Friday, June 27, 2014

church and empire vs vulnerability

I'm preaching/presiding at a local congregation next week and the texts are rough.  They are the Romans passage where Paul goes on and on about doing what he doesn't want to do, and not doing what he wants to.  He says that nothing good dwells within him.  Then the gospel text is from Matthew where Jesus says that no one can know (God) except through the Son, and we who are burdened should come to him, for Jesus' yoke is easy and the burden is light.


I've been struggling with finding the right connection and gospel proclamation that isn't trite from this.  But I have an idea....

Jesus yoke is not the kind of burden less freedom that sends us trolloping through fields of wildflowers.  Following Jesus, taking up his yoke, is acknowledging we have a freedom from empire in Christ, and we are called to bear the burden of joining in justice seeking, peace making, servant leadership, empire resisting discipleship.

And this is HARD.

seriously.  Have you ever decided that you want to be an ethical consumer, shopping for organic local produce, and homemade community sourced soap only to realize that your old navy sweater was made by children and women in slavery in Indonesia?  "I do not do what I want to do, and and I do what I don't want to."

Or, that time you said I'm finally fully aware of my addiction to sugar, and I'm going to stop eating it at all - right after I finish the ice cream I bought this morning...  "I do what I hate, not what I want."

and joining in the community of christ which bears the yoke of justice communally, we are recognizing that our struggles won't be gone, yet they won't be as pertinent to our desire for bringing the kingdom here and now.

and that's how I  start a sermon...

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