30th August 2020
The Rev. Deacon Phil Loveless
St. Alban’s Episcopal Church
El Cajon, CA
In todays readings we get a look as to the nature of God. How he is true to his word. “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
“I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, God can be counted on to hear the cry of the people, in their misery. He does hear the cry of those who are oppressed and sends help. And the help he sends is often apposed by the oppressing power.
Paul in the New Testament makes it clear the purpose of the Gospel in everyday life.
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good. It is here when one acts on these instructions, as John Lewis would say we get into good trouble. The Rev. Dr. Barbara Brown Taylor reminds us that Jesus was not killed by atheism and anarchy but by law and order allied with religion, which is always a deadly mix, and to beware of those who claim to know the will of God and are prepared to use force, if necessary to make others conform.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Now that is what I would call picking up ones cross if we would live this way. Living this way will bring us all into the cross hairs of the shamers of the world. Because we rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep and stand up for those who are oppressed. And we show love to our enemies. We will feed those who society calls scum. We will hold all humans as God own.
I do believe that there are some here today that will understand these teaching and see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.
In closing I would like to quote from Micah 6:8
“What does God ask of us? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God.”