February 14, 2020

Reconciliation Is The Way To Spiritual Life (Epiphany 6a)

The three readings remind us that God has called us into a covenant relationship of love and obedience. This requires us to make a serious choice between life and prosperity and death and destruction. There is nothing in the middle. You cannot be a sort-of Christian in the middle and expect to share in the joy of a rich eternal spiritual life in Jesus Christ. The readings explain why this is so.

1. Moses reminds the Hebrews they must choose.

They have had forty years of wandering around in the desert and are about to enter the Promised Land. The delay was because they rebelled against God and Moses when some of the spies spread lies about their promised land.  They refused to trust God, go in and fight for it. Now that generation has died as God said and the remnant is about to cross the Jordan. Moses reminds them:
·     They have a stark choice between life and prosperity and death and destruction
·     If they keep their part of the Covenant – to love God and their neighbour they will have long life land, children and prosperity
·     If they do not they will have death and destruction
·     This is what happened in the Thousand years before Jesus

2. Paul warns the Corinthians they are not keeping the Law – the Ten Commandments

The leadership and people in the Church are guilty of jealousy and quarrelling. Jealousy is covetousness (Rule #10) and quarrelling is murder of the heart (Rule # 6). The consequence is they have sinned, broken the Law, separated themselves from God and the Holy Spirit cannot live in them:
·     Holy Spirit can not live on a garbage dump
·     Corinthians need to be reconciled to God
·     Like us they need to seek forgiveness
·     Un-forgiveness pollutes our spirit so Holy Spirit can not live in us and guide us in our spiritual life
·     Holy Spirit convicts us of our hidden sins so we can be reconciled and grow in our spiritual life.
·     Holy Spirit gives us spiritual gifts – love, joy, peace
·     Holy Spirit heals us and gives words of knowledge
·     This is the “solid food” of spiritual life Paul mentions

3. Jesus teaches us how serious the Commandments are

We easily dismiss them as irrelevant – “I haven’t murdered anyone so I must be ok with God”. Not so says Jesus:
·     Murder is not just about killing. 
·     Murder is about hate or anger in the heart
·     Anger, hate and un-forgiveness is a failure to love God and our neighbour
·     Adultery of the heart is a failure to love our partner
·     Failure to love God and our neighbour is sin and breaks the Covenant relationship  
·     Sin pollutes our spirit and separates us from God
·     Consequence is spiritual death and destruction

4. Reconciliation is the way to spiritual life

The Good News is that we have a new way to reconciliation through faith in Jesus. In baptism we promised to repent, confess our sins, ask Jesus for forgiveness and accept this forgiveness. We are encouraged to examine our lives before coming to Holy Communion services and silently pray for specific forgiveness during the General Confession. We say “things we have done” and remember our specific thing.

This is how we enter and grow in our spiritual life

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