Last Sunday Before Advent: Feast of Christ the King (Combo Post)

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Psalm(s):118, 145
Old Testament: Isaiah 19:19-25
New Testament: Romans 15:5-13
Gospel: Luke 9:11-27
Patristic Reading: Anexcerpt from a discourse on prayer by Origen

Wow! It’s been almost a year since I started this blog, and the Church once again prepares itself to contemplate the great mystery of the Incarnation, the payment of the Cross and the victory of the Empty Tomb. A victory that inaugurates the feast which we celebrate today.

The Feast of Christ the King (since renamed the Reign of Christ to remain gender neutral) is a time when the community of the faithful takes a collective breath. To recognize that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the father and that the promises of God have been realized.

More than that, this is a celebration…..a rejoicing in hope…..not of what the world was….broken, dark and sinful……..but of what the world IS a creation made new…….a world where everything is made possible.

A world where segregation, hatred, and injustice are no more. Where Jew, Gentile, women, man, slave and free live as one…….but I’ll let a better preacher than myself take the lead here…..While his message is in the context of the civil rights movement, dreams are always bigger than we can ask or imagine.

The bright day of justice will emerge, all will live in the light….. and thanks to the love of Jesus we are set free at last, if only we drop our chains! +

Morning Prayer: Tuesday in Holy Week

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Psalms: 6, 12
Old Testament: Jeremiah 15:10-21
New Testament: Philippians 3:15-21

Woe is me, my mother, that you ever bore me, a man of strife and contention to the whole land! I have not lent, nor have I borrowed, yet all of them curse me. (Jeremiah 10:15)

As I read this quote, I was immediately reminded of another infamous person who uttered the line: “I wish I’d never been born.”

In the movie It’s a Wonderful Life George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart) is pushed to the brink after a series of unfortunate events leads him to believe that he is worth more dead than alive, and that the suffering he causes in the world around him is too extensive. As such, he sincerely wishes that he had never been born and that his problems disappear.

In response, God grants his wish and George is given the chance to see what the world would be like without him. All his friends and family have become hard and embittered. The affordable housing he built in Bailey Park has been replaced with the expensive condos and dissolute living in Pottersville. The brother he saved as a child is dead…and the people whom he has helped are now lost in the streets.

I suspect Jeremiah’s despair was akin to George’s. He doesn’t understand why God is picking on him. He doesn’t understand why he must bear the brunt of Israel’s disregard and be held in such contempt. Here is a prophet who is at the end of his rope.

However–just like George–this persecuted messenger of God feels isolated because he cannot see the whole picture. He doesn’t fully understand teh importance of his words and actions in the context of God’s salvific plan.

What Jeremiah doesn’t know is that:

And I [God] will make you to this people
a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you,
but they shall not prevail over you,
for I am with you
to save you and deliver you,

says the Lord.
I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked,
and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless. (Jeremiah 15:20-21)

When God puts us in the world…or gives us a ministry…..he never fails to equip us. We may feel discouraged, persecuted and weak….but we are assured time and again that God is with us in our struggles.

As we go through this week…may we be reminded that our stumblings indeed have a direction and that our vision may not be able to see the wider view…..the view that brings us salvation, comfort and glory to God in the highest heaven. +

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