|Lent 4, Year B||March 15, 2015||Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year B||Ephesians 2:1-10, John 3:14-21|
|Lent 3, Year B||March 8, 2015||Third Sunday in Lent, Year B 2015||Exodus 20:1-17|
|Lent 2, Year B||March 1, 2015||Second Sunday in Lent, Year B, 2015||Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16, Mark 8:31-38|
|Lent 1, Year B||February 22, 2015||Lent 1, Year B||Mark 1:9-15|
|Ash Wednesday, Year B||February 18, 2015||Ash Wednesday, Year B||Matthew 6:1-6,16-21|
|The Last Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||February 15, 2015||Last Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||2 Kings 2:1-12, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, Mark 9:2-9|
|The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, Year B||February 1, 2015||Luke 2:22-40||Luke 2:22-40|
|The Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||January 25, 2015||Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||Mark 1:14-20|
|The Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||January 18, 2015||Second Sunday after Epiphany, Year B||I Corinthians 6:12-10|
|The First Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||January 11, 2015||First Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||The Book of Common Prayer –Holy Baptism|
|Second Sunday after Christmas, Year B||January 4, 2015||Second Sunday of Christmas, Year B||Luke 2:41-52|
|Two Christmas Eve Meditations||December 24, 2014||Christmas Eve, Year B||Luke 2:1-20, John 1:1-5, 14, 16|
|Advent 3, Year B||December 14, 2014||Third Sunday of Advent, Year B||Psalm 126, I Thessalonians 5:16-24|
|Advent 2, Year B||December 7, 2014||Second Sunday of Advent, Year B||Mark 1:1-8|
|Advent 1, Year B||November 30, 2014||First Sunday in Advent, Year B||Mark 13:24-37|
Christ the King, Year A
Sermon Date:November 23, 2014
Scripture: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24, Psalm 95:1-7a, Ephesians 1:15-23, Matthew 25: 31-46
Liturgy Calendar: Christ the King, Year A
"Nativity Scene" – Wilbur H. Burnham (1943)
First of all, I’d like to thank all of you for helping with our first St Peter’s food distribution. As you know, Port Royal is in the middle of what is known as a food desert, an area in which fresh, healthy and affordable food is hard to come by, especially for those without cars.
That’s why twenty families, for a total of sixty people, came to the parish house to gather the big bright green collards, lovely orange sweet potatoes, hefty white potatoes and the rotisserie chickens that we gave out, along with the soup and Kleenex which all of you brought for this first monthly distribution.
Yes, we fed those people who were hungry, and we gave them something to eat.
And what we did, and what we will do, is more than people giving out food to hungry people.
We did this as the church, to the glory of God.
Listen to what Paul has to say to the people of God in the third chapter of Ephesians.
Paul says these words, familiar to us because we hear them at the conclusion of Morning Prayer.
“Glory to God, whose power working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.”
When we depend on God’s power, we can do things that we never imagined we could do. In today’s reading from Ephesians, Paul prays that the people who hear his words will receive from God the knowledge of “the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.”
In his commentary on Ephesians (page 60) on this verse, Andrew Lincoln points out that Paul uses several different Greek words to convey the rich context of God’s power working in us.
Δύναμις is the ability to accomplish something. Second, ένέργεια, is our inherent strength and power; third, κράτος, the power to overcome what stands in the way; and ίσχύς, the exercise of power.
All of this power put together is resurrection power! The same power that God used to raise Jesus from the dead!
God fills the church with this same power, and on Wednesday, we tapped into that power in order to feed hungry people and to give glory to God in the process.
And this resurrection power gives us hope that we really can carry out God’s work in the world. Here at St Peter’s, we are feeding people, and visiting prisoners and helping with clothing distributions because these things are God’s calling, and not just our own wishes to be do-gooders so that we can feel good about ourselves.
We are doing these things because God asks us to, and when God asks us to do something, God also gives us the power to carry out what we’ve been given to do.
We are immensely blessed and privileged to have this hope and this power—these things are our glorious inheritance as the saints of the church, because in God’s eyes we are already counted among the saints because of our obedience in carrying out God’s commandments.
Today is the day in our church year, Christ the King Sunday, when we celebrate the fact that Jesus our brother, kind and good, as the Christmas hymn goes—that this same Jesus, through the power of God, is also seated at the right hand of God in the heavenly places, and that the fullness of Jesus contains the entire universe, including the church, which is his body.
The cosmic Christ.
But here’s the most beautiful, poignant and moving thing about this cosmic Christ.
Jesus, in his fullness, is everywhere, not only at the right hand of God in the heavenly places, but within each one of us as well—not only in our God given power, but even more importantly, in our greatest weaknesses.
Jesus is already in the places we don’t want to admit we have–the hungry, thirsty, imprisoned places within ourselves that we don’t often want to acknowledge or deal with directly—and it’s when we go to these very places of need within ourselves that there we will find our Lord and Savior waiting to heal us and raise us up and turn our weaknesses into God’s power.
Jesus is the good shepherd that searches for us and seeks us out, even the least of us. Jesus is the one who rescues us from our wanderings in strange and dangerous places, Jesus is the one who feeds us with his own body and blood, Jesus is the one who protects us and gives us rest.
When we allow ourselves, especially the weakest parts of ourselves, to be filled with the fullness of our Lord and Savior, and to be fed, and healed, and comforted, and to be given the rest that is God’s peace that passes understanding, then we can actually see Jesus in those around us who are hungry and thirsty. We can see Jesus in the strangers, in those who have no clothing, in those who are sick, and in those who are in prison –and we desire, more than anything else we desire, to share our fullness with them.
The very best thing for those of us who were present for the food distribution on Wednesday was that we met Jesus over and over and over again in the people who came to collect their bags of food—we met Jesus in our hungry brothers and sisters.
And as we saw Jesus in them, so they saw Jesus in us, and now we realize that in the fullness of God, we are all one with one another, and with all of creation.
We are all part of the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Matthew’s great judgment scene that we’ve heard described today reminds us that this cosmic Christ is the one who will sit on the throne of his glory at the end of time to separate the sheep and the goats, some to inherit the kingdom, and some to go away into eternal punishment.
And we Christians, who are part of God’s fullness, can come before this throne, full of the hope of glory because Jesus dwells in us and we in him.
We have already met Jesus, our judge, in the least of these.
We have already experienced, in this lifetime, a foretaste of the immeasurable greatness of God’s power. We are already part of God’s glorious inheritance.
And because we are in the fullness of him who fills all in all, we are already experiencing a foretaste of the heavenly banquet and eternal life.
So we can truly come before God’s presence with thanksgiving during this week of Thanksgiving.
Resource: Lincoln, Andrew. Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 42, Ephesians. Thomas Nelson: Nashville, TN. 1990.