Monday, November 25, 2013

November 24 Sermon

Given at the 8 AM service...
Last week, Deacon Christopher got us thinking about California Dreamin (leaves brown, skies grey), this week I heard another song, this by Elton John from 40 years ago…
So goodbye yellow brick road
Where the dogs of society howl
You can't plant me in your penthouse
I'm going back to my plough

Back to the howling old owl in the woods
Hunting the horny back toad
Oh I've finally decided my future lies
Beyond the yellow brick road
Our lives too live beyond the yellow brick road, beyond the gold of fortune and fame.

Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz might have needed the yellow brick road to find the wizard to help her get home, but for us, this Yellow Brick Road is a lie, for it doesn’t lead us home. I think of JRR Tolkien’s poem:
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost…
Too much is said about wealth and power, all the glitter, everything new, the golden path… too little is said about love and sacrifice. What holds us back, what makes us to want to walk the yellow brick road is fear. Fear of the future. Fear of change. Fear of what might be. That power and wealth can save us. So we cling to the status quo. We cling to our needs. We cling to our lives.

And yet, Jesus promises something very different for us.

"Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

Jesus was mocked. They laughed at him. The leaders, the Romans soldiers even the crowd thought Jesus should save himself. One of the thieves crucified with him, derided him.

Should not the messiah save himself? But instead, Jesus looked with compassion upon another who received the same death penalty he had.

"Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

On this Christ the King Sunday, we remember…
  • He never rode a majestic steed, he entered on a humble colt
  • The crown he wore was made of thorns, not jewels
  • The path he followed lead to his death on a cross
  • Many deserted him and others ridiculed him and his message.
And yet, even when he knew his death was imminent. He acted with love towards another.

Our path as followers of Christ does not lead us down any yellow brick roads; instead our path follows where Jesus went, to the foot of the cross and beyond; to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

For Teilhard de Cahrdin, the Heart of Jesus was the “fire” bursting into the universe to energize it in love. The heart of Jesus was not destroyed that day, for death could not hold it, the cross couldn’t stop it.

The heart of Jesus, the heart of love lives on today to those who believe, for those who let go of the fear and embrace the Spirit of God. It reminds of the words from last night’s move, El Norte, when Enrique remembers the words of his father that his life is not what he can do with his arms, it is about his "heart and soul” and that is true for us too, where we put our faith and trust, matters.
Can we allow ourselves to enter into the heart of this wisdom and truly let go of all the falsehoods and static beliefs we have created and keep holding onto? The false salvation? Sacrifice/Fasting – to let go

Can we enter into this evolving consciousness that keeps calling us into the deeper Reality of Love? Into Prayer – to go deeper into God who transforms us.

Can we trust the promise of Jesus that when we can let go of all that binds us and that today you will be with me in paradise? For truly paradise and salvation belong to Jesus and is offered to us.

The Cross is the door way into paradise but we must awaken to a deeper consciousness – a consciousness open to “doing Christ” and nurturing the Christ within us that has been given to us in our baptism. (Annemarie Reiner)
Nan Merrill in her adaption of a Psalm says this: My spirit soared when a Voice spoke to me; “Come, come to the Heart of Love!” How long I have stood within the house of fear yearning to enter the gates of Love!

Oh let us finally decide that our future lies, beyond the yellow brick road; let us seek out the Heart of Jesus and live it out in our lives too. For then we will leave this house of fear we have built for ourselves, and we will find paradise at the gates of God’s Love. Amen.

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