Seeing Christ

20 November 2011
Last Sunday after Pentecost
Reign of Christ
Proper 29A (RCL)
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Psalm 100
Ephesians 1:15-23
Matthew 25:31-46

We have heard this passage from Matthew’s Gospel so often, we don’t hear it anymore. A banner for each of the congregations in our diocese hangs at the Cathedral. The banner for St. Martin’s Church has a single word on it: “inasmuch”. We all know what it means, right? What troubles me about the parable (or allegory) as Matthew presents it, is that not even the righteous recognize the Christ when they do their good deeds. When we do our good deeds with that phrase, “inasmuch” in the back of our mind, does that disqualify the deed from being done to Christ?

The passage from the letter to the Ephesians speaks of us “having the eyes of our hearts enlightened,” so that we can see a whole list of things: The hope to which we are called, the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints and the immeasurable greatness of his power. All of these things we are to recognize in the risen Christ: The author prays that God will give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation “in the recognition of him” (the translation “as you come to know him” doesn’t really work). The power that we are to see in the resurrected Christ stands in direct opposition to every “ruler and authority and power and lordship” not only in this age but the age to come. And all of these things God has put under the feet of the one who is the head of the Church, which is his body, the fullness which fills everything with everything.

Startlingly, it is the church which is the fullness that fill everything with everything. We are the power of the resurrected Christ! I suppose what we don’t see is our own power. Our power to fill the world with God’s goodness, with the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and all that other good stuff. That is why we need the eyes of our hearts enlightened: to see what we do as powerful, as even more powerful than the rulers, authorities, powers and lordships of this age and the age to come. Not a way we tend to think of what we do in Church.

That may be a bit like the talents which the master gave into the hands of his servants.

We are the 1%

13 November 2011
Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 28A (RCL)
Joshua 4:1-7
Psalm 123
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Matthew 25:14-30

Here’s something of an anonymous story. Two different people; two different parishes. The first, someone whose spouse had been ill at home, had a bedside commode to loan to some else who might need it. When the loan was over, the person wanted it back, rather than it being kept at the church for the next person who might need it, or given to charity. The second, a person who often feels like he hasn’t much to contribute, heard about a homeless vet with cancer, who wanted nothing more for his last days than a roof over his head and a television to watch. Some agency found a room, but not tv. This person heard about it, and had an extra in his kitchen with digital converter box all set to go. He gave the television, and has never asked for it back. He did ask about the veteran, and whether he died well. Two different attitudes toward life.

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