September 9, 2016

Jesus Christ Gives Us Spiritual Life - Proper 24

The Readings are about searching for something lost and rejoicing when it is found. The parables about lost sheep and a lost coin teach us the importance of not giving up and working hard to find the lost. In the Gospel Reading Jesus is specifically targeting the Pharisees who instead of going out to search for the lost were content, like many of us, to sit around and condemn sinners. Sinners are like the lost sheep because they have wandered away from the protection of the community to do their own thing. September 11 is a good time to honour the hundreds of policemen and firemen who chose to rush into burning buildings to find and rescue Gods precious children. By the way if you are ever driving past the Museum of the Regiments on Crowchild Trail in Calgary and notice what looks like a steel beam beside the old guns – it’s a piece of the World Trade Centre presented to Calgary firefighters who volunteered to help the day after.

1. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners

These words jumped out at me in Paul’s Letter to Timothy. Like the firefighters Jesus came into the world to seek out people who were confused and lost and bring them home and into God’s Kingdom.
  • But in our time we are trying to be non-judgemental and positive – so I am trying to re-package this as “Jesus gives us spiritual life”.
  • I am in grief over Synod decision on same-sex marriage and the use of a C of E Statement of Faith that deconstructs Christianity to “Jesus who lives in our hearts”. (period)
  • Problem may be confusion over what modern people mean by “spiritual life” – emotional life, feeling good?
  • Theological liberals do not really believe in sin separating us from God, our need for salvation by Jesus or the supernatural world of the Bible – Satan, demons and healing miracles
  • These words gave me comfort in knowing God will not give up on us in this dark time
 2. Spiritual life is our relationship with God in Jesus Christ
English Church has it backward – Christians live spiritually in Jesus.
  • We have a personal spirit that connects our soul to God
  • Our spirit is how we understand, worship God
  • Link to the spiritual dimension, conscience and intuition
  • Holy Spirit lives in our spirit – if we invite, prepare
  • Soul is the meeting place between our body and spirit – intellect, emotions, will, self, personality
  • Soul decides between physical desires of our body and spiritual desires of our spirit – spiritual battle
  • Spiritual life grows as Holy Spirit is allowed (by our mind and will) to direct first our personal spirit, then our soul and body
3. Jesus Christ gives us spiritual life
Our lives are a struggle for control between what our body wants – our physical needs and wants – and what our spirit wants (holy relationship with God). Readings remind us that Jesus was like a shepherd who left the comfort of the flock to go out and bring the lost one home. His sacrificial death on the Cross for our sins enables us to repent our rebellion, ask for forgiveness, be forgiven,  restored to right relationship and come home.
  • Rebellion breaks communion and relationship
  • Our spirit becomes polluted with sin, shrinks and may even die – loose hope of a spiritual life and eternal spiritual life
  • Jesus gives us spiritual life by rescuing us from our foolishness
Readings teach us how much God loves us
·         God does not give up on us
·         God comes down from Heaven as Jesus and Holy Spirit and seeks us out
·         September  11 firemen modeled this kind of self-sacrificial love that gave their lives meaning and purpose and joy

·         Readings call on us to not give up on other people and continue reaching out and proclaiming the Good News of God’s grace, love, forgiveness and healing

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