|The Epiphany||January 6, 2019||The Epiphany, Year C||Matthew 2:1-12|
|Christmas Eve, Year C||December 24, 2018||Christmas Eve, Year C||Luke 2:1-20|
|Advent 3, Year C||December 16, 2018||Third Sunday of Advent, Year C||Luke 3:7-18|
|Advent 2, Year C||December 9, 2018||Advent 2, Year C||Baruch 5:1-9, Luke 3:1-6|
|Advent 1, Year C||December 2, 2018||The First Sunday in Advent, Year C 2018||Jeremiah 33:14-16, 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13, Psalm 25:1-9, Luke 21:25-36|
|Christ the King Sunday, Year B||November 25, 2018||Christ the King, Last Pentecost||John 18:33-37, Revelation 1:4b-8|
|Pentecost 26, Year B||November 18, 2018||Proper 28, Year B||Daniel 12:1-3, Psalm 16, Hebrews 10:11-25, Mark 13: 1-8|
|Pentecost 25, Year B||November 11, 2018||Proper 27, Year B||1 Kings 17:8-16, Psalm 146, Hebrews 9:24-28, Mark 12:38-44|
|All Saints, Year B||November 4, 2018||All Saints’ Day, Year B||Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9; Psalm 24; Revelation 21:1-a; John 11:32-44|
|Pentecost 23, Year B||October 28, 2018||Proper 25, Year B||Mark 10:46-52|
|➤Pentecost 22, Holy Eucharist II, Year B||October 21, 2018||Proper 24, Year B||Psalm 91:9-16, Hebrews 5:1-10, Mark 10:35-45|
|Pentecost 21, Year B||October 14, 2018||21st Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 23, Year B||Mark 10:17-31|
|Pentecost 20, Holy Eucharist II, Year B||October 7, 2018||Proper 22, Year B||Genesis 2:18-24, Hebrews 1:1-4,2:5-12, Mark 10:2-16|
|Season of Creation 5, Year B||September 30, 2018||The Season of Creation, Week 5, Year B||Isaiah 40:21-31, Psalm 24, Revelation 21:1-7, Mark 16:1-8|
|Season of Creation 4, Year B||September 23, 2018||The Season of Creation, Week 4, Year B 2018||Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, Psalm 126, Romans 8:14-25, John 16:16-24|
Pentecost 22, Holy Eucharist II, Year B
Sermon Date:October 21, 2018
Scripture: Psalm 91:9-16, Hebrews 5:1-10, Mark 10:35-45
Liturgy Calendar: Proper 24, Year B
Today’s Psalm is so familiar that even Satan knew its words and used its promises to tempt Jesus.
Matthew reports in his gospel that when Jesus is out in the wilderness being tempted, Satan takes Jesus up to Jerusalem and sets him on a pinnacle of the temple.
Then Satan says, “If you are the Son of God, jump down, for it is written, “For he shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. They shall bear you in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”
Jesus doesn’t fall for this. As J. Clinton McCann points out in his commentary on Psalm 91, Jesus knew that to claim God’s promises for self-serving purposes would be unfaithful.
So, Jesus refuses to do something so dramatic and foolish, because Jesus did not want to put God to the test.
In fact, maybe Jesus went on to think about the rest of this psalm as the temptations continued, especially the words at the end of the psalm.
Those words of God are so passionate and heart gripping—God says that
“Because he is bound to me in love,
Therefore, I will deliver him.
I will protect him,
Because he knows my name.”
Jesus knew God by name.
Remember how Jesus taught the disciples to pray, to begin by calling God not the Almighty and Transcendent Creator God, Ruler of All Things, or the Great and mysterious I AM,
but instead, Jesus taught the disciples to call on God as Father, Abba, as a little child would petition his or her father. Abba, Daddy, Papa, Padre, the person the child knows and loves intimately and specially.
Jesus wants us to know God just that intimately, as the One who gives us life itself and provides for us;
the One who would have us rest, nestled in as a nursing child rests safe and protected in its mother’s encircling arms—the child and the parent bound together in love.
Deliverance and protection are integral parts of this close knowing and loving that takes place between those who know the other so well that the name of that person is always in their hearts and never far from their lips—the first person they would call out to in those inevitable times of trouble that we all will face.
Dying on the cross, Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Even then, quoting a psalm of desperation, Jesus calls out to the one he knows most intimately, to the one in whom he has unwavering trust—”My God, My God.”
And God hears our cries of desperation when we are suffering, or in trouble, and we call out to God, just as God heard Jesus, and suffered with him and in him during his awful death.
We know that God heard Jesus, because God raised Jesus from the dead, showing yet again God’s ultimate power over the evil and death that seem to have unlimited and unending power on this earth.
The writer of Hebrews says about Jesus that “in the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.”
The writer of Hebrews goes on to say that God brought Jesus to honor and made him the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.
Jesus is always in the process of lifting us up into himself, carrying us far beyond the power of death into the eternal and lifegiving power of God’s love.
And God is always listening out, hoping to hear our voices.
God never stops watching for our return when we’ve wandered far away.
God watches for each of us as the father in the story about the prodigal son waited day after day for the return of his youngest son and ran out to meet him when he saw him still a long way down the road.
And as the father wrapped his son in an ecstatic embrace, the first word that the son said was “Father…..” “Father, I have sinned….”
Two people bound together, the father bound eternally to his son in love, the son, bound to his father in humble gratitude.
James and John must have felt bound in love to Jesus. After all, they were two of the twelve disciples who had given up everything to follow Jesus.
And they wanted to make sure that all people for all time would recognize how close they were to him. They made the audacious request to sit on either side of him in glory.
Jesus does not scold them for their request. He realizes that as misguided as they are, that they are bound to him in love.
And so he points out to them that being bound in love is not some glitzy showy where you sit sort of thing, but it’s being in such an intimate relationship that you would willingly share the same cup with the other person, share that person’s joys, sorrows, and even more, to willingly serve that person, being with him or her in not only in joy, but in the deepest of sorrows.
That’s being bound in love. The ways we care for one another and serve one another are the things that bind us together in love, and in binding us together, bind us ever more closely to God.
Every Sunday, Jesus invites us to his table, for the intimate privilege of drinking from his cup. In this cup Jesus shares with us not only the joy of salvation, but also the woes of the world.
As we take his cup and drink in the joy of salvation, we also receive the intimate knowledge that Jesus has of the deep sorrows that threaten destruction.
So in gratitude for being bound to God in love, we find ourselves facing into the sorrows of this earth.
Having shared the cup that Jesus has offered, we find that we too have a deep and earnest desire to be the servants that God hopes for us to be in this world—servants who know God’s name, servants who will be a source of rescue, protection and deliverance for those who need God’s help the most.
God says, “Because you are bound to me in love, I will deliver you, I will protect you, because you know my Name. I will answer you, be with you in trouble, I will rescue you and bring you to honor. I will satisfy you with a long life and show you my salvation.”
When you drink from the cup today, remember.
Remember God’s name—Father, Abba, Daddy, Papa, loving parent.
And remember that because we know God’s name, we are bound to God in love, and we are bound to one another so intimately that together we make up Christ’s servant body here on earth.