grow more and more into that perfection that is His loving will for us.
Hannah got her son, but not to keep. Yet, it is in giving him back to God that she understands true love. It is from that deep well of sacrificial love that The Song of Hanna springs.
The full text of 1 Samuel 1:1 -2:10 is set out below, and I encourage you to read it here, because you won’t hear it in Church Sunday.
Chapter 1
Samuel's Birth and Dedication
     1  There was a certain man of Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham son of Elihu son of Tohu son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2 He had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

      3 Now this man used to go up year by year from his town to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the LORD. 4 On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters; 5 but to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the LORD had closed her womb. 6 Her rival used to provoke her severely, to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb. 7 So it went on year by year; as often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. 8 Her husband Elkanah said to her, "Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?"

      9 After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose and presented herself before the LORD. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the LORD. 10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD, and wept bitterly. 11 She made this vow: "O LORD of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a nazirite until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor shall touch his head."

      12 As she continued praying before the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying silently; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard; therefore Eli thought she was drunk. 14 So Eli said to her, "How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself? Put away your wine." 15 But Hannah answered, "No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time." 17 Then Eli answered, "Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him." 18 And she said, "Let your servant find favor in your sight." Then the woman went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and her countenance was sad no longer.

      19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD; then they went back to their house at Ramah. Elkanah knew his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her. 20 In due time Hannah conceived and bore a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, "I have asked him of the LORD."

      21 The man Elkanah and all his household went up to offer to the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and to pay his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, "As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, that he may appear in the presence of the LORD, and remain there forever; I will offer him as a nazirite for all time." 23 Her husband Elkanah said to her, "Do what seems best to you, wait until you have weaned him; only--may the LORD establish his word." So the woman remained and nursed her son, until she weaned him. 24 When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine. She brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh; and the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. 26 And she said, "Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the LORD. 27 For this child I prayed; and the LORD has granted me the petition that I made to him. 28 Therefore I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he lives, he is given to the LORD."

     She left him there for the LORD.

Chapter 2
Hannah's Prayer
     1 Hannah prayed and said,
"My heart exults in the LORD;
     my strength is exalted in my God.
My mouth derides my enemies,
     because I rejoice in my victory.
2 "There is no Holy One like the LORD,
     no one besides you;
     there is no Rock like our God.
3 Talk no more so very proudly,
     let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the LORD is a God of knowledge,
     and by him actions are weighed.
4 The bows of the mighty are broken,
     but the feeble gird on strength.
5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
     but those who were hungry are fat with spoil.
The barren has borne seven,
     but she who has many children is forlorn.
6 The LORD kills and brings to life;
     he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
7 The LORD makes poor and makes rich;
     he brings low, he also exalts.
8 He raises up the poor from the dust;
     he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes
     and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD's,
     and on them he has set the world.
9 "He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
     but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;
     for not by might does one prevail.
10 The LORD! His adversaries shall be shattered;
     the Most High will thunder in heaven.
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth;
     he will give strength to his king,
     and exalt the power of his anointed."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Situation Normal All Fouled Up

Well, no pod cast this week. Sorry! The new recorder didn’t like the acoustics and the computer didn’t like the software.

More prayer needed and we will try again Sunday!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Moabitess in the Woodpile— P27B 2009

Purity and Spin in Holy Scripture.

We have an amazing capacity to render the sharpest scripture into soft pastel imagery – lest the God of Abraham frighten the children, or their parents.

Think about an extinction level event that wiped out billions. There it is! See, there is not a Sunday School in the Universal Church that does not have Noah and the Ark rendered in mural, jig-saw or set of plush animals all 2 by 2. Anteaters to Zebra - with the occasional extra-canonical unicorn added as an homage to Shel Silverstein.  

But you have never seen nor have I, any pastel bible story rendition of the origins of the Moabites.

      Gen 19:
24 Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 25 and he overthrew those cities, and all the Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But Lot's wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt…
30 Now Lot … lived in a cave with his two daughters. 31 And the firstborn said to the younger, "Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the world. 32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, so that we may preserve offspring through our father." 33 So they made their father drink wine that night; and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; he did not know when she lay down or when she rose. 34 On the next day, the firstborn said to the younger, "Look, I lay last night with my father; let us make him drink wine tonight also; then you go in and lie with him, so that we may preserve offspring through our father." 35 So they made their father drink wine that night also; and the younger rose, and lay with him; and he did not know when she lay down or when she rose. 36 Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father. 37 The firstborn bore a son, and named him Moab; he is the ancestor of the Moabites to this day. 38 The younger also bore a son and named him Ben-ammi; he is the ancestor of the Ammonites to this day.

This is a polemic, the Moabites and Ammonites are constant enemies of Israel. Not just enemies but corrupt competitors for the land and the resources. There is no current relationship that Americans could see as an analogy to the blood feud enmity that existed between these cousins.

No one would claim with pride descent from this incestuous line. No family tree in Judah would be improved by a branch of this stock. Yet today we read:
Ruth 4:13
So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When they came together, the LORD made her conceive, and she bore a son. … They named him Obed; he became the father of Jesse, the father of David.

That David.
King David.
The great-grand-mother of The King is of the most despised blood-line imaginable.
Well, you can’t pick your relatives.
Now politicians in our day have a reputation for cleaning-up their back story. But here is a story that need not have been told at all. There are no great battles or momentous events in Ruth. It is a story about simple people trying to live their broken lives faithfully in a broken world.

The message of Ruth is one of God’s central themes “I Redeem.”
The sin of Lot’s daughter and the Moabite enemy is redeemed to become the root-stock of the King.

But perhaps the more miraculous message of Ruth is the fact that it exists at all. It was never purged or suppressed or edited conveniently away. For that is God’s theme too. “All that is mine will come to me, and none of mine will I cast away”.

There is no impurity that God cannot conquer. Of Ruth came David, and of David came Christ. So when you see the “other” remember, it is of such – no matter how despised – that God brings His Kingdom.