Pentecost 2, Year C

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Title Sermon Date Liturgical Scripture
Pentecost 10, Year C August 18, 2019 Proper 15, Year C 2019 Luke 12:49-56
Pentecost 9, Year C August 11, 2019 9th Sunday After Pentecost, Proper 14, Year C Luke 12:35-38
Pentecost 8, Year C August 4, 2019 Pentecost 8, Proper 13, Year C Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23; Colossians 3:1-11; Luke 12:13-21
Pentecost 7, Year C July 28, 2019 Proper 12, Year C Luke 11:1-13, Psalm 138
Pentecost 6, Year C July 21, 2019 Pentecost 6, Proper 11 Genesis 18:1-10a, Colossians 1:15-28, Luke 10:38-42
Pentecost 5, Year C July 14, 2019 Fifth Sunday after Pentecost Luke 10:25-37
Pentecost 4, Year C July 7, 2019 4th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 9 Galatians 6:1-16, Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
Pentecost 3, Year C June 30, 2019 Pentecost 3, Proper 8, Year C Psalm 16, Galatians 5:1,13-25, Luke 9:15-62
Pentecost 2, Year C June 23, 2019 Pentecost 2, Proper 7, Year C Galatians 3:23-29
Trinity Sunday, Year C June 16, 2019 Trinity Sunday, Year C John 16:12-15
Pentecost, Year C June 9, 2019 The Day of Pentecost, Year C Acts 2:1-21, John 14:8-17, 25-27
Easter 7, Year C June 2, 2019 The Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year C Psalm 97, Acts 16:16-34, John 17:20-26
Easter 6, Year C May 26, 2019 Easter 6, Year C John 14:23-29
Easter 5, Year C May 19, 2019 Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C John 13:31-35
Easter 4, Year C May 12, 2019 Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year C Psalm 23; John 10:22-30

 

Pentecost 2, Year C

Sermon Date:June 23, 2019

Scripture: Galatians 3:23-29

Liturgy Calendar: Pentecost 2, Proper 7, Year C


What brings God joy? 

One answer to this question is in Paul’s letter to the Galatians, in the reading that we’ve just heard today. 

The Galatians are like us.  They wanted to bring God joy, but they were confused, just like we are. 

They wanted to bring God joy, but they weren’t sure that they were on the right track.   They were divided and confused.       

Here’s how they got confused. 

After Paul had helped them start their church and then had gone on to other places, some other missionaries had shown up and said to the Galatians,

“Wait, you people aren’t really bringing joy to God.  You need to follow certain rules and regulations—you need to be circumcised, and you need to follow specific food laws in order to bring joy to God.” 

So Paul straightens the Galatians out by reminding them about Jesus. 

Paul says that God knew that we needed to be able to SEE how to bring joy to God, and so God sent Jesus to us.

God’s great hope is that we come to know, through Jesus, that all our divisions have come to an end and that we are ONE in Christ Jesus. 

Paul says it this way. 

“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are ONE in Christ Jesus.” 

I like this idea that we are all one in Christ Jesus, because our oneness points toward the Trinitarian nature of God—one in three and three in one, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

When we are one in Christ Jesus, we are showing to the world what God is like—God, Son and Holy Spirit dwelling in eternal intimacy, One God. 

If Paul were writing a letter to us, he might write,

“There are no longer Catholics or Protestants, there are no longer the ‘frozen chosen’ or the evangelicals, there are no longer liberals or conservatives, there are no longer priests or lay people, there are no longer people defined only by their sexuality, for all of you are ONE in Christ Jesus.” 

As Richard B. Hays points out in his commentary on Galatians, NO ONE is a second class citizen in the kingdom of God.  We are all on equal footing with one another through the faithfulness of Jesus.

In many schools, both public and private schools, children are required to wear uniforms.  The uniforms unite the children because no one is set apart by his or her clothing.  And people who see the children know from their uniforms which school the children attend.

That’s why Paul says that we in the church are clothed in Christ.  Christ Jesus and his healing, freeing love—Christ Jesus is our uniform. 

The man possessed by demons in today’s gospel who ran around naked and lived in the tombs ends up clothed and in his right mind at the feet of Jesus after Jesus sends the demons out of him.  Jesus has clothed this man with healing love.

Here in the church, one of the ways we get clothed in Christ is through our baptisms. 

Since the days of the early church, people who decided to follow Jesus and to become a part of the church spent several years in preparation, and when the day of their baptisms came, they took off their old clothes, and entered the water naked.  After their baptisms, they came out of the water and were clothed in white robes.  Everyone could see that they were now clothed in Christ.  And everyone rejoiced. 

In some Eastern Orthodox churches, babies are naked when they are baptized and are then clothed, a visual reminder of the radical nature of taking off the old and putting on the new—they are putting on Christ. 

Baptisms are joyful. 

When we bless the baptismal water at a baptism, we say, “We thank you, Father, for the water of Baptism.  In it we are buried with Christ in his death.  By it we share in his resurrection.  Through it we are reborn by the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, in joyful obedience to your Son, we bring into his fellowship those who come to him in faith, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

We are celebrating because we get to witness the person being baptized getting dressed up in Christ.  The person being baptized gets to puton the uniform that we are already wearing.    

One of the reasons that the passing of the peace here is joyful is that we remember every Sunday that each person we greet has been clothed in Christ.  We are brothers and sisters in Christ.  We are ONE in Christ. 

And even better, the clothing of Christ that we wear in our oneness on this earth points toward our oneness with our brothers and sisters who have gone ahead of us through their deaths and resurrections and have already have come to their eternal homes in God’s kingdom. 

When I was in high school chorus, we sang a spiritual that went like this. 

I got a robe up in-a that kingdom,
Ain’t-a that good news!
I got a robe up in-a that kingdom,
Ain’t-a that good news!
I’m-a gonna lay down this world,
gonna shoulder up-a my cross.
Gonna take it home-a to my Jesus,
Ain’t-a that good news!

https://hymnary.org/text/i_got_a_crown_up_in_the_kingdom

Yes, good news, a cause for celebration, now and in the world to come! Our places are waiting for us, and our robes are ready. 

The Good News is news we want to share, like the man who has been freed of his demons and clothed in Jesus’ healing love, who goes and proclaims throughout the city how much Jesus has done for him. 

So remember, when we rejoice in our ONENESS, God rejoices too!

And God’s joy makes our joy complete. 

Amen. 

References: 

Hays, Richard B. “The Letter to the Galatians:  Introduction, Commentary and Reflections.” The New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol XI.  Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN.  2000.

https://hymnary.org/text/i_got_a_crown_up_in_the_kingdom