October 25, 2015
This morning’s sermon: Spiritual Boldness.
Jesus’ path during his life on earth required boldness..but different from the boldness we might identify today which is often enshrouded in domination of one person or group over another….
or simply is an exercise of displaying or boosting up the ego --- the boldness Jesus displayed was a spiritual boldness, meaning it wasn’t about him, it was about the God he served, and the people he served. He boldly stood up against injustices, looked out for the most vulnerable.
He did not back down from those in powerful positions whose policies and methods of enforcement perpetuated the systems which lead to this marginalization.
But it wasn’t in order to shame those in power or who were enforcing this system, but it was so that they might recognize their own misguided steps which were leading toward any divisions, in order that they might be reconciled to those who were being oppressed, in order that there might be togetherness oneness
The message of the gospel --the good news--is not a complicated one.
It is where salvation is achieved not by separation, but by coming together, reconciliation with God, and reconciliation with one another.
But sometimes bringing people together is controversial…
sometimes it requires significant sacrifice, suffering..
And this is why it is about spiritual boldness…
you go about this mission of bringing folks together, tearing down dividing walls, righting wrongs,
it might get you in trouble.
It certainly did Jesus.
Three times in the gospel of Mark, Jesus tells his disciples, what I am doing some people aren’t going to like-
“the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; 34they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again.’
Three times he tells them this.
Their responses I find quite curious
After the first
You must not do this, we won’t allow for it! Says Simon Peter.
After his second prediction
Disciples argue about who will be the greatest!
after his third prediction
two disciples make a special request..
pulling Jesus aside so the others don’t hear them…
sorry to hear you’re going to go through that stuff...man, sounds rough.
But you said you’re going to be raised from the dead..and be in glory right.
We’ve been good to you right?
“Will you do for us whatever we ask of you?”
What do you think about us...sitting at your right hand and your left hand--you know the good seats--VIP--in your glory?
If I was Jesus, I would have been pretty agitated…
have you been listening to anything I’ve been saying? you knuckle heads.
Can you drink the cup I am to drink?
Can you be baptized the way I will be baptized?
Will you take the path I am to take?
The path I will take requires courage...and boldness, says Jesus.
It’s not puffing ourselves up, but humbling ourselves before God and serving serving serving..
this is spiritual boldness.
As people on the way of Jesus, our mission and purpose is really no different from his.
We are to be about reconciliation…
tearing down dividing walls, and bringing people together.
The situations we face may be different in our day from the ones Jesus faced, but there is certainly a lot of hate, division and oppression---
wherever we turn there is work to be done.
As we have done the past few weeks we are looking at figures in our society who making significant marks.
This Sunday we look at someone from a little closer to home, who has worked to overcome divisions and oppression that is part of our not too distant Past.
A congressman, John Lewis, who represents the 5th district of our state--which is the area near the state capitol building--a majority african american district where he has served since 1987.