July 25, 2015

Those Who Believes In Me Will Live Even Though They Die (Celebration of Life)

This is the Good News of Christianity. We all wonder what happens when someone dies. We all fear our own death. We also all hear a lot of platitudes about people being in Heaven who may or may not have been serious believers. The most common lie in our time is that good old uncle George is in heaven in spite of never having shown evidence of belief – but because they were a “good person”. The sad truth is that George is probably just dead. He had probably not developed a spiritual life, not asked for and received forgiveness for his sins, had no relationship with Jesus and his sin polluted soul and spirit could not survive in the presence of a holy God. The Readings (John 11 an 14) help us understand why we are celebrating the Earthly and continuing spiritual joy of our beloved Sister in Christ – who was also a very good person, but who had developed a strong spiritual life that could survive in the presence of a holy God.

1. We are not just physical beings – we have a soul and a spirit
In order to understand the joy of our spiritual life we need to understand how things work in the spiritual dimension described in the Bible. God, for example, is omnipresent – can be present everywhere, including in Jesus and including in us.

July 17, 2015

We Are To Be Temples Of The Holy Spirit (Eph. 3.22) for Proper 16

This is what all Christians are supposed to be. We are to be people in such a right-relationship with God that God the Holy Spirit can live in us. The Readings explain what this is in terms of the relationship between a shepherd and sheep. In modern times this is the relationship between each of us and Jesus. If this is a good and holy relationship based on faith and love, the Holy Spirit will come and live inside each of us to guide us, strengthen us and heal us as we go through life in this dangerous time and place.

1. Jesus is our righteousness (Jer. 23.6)
Names in the Bible are very important. They tell us what a person is expected to be. They are a one word personal mission statement. The expected Messiah - Jesus, is to be called “The Lord our righteousness”. It is important to note that we do not have “righteousness” or a right relationship on our own. Jesus is our righteousness. It is only when we are connected to Him that we are spiritually covered by the righteousness of Jesus.
  • The Greek in the Bible really means “in Him”.  
  • God by his love and grace accepts our Faith and trust in Jesus sacrificial death for us as equal to us dying for our own sins.
  • We repent and die emotionally to our sins in our weekly Confession.
  • This is why the Priest can give us absolution.  
  • God accepts this repentance in Faith and forgives us through the shed blood of Jesus.
  • We are spiritually covered by our faith in the righteousness of Jesus
  • Those who are not living “in Him” through their Faith in Jesus,  Baptism and Christian lifestyle are not covered by the righteousness of Jesus. They are alone and vulnerable to all the temptations, deceptions and spiritual attacks of the Evil One. We can see what this looks like on the front page of any newspaper. It is not very happy.

2. Jesus is our teacher