|Advent 1, Year B||November 30, 2014||First Sunday in Advent, Year B||Mark 13:24-37|
|Christ the King, Year A||November 23, 2014||Christ the King, Year A||Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24, Psalm 95:1-7a, Ephesians 1:15-23, Matthew 25: 31-46|
|Pentecost 23, year A||November 16, 2014||Proper 28, Year A||Matthew 25:14-20|
|Pentecost 22, year A||November 9, 2014||Proper 27, Year A||Matthew 25:1-13|
|All Saints, 2014||November 2, 2014||All Saints’ Day, Year A||Psalm 34: 1-10,22, 1 John 3:1-3, Matthew 5:1-12|
|Pentecost 20, year A||October 26, 2014||Proper 25, Year A||Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18, Psalm 1, Matthew 22:34-36|
|Pentecost 19, year A||October 19, 2014||Proper 24, Year A||Isaiah 45:1-7, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, Matthew 22:15-22|
|Pentecost 17, year A||October 5, 2014||Proper 22, Year A||Isaiah 5:1-7, Psalm 80:7-14, Philippians 3:4b-14, Matthew 21:33-46|
|Pentecost 16, year A||September 28, 2014||Proper 21, Year A||Sermon, Proper 21, Year A Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32, Psalm 25: 1-8, Philippians 2:1-13, Matthew 21:23-32|
|Pentecost 14, year A||September 14, 2014||Proper 19, Year A||Matthew 18:21-35|
|Pentecost 13, year A||September 7, 2014||Proper 18, Year A||Ezekiel 33:7-11, Romans 13:8-14, Matthew 18:15-20|
|Pentecost 11, year A||August 24, 2014||Proper 16, Year A||Matthew 16:13-20|
|Pentecost 10, year A||August 17, 2014||Proper 15, Year A||Matthew 15:10-20, 21-28|
|Pentecost 9, year A||August 10, 2014||Proper 14, Year A||Matthew 14:22-33|
|Pentecost 8, year A||August 3, 2014||Pentecost 8, year A||Matthew 14:13-21|
Pentecost 2, year A
Sermon Date:June 22, 2014
Scripture: Psalm 69:8-20, Romans 6:1b-11, Matthew 10:24-39
Liturgy Calendar: Second Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 7, Year A
As Christians, we think of ourselves as disciples of Jesus. All Christians do. And so today I want to talk about a particular aspect of the nature of discipleship.
Discipleship is not a given. Discipleship is something we have to choose each and every day of our lives.
Our lives of discipleship begin with the sacrament of baptism. Generally, in our Anglican tradition, baptism takes place when we are infants or young children, too young to remember our baptisms.
Since we are literally holding a new life in our arms we rarely focus on the part of the baptismal service that reminds us of a major part of what discipleship involves –and that is being baptized into the death of Jesus.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul says that “therefore we have been buried with Jesus by baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
When we choose to lead lives of discipleship, we are indeed choosing newness of life, but in order to reach that newness of life, we must die to those things that we put ahead of God in our lives.
As he was talking to the disciples and commissioning them to go out into the surrounding countryside spreading the good news, Jesus was clear about the necessity of making this choice to give up anything more important than God.
He used family as an example, because for the Jewish people, families were of the utmost importance, just as they are for many of us. But God has to be even more important to us than our families.
Part of choosing to be a disciple each day is to be honest with ourselves about what gives our lives meaning and what we really live for—
For some people, work is all that matters. Without work, some people would lose their direction and their lives would have no meaning at all. Some people are addicted to a daily routine. Some people are addicted to money, some people to antiques. Some people are addicted to certain ways of eating. For some people, life is meaningless without alcohol. Some people are addicted to religion, power and control. Some people put guns first in their lives. Some people are in love with violence. For some, it’s pornography. And the list goes on.
We can put anything in our lives before God, even and especially the good things, if we aren’t vigilant about consciously choosing discipleship and putting God first in our lives each and every morning when we first wake up and thank God for a new day.
Making this choice for discipleship each day is not always easy and does not always bring peace and joy into our lives at first. Sometimes this choice to be a disciple is as cutting as a sword and as devastating as war as we try to cut out of our lives the things that we put ahead of God.
This life of discipleship can be as hard as carrying a cross toward the death we have to die to the things we are addicted to in order to be brought into resurrection life.
Being a disciple sounds daunting, doesn’t it? And it is! The Christian life of discipleship is definitely the most challenging way of life we could ever choose for ourselves.
In fact, we could never live as disciples without God’s help and mercy, and God’s presence with us as the Holy Spirit, as well as the companionship and support of one another.
One of the great gifts that Jesus gave to the disciples before his death and resurrection was his last supper with them. As he approached his own cross and death, Jesus gave the disciples a source of ongoing strength that they would receive every time they sat down together and shared the bread of heaven and the cup of salvation, the very body and blood of Jesus given for them.
And Jesus also gives us the gift of receiving ongoing strength for discipleship every time we are present to God and God is present to us through the Eucharist.
Last Wednesday, a group of us went to visit Maymont, a Gilded Age mansion in Richmond, Virginia.
In this huge house full of expensive and elegant furnishings and appointments, one thing stood out for me above everything else.
The door knocker on the front door was engraved with these words.
“Faith shuts the door at night, and mercy opens it in the morning.”
This doorknocker reminds me that at the end of each day of discipleship, I can close the door at the end of the day with the faith that in spite of my shortcomings, God will forgive the ways I’ve come up short.
Tomorrow is a new day.
God’s mercy opens the door to the new day. And I get another chance to choose discipleship.
And as I begin the day, I can pray as the psalmist prays, “In your great mercy, O God, answer me with your unfailing help” as I try to put you first this day and live as your disciple, carrying your good news into the world.