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Thy Kingdom Come

02 Jul

So before I start the sermon, I am going to ask the men in our room to raise your hand when a statement sounds like you and to keep it raised until the very end. 

  • How many have a child through biological means or adoption?
  • How many have a child who many have four legs and fur? 
    {I am a fur-parent. Pets are like kids. I get it.}
  • How many of you take nieces, nephews, other children in your life,
    jack them up on sugar, and return them to their other parents?
  • How many of you are teachers, in the medical field,
    or in some other way care for and nurture other people?

Every man in this room should have his hand up.
Happy Father’s Day to each and every one of you. 

Our scriptures this morning combine two common themes throughout scripture, which we look to scripture for the themes that thread it together.

At first glance, however, these themes seem distant and yet are more deeply intertwined than we credit it them (in my opinion).

The first theme is located in our Ezekiel and 2 Corinthians scriptures.
It is the “Grand Reversal”.

Although it may be new language for some, it is the concept heard in Mary’s Magnificat, or her song when she learns that she will mother the Christ child.

The lowly will be lifted up.
The poor will be come rich.
The oppressed with have freedom.

We LOVE that imagine, right?
It is all the injustices of our world made right.

The second theme is in our Mark scripture of the Mustard Seed as a parable for God’s kingdom. Mark’s gospel has an over-arching theme that the kingdom of God is here now (we get glimpses), it is near (we are called to live further into it), and it is not yet fulfilled. The Mustard Seed reminds us that the kingdom of God is bigger and better than we can even imagine.

What if the grand reversal is in fact the reign/kingdom of God fulfilled?What if the grand reversal is in fact the reign/kingdom of God fulfilled?
(for those in the back)

We, as Christians, mostly would raise our hands, shake our heads in agreement because we pray for the Grand Reversal to come daily… how do I know this?

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is in heaven…

Thy KINGDOM come, Thy WILL be done one earth as it is in heaven. 

The Grand Reversal is GREAT NEWS!

  • Great News, if you are the oppressed.
  • Great News, if you are the poor in mind, body, and/or spirit.
  • Great News, if you are the needy in need of food, clothing, and/or shelter.
  • Great News, if you are the victim of injustice.

However, the Grand Reversal is Not-So-Great News…

  • Not-So-Great News, if you are the powerful.
  • Not-So-Great News, if you are the one in authority.
  • Not-So-Great News, if you are the rich.
  • Not-So-Great News, if you are the oppressor.
  • Not-So-Great News, if you engage in OR benefit from those injustices.

I guess it depends… what side of the Grand Reversal are you on?

This is the challenge of Scripture, thus we must be careful about ‘how’ we use it.

  • We need to understand its scriptural and historical context.
  • We need to ‘test’ it against other scriptures/themes that thread scripture together.
  • We need to question the intention and ‘how’ it is being used.
  • We need to question  who benefits for this use.

The question, Who benefits, must be continually asked regarding EVERYTHING.

If the person or persons benefiting are those in need, those who are oppressed, and those who are victims of injustice…
then that is “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done”. 

BUT, if it does not benefit or further harms those in need, those who are oppressed, or those who are victims of injustice…
then it is NOT “Thy Kingdom come” and it is NOT “Thy Will be done”.  

 

Therefore, our themes can be pleasant and exciting OR challenging and without joy.

BUT, we have a promise from God about our scattering our (mustard) seeds of God’s kingdom which we are given in our baptismal vocations. These seeds are seeking justice, acting with compassion and mercy, and loving and serving ALL people. These seeds will grow, spout, and bring forth God’s reign and kingdom.

The greatest point in the parable of the Mustard Seed, in my opinion, is that the growth is not dependent upon the farmer and thus the actual growth of God’s kingdom is not necessarily dependent upon our effort but rather the Holy Spirit working in, through, among, and (yes even) despite ourselves.

God’s kingdom is ALIVE.
God’s kingdom is VITAL.
God’s kingdom will be bigger and better than we can even imagine and for that…

Thanks be to God. Amen.

The scriptures were Ezekiel 17:22-24; 2 Corinthians 5:6-17; and Mark 4:26-34.
Originally preached on 17 July 2018 at Trinity Lutheran (Union City, IN).

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2018 in Sermons

 

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