Sunday, November 18, 2007

Scripture for Christ the King Sunday

Luke 1: 68-79 and Luke 23: 33-43.

This is the last Sunday before Advent. It is also the last scripture from Luke's gospel that we will use for a while. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent, the Lectionary moves us to explore the gospel of Matthew (I'll talk more about that in next week's blog).

We've spent the last couple of weeks exploring in one form or another the tension between Expectation and Experience; between what is promised and what is. These two passages bring that tension home in a forceful manner.

The first passage is a prophetic poem spoken by John the Baptist's father Zechariah about the promise of redemption and how his son, John, would announce the coming of that redemption.

The second passage is an account of the crucifixion. It is a reminder that God, in Christ Jesus was the victim of torture and died among condemned criminals.

What does this say to us about the nature of Christ's "Kingship" and about the way in which God expresses both love and power? What does this tell us about the One who's coming we celebrate at Advent? What does it tell us about what God is like?

In what way is this story My story and Your story? Who are we in this story?

What does this story call us to do or be?

A hint about where I think this sermon is going....If you've ever read The Sunflower by Simon Wiesenthal, you might want to take a look at his narrative that began the book again.

Thanks again to everyone who writes a comment, blogs in, or sends me a private note at the link on the homepage. You keep me thinking and don't let me settle in.

See you Sunday.


1 comment:

Jeremy said...

These questions are very useful, I think, in relating the topics you discussed last week - giving a practical way we can address the dissonance between our expectations and what is promised, or as Nancy said what is and what isn't yet. Breaking this dissonance into smaller and slightly more manageable chunks, or as you said, a clearing of the space just around us and where we can lay down, begins to enable us to focus and *do something* without feeling overwhelmed. This clearing of smaller spaces adds up, as you so wonderfully pointed out.

Another benefit of this is that it can directly lead to allowing the voiceless or silenced to speak by lowering the volume just a bit. Kind of a lowering of the noise aka Switchfoot's song "Adding to the Noise:"

What's it gonna take
to slow us down
To let the silence spin us around?
What's it gonna take
to drop this town?
We've been spinning at the speed of sound.

Stepping out of those convenience stores,
what could we want but more more more?
From the third world
to the corporate core
we are the symphony of modern humanity.

If we're adding to the noise
turn off this song.
If we're adding to the noise
turn off your stereo, radio, video...

I don't know
what they're gonna think of next
genetic enginers of the most high tech.
A couple new ways
to fall in debt.
I'm a nervous wreck but I'll bet
that that T.V. set
tells us what we wanted to hear
But none of these sound bites
are coming in clear.
From the third world to the corporate ear
we are the symphony of modern humanity

(Perhaps this is also poignant in the Black Friday insanity...but that is something else, I guess)

In a far less clear manner, the social theorist Spivak talks about the issue in her article "Can the Subaltern Speak?" from the early 1990s (I think). Her conclusion is (or seems to be...) that the oppressed *might as well* not be able to speak because they cannot be *heard* due to all the noise - in a social sense of the noise. THeir message, if heard at all, is through intermediaries and is thereby heavily mediated. In subsequent interviews, she has clarified that the exact thing Steven talked about - we need to clear the space in order to allow them to be heard.

All of which leads us back to today's passage of preparing the way - both by John the Baptist and Jesus. Ah, how I love practical applications! At the end of the day, we can do something about addressing this dissonance between how things are and what we expect, those without and those with power, and between an infinite God and a finite us.

Yet another thing to be thankful for every day and always. I hope everyone's thanksgiving was wonderful!