July 11, 2020

Regaining Our Birthright (Proper 15)

(Watch at https://youtu.be/Ww6PJwGmlkE)

Our hearts are restless. This is particularly acute in this time of pandemic, fear of death, social isolation and inactivity. Many of us are alone at home with too much time on our hands – or so we think. Now that we have run out of projects and distractions it may be time to do some serious reflection on our lives. One of the first questions we could ask is “Who are we?” Many people think of themselves as a teacher, lawyer, housewife, manager, librarian etc. But that is what we do – not who we are. The readings explain how easily we lose our birthright – our identity as beloved children of God; and how Jesus as the Word and the Holy Spirit help us regain our true identity and a life of joy.


1. How did we lose our birthright?

This is the question the Disciples are asking Jesus in the Parable of the Sower. The short answer was in the story of Esau giving his birthright as the eldest son to Isaac in exchange for a bowl of bean stew. He was so hungry he did not care about his birthright. This is the basic problem of our post-Christendom time. People are so focussed on defining who they are in terms of “rights” and entitlement to special recognition by others, that they have forgotten their real identity as beloved children of God. Jesus explains how the Good News of our identity reaches out as the Word but is:

·      Stolen from our hearts by the evil One

·      Lost during persecution as we have no roots

·      Choked out by the worries and deceits of life

2. Holy Spirit restores our birthright

Our restless hearts are listening to the Holy Spirit. Paul describes this as life through the Spirit. The Romans reading follows last Sunday when we talked about the struggle between our natural instincts and desires and our intuitive or spiritual desires for control of our mind and will. When we decide to end our separation and  “come home to Jesus” He gives us the Holy Spirit who:

·      Helps us overcome unbelief

·      Guides us and convicts us of un-repented sin

·      Opens our spiritual eyes so we understand Scripture

·      Leads us through healing

·      Frees us from mental and spiritual bondages

·      Restores our birthright

3. Our birthright is to live in-Jesus

“In-Jesus” is not a mistranslation. Greek has a dative case that specifically means in the house, in the barn etc. We live physically and geographically in Jesus spiritually:

·      We have died with Him on the Cross for our sins

·      We will be raised to life with Him when we die

·      We are comforted, healed and led by His Spirit in our earthly lives

·      We have found our identity, our birthright as beloved children of God

·      Thanks be to God!

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