Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Earthly powers

I believe we Christians have a problem
This problem is not unique to us as a people of faith and nor it is at its most extreme
The problem is this we live in a society which no longer shares our beliefs
We are still blessed that they are sympathetic to are core beliefs
But we are now a people of faith in a sea of at best indifference

So the problem is this how can we preserve our faith?
How can we maintain the covenant we have made in the blood of Christ?

Jesus in Mark 14:24 refers to his crucifixion as forming a covenant with believers
In the first reading God reminds us of the covenant and of the cost of breaking it
The main part of this covenant we still share – “have no other Gods”
The Jews had assimilated foreign Gods
They has submitted to alien influence and ease
But God had maintained his covenant with them and demands reciprocation

In are second readings of Luke we hear about the cost of following Jesus.
On the face of is this passage is about physically following Jesus
But it can also be read as the cost of accepting Jesus
“No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God”
When we accept Jesus we agree to the cost in other words;
In this passage people ask to follow Jesus
And Jesus warns the of the cost
He warns the first about personal privation (no home, no rest)
He warns the Second that if he chooses to follow him he must forsake any human concern
Even the burial of his farther

And to the last man he warns:  that once he embarks on this path there is no turning back
This is the cost of following Jesus
A cost anyone who choose to follow him must pay
I think this should be taken as a warning
Often people follow Christ and talk only of the rewards
Only of the joys
But I can testify to the cost
Of the sacrifices
All I accept as my part of the covenant formed on the cross
As in Luke though Jesus I was warned and accepted.

So far so good and then the third reading
Well – cripes
Where to start?
Well first the lectionary is supposed to be Romans 13:1-10
But to me Peter 1 make similar point and better.
Peter’s words have direct implications for us today.
As I said at the start like peter we live in a society which does not share our beliefs
And in which the government which allows actions which run contrary to are beliefs
So how can we react?
Shall we shut the doors of are temple?
Shall we kneel before the might of the state?
Shall we adopt the norms of our society like those in the first reading?
Or shall we react in violent revolution?

No we must stay the course.
We must preserve the conversant with God
And we must maintain the law of the land
We are not called to take power for ourselves or to revolt against the powers that be
Indeed both Peter and Paul tell us to submit to earthly power
Peter extols the virtues of suffering for doing good
He predicts the glory of the martyrs whose power came not at the sword but on the cross.
As odd as some of you may find these teachings they do give us a model of living in this world
It accept that powerful people may not always be good or believers
It accept man’s law shapes the world we live in and that we may not like it
But people will not hear good news from a violent man
A man with blood on his hands cannot proclaim love
No Peter and Paul call us to show the ways though our silent suffering
Buy living as Christ wants us we will show the follow of the foolish man
By living by Gods laws first and man’s second the follies of these as well

So whilst we must accept we live in a world of laws we do not like
The oath to altering this is not violence or revolution
But silent resolve, good deeds and following Gods laws above all
Whatever the cost may be

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