#TransformingChristianity

Grace and Peace to you

My sisters and brothers in Christ

If we raise our voices

And proclaim proudly

That they will know we are Christians

By our Love

Then how are we living that out,

When collectively people of faith stubbornly refuse

To follow Christ Our King,

By acting justly

To love mercy

And to walk humbly

With our God!

Amen

(pause)

Introduction: share with the congregation

That perhaps the flow of this sermon will perhaps be slightly different

That this week seems that the weight of caring the message

And the Good News,

Has been extremely difficult

With perhaps so much going on in our world

And even in the suffering and present stings

that relentlessly prods our brittle bodies

Even as those who are supposedly too, be people of faith

Their actions, their reasons

Leaves me frustrated

Saddened

And this is when, like many of you

Turn to the Good News,

The Good News that Christ’s mere presence confuses this world

And the intrusion of the Kingdom of God

to overcome the pandemonium of this world

Fills my spirit and perhaps yours with hope

Because the Creator God will never abandon us

And not even, crazier still,

Not even abandoning this broken, shattered world!

God’s Redeeming Power is for this world,

Even when it rebels

Revolts

Subverts

What God’s Word means for us ALL

(pause)

But it has been difficult

Because of the burden of grief that sometimes pastors and pastor types

Carry

Compounded

Day after day

Of the influence of violence that continues its battering

Polluting even those sacred relationships

(pause)

In the midst of all of this,

Advent is coming!

This deep and magnificent moments when we are gathered together

In the lull and gentleness of the falling night

Breathing in the mystery of how God can

and continues transforming this place

Through the delicate welcoming of a newborn babe.

How phenomenal that the Creator God takes something so normal

So ordinary

And holds humanity close-

Altering all of the sorrow and wanderings

(pause)

Even still, there are those who smirk,

And doubt

And Challenge us

That this miraculous birth couldn’t have happened

And continually challenge

The real and radical message of Jesus Christ,

Who calls us to be in a relationship with each other

In spite of,

Regardless of our differences

Loving our neighbor means coming out from behind the fence

The wall

The Border

And releasing the fear of experiencing the Holy Spirit vibrating so close

In other words the solution

That this world offers

Which seems to be a dominate force ruling over sacred bodies-

Of violence,

That this concept of violence is unacceptable to those who follow Christ

And those who are immersed in the Reign of God

(pause)

Jesus answered,

My kingdom is not from this world.

 If my kingdom were from this world,

 My followers would be fighting

to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.

But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

There’s nothing emulating the coming anticipated elation

There’s nothing even joyful

Or majestic,

Or regal,

Jesus seems powerless,

Overruled by the violence power in this world

Mocked by those in this kingdom of the world

 “Are you the King of the Jews?”

The world openly rejects Jesus,

And so therefore,

There are those who would take this verse

Using it an argument that we, as people of faith

Should only be concerned with saving souls

Forgetting about the physical

That the Creator God lovingly carved

And breathed in Holy Breath

Into who we are,

And that too is important

There are those who will use this verse as fodder

As an excuse that Christians are not called to be immersed

And involved

In this world

So why should we even advocate for the environment

Or how we need to essentially exist

And live, day to day

That we should not be intricately pushing for transformative change

In the lives of the least of these

Especially when we can not ignore

The weeping of our sisters and brothers right next to us,

Sitting besides us in the pew

Standing next to us in line at the grocery store

Walking right by us on the streets

In the midst of their sorrow,

Their hunger,

Their illness

Alone.

(pause)

It’s so interesting how this verse is lifted up,

How Christians, when the call for journeying with others in this life,

Which sometimes lays out before us fragmented

How they respond

“We are only here temporary,

This is not our home,

We are not of this world!”

Yet, all the while

Defiantly clinging to the temporary

Shiny,

Unfulfilling things of this world.

But Jesus and his followers are not abandoning the faithful

Nor is Jesus calling for us not to be present

Not to be that light,

That calming presence

That righteous voice reminding this world

That its clenching down upon on God’s Creation

Is fleeting,

Slippery

Yes, Jesus Christ is not of this world

But that is because Jesus REFUSES

to use the primary tool of oppression

Of Domination

Of Power

Violence!

Jesus will not resort to violence to control

Or make an example of

Or to force God’s People to kneel at His Feet!

The people kneeled at His Feet,

Because Jesus emits LOVE

And MERCY

The Reign of God does not invade this world

It comes unexpectedly

Joyously!

Radically!

The Kingdom of God comes into our midst

And TRANSFORMS this broken down world

Because only the CREATOR GOD has the POWER

The Power of LOVE, and of GRACE

Nothing that this world can make or manufacture,

Can ever replace it!

What Good News to hear in the midst of all of this-

This bleakness of today,

That the Creator does not want us to perish!

That God wishes for this world to thrive!

How radical that in those moments when we are unforgivable

God Still FORGIVES

How powerful that in these moments where we feel

As if we should give up

GOD IS HERE

The KINGDOM OF GOD IS RIGHT HERE!

God is never blind to our agony, our distress

The violence,

God surely weeps with each life unfulfilled

So God gives us GOD

Through Jesus Christ,

Radically transforming us,

Into beacons of hope

Into examples of footstep followers of Christ

Who are to go out into this world,

Not dismissing it,

But being all things new!

Thanks Be to God

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