Reforming/Transforming

Grace and Peace to you beloved,

St. Catherine of Siena challenges us-

“Be whom God means us to be,

And we will set the world on fire!”

We emerge from the ashes of our longing,

Our lamenting

Into the light of Proclamation

Of the power of the Creator’s Love,

And the One who shatters Doubt,

Darkness

And Death,

Because we have life everlasting,

Through Jesus Christ,

Our Savior and Lord,

Amen.

(pause)

 

The days are surely coming,

says the Lord,

when I will make a new covenant

with the house of Israel

and the house of Judah”

And even yes,

With the Lutherans

(pause)

“It will not be like the covenant

that I made with their ancestors”

Or with Luther

Or with Melachon

Or Bonhoeffer

“But this is the covenant

that I will make with all of them

says the Creator

 I will put my law within them

and I will write it on their hearts;

 and I will be their God,

 and they shall be my people.”

(pause)

This new covenant

That the Creator God promises all of us

To never leave us,

Nor forsake us

And Giving US

Eternal LIFE,

As people of faith,

We agree

That THIS covenant

Remains embedded within who we are

The Good News is echoed here,

In Jeremiah

And because of what ultimately seals this covenant

The presence of the One,

Who walks with us

We are assured

That

REGARDLESS,

Regardless,

We are forgiven,

What replaces the shame and guilt and darkness

Heaped on us

Is God’s GRACE

(pause)

And yet,

As siblings in Christ,

We stumble over how to

Live into that covenant

Because if we are truthful

We restrict the access

That God has in our lives

Because that means,

Abandoning the selfishness steeped into our spirit

Giving up of the stubbornness

Taking Jesus’s hand

As Jesus leads US

Into the PURPOSE

Into our Assignment

From God

(pause)

Luther’s call

Was to Reform the Wider Church

Our call now,

Is to Transform

This Wider Church

(pause)

That means

Not clinging to the historical,

And the abstract

From 500 years ago

But being faithful

And living out the Reformation

RIGHT NOW

(pause)

Stories,

Are sacred testimonies

Binding one another

To this faith journey

When people come through the doors

Of this Wider Church

We are shocked to hear,

How sometimes grace-less

Other faith traditions can be

How unfulfilling of an environment

They create

And so we get the pilgrims

Wandering

Searching

For a sense of peace.

(pause)

Just over the weekend I saw a sign

On a Reformed Church in Munster

“Get the Bread of Life,

Or your toast.”

(pause)

Last time I checked

That is not what the Good News

That Jesus Christ shared and proclaimed

To His Disciples,

To US

Jesus says,

“So if the makes you free,

You will be free indeed.”

(pause)

My own faith journey,

Is that I emerged from a stagnant faith tradition

Where it seemed

There was this concentration

On works righteousness

On our lives as only sinners

With no grace

With this disconnect from the world

And only uplifting,

This theology of self-preservation

For a life thereafter

(pause)

Where I felt,

I had no right to question God

Or God’s existence,

And where God

Would surely

Impact my living in horrific ways

Because,

By all accounts

I am nothing more than a Sinner

(pause)

We joke so much,

In the wider expression

Of the Lutheran Church,

About sitting in the back

But I would find myself there

I would purposely place myself there

Because for me,

I had not EARNED THE RIGHT

To sit at the front of the Church

In front of the altar of God,

And when I was in the front

In those rare times,

I was Petrified

And there have been many others,

Who I have encountered

Who feel the same way,

That none of us were worthy

Enough

To be a part of the Body of Christ!

(pause)

And yet,

That afternoon of my ordination

There was a JOY!

I wanted to lay down in front of the altar

Because Jeremiah rang in my ears

Here was this NEW COVENANT

AMPLIFED INMY LIFE

HERE is where Jesus Christ spoke to ME

HERE WAS THE TRUTH

HERE

Is where I felt I was finally REDEEMED

WORTHY

Even though,

I knew as we all do,

Every day is a day of thanksgiving

And

Forgiveness!

(pause)

Because see,

Among all others

Only Jesus Christ,

Only the Creator God

Has the RIGHT to JUDGE US

We don’t!

And we should not JUDGE OTHERS

Instead of condemning with His Word

He teaches us with a WORD

 “If you continue in my word,

you are truly my disciples;

and you will know the truth,

and the truth will make you free”

And the Good News is,

JESUS CHRIST LOVES US

FREES US

And because of this Freedom,

We are CALLED to GO OUT

And actually LIVE OUT OUR FAITH

Professing, Proclaiming,

Teaching,

Advocating

Lifting our voices,

Journeying with others,

Wherever

However

That should be.

(pause)

So many ways that WE can be a GIFT

A RESOURCE

To this Broken world.

And it will not be perfect!

We will screw up!

We will fail,

BUT

Because we have been SET FREE

We get UP

And we do it again,

REGARDLESS

Because we are BELOVED

And we are CALLED

TO SET THIS WORLD ON

TRANSFORMATIVE FIRE

Thanks Be to God.

 

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