Faithlife
Faithlife

Reign of Christ

Notes & Transcripts

To you our Lord, Father Son and Holy Spirit, may the words of my mouth and the mediation of all our hearts be acceptable - Amen.

Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord.

These are the words that the Prophet Jeremiah was given from God to speak to a people that were not following God’s will and ways in the world

            A people that were following Kings that were having their ears tickled by false      prophets telling them whatever they thought the King wanted to hear

                        A people that were on the fast track to exile

                                    And a lone voice - Jeremiah - telling them what they didn’t want to                                    hear and warning them of a hard path that was ahead of them.

They didn’t listen to Jeremiah and they did get taken over by the Babylonians

            and they were in exile for a long - long time.

Does this passage of scripture - of prophecy - have any relevance to us today?

If you look to the newspapers this past week - there is a lot happening in our Anglican church.                  The Church is becoming divided into two camps

One that calls itself ‘progressive’ is pushing … and winning what they call a justice issue

            Our diocesan synod last week approve the following motion

                        Request that the Bishop to allow clergy, whose conscience permits, to                                bless duly solemnized  and registered  civil marriages between same sex                                   couples, where at least one has been baptized, and to authorize the rites for              such blessings.

The other that calls itself “conservative” has had a conference in this very city the previous two days to undergo the re-structuring of the Anglican church

            to provide what they call ‘an viable option for biblically minded Anglicans to                     remain in communion with the world-wide Anglican Church

Are either of these groups ‘the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture?

                        Which God says ‘woe to the shepherds’

Is there such a thing as one Christian church which has cornered the market on the truth and the other which is leading the sheep astray?

Martin Luther said:

‘If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not professing Christ, no matter how boldly I may be professing Christ.

                       

            A challenging statement to be faced with

If we are to take what Martin Luther says seriously - then we can not hide from the pressing issue of the day - in fact we can not hide from whatever the main pressing issue is of any day.

But what is the truth… and how are we to know it?

            What is our measuring stick for God’s truth?

                        How are we to judge truth and trust it to be the truth?

                                    Is there one truth

I suggest that we all need to prayerfully, respectfully and patiently address the matter in the fore front of the church

            Because I believe we haven’t yet

                        We have talked and acted a whole more on the ‘next steps’ and how each                          side might achieve their own vision for the church

                                    and we have talked and acted a whole lot more on the ecclesiastical                                    ramifications

                                                We have moved forward and not done the hard work of                                                      truly listening to each other to fully understand the truth                                                      that each represents

But today we celebrate an 82 year old tradition, instituted by Pope Pius the XII

            Today we celebrate Christ the King or also known as The Reign of Christ

                        And our passage today also provides God’s response to those false                                                 shepherds with a promise

                                    Jeremiah also spoke God’s words in the following statement:

5The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land… this is the name by which he will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”

The days are surely coming

            The days are surely coming

The messiah, the righteous branch of David is prophesied

            And we Christians know it to be Jesus the Christ - that fulfilled these great words             of scripture - God’s words of promise

                        No longer is Caesar … Lord … - but Jesus is Lord

                                    The Reign of Christ comes at the end of the liturgical year as a                                            message of completeness

                                                The whole year is over and we celebrate Christ’s Lordship                                                   over it all

For me, by claiming to be a Christian - I believe that I am actually claiming the reign of Christ - everyday in everything

            Our passage from Colossians says it in so many ways

                        What we discovered in our Bible study this past Friday morning was St.                             Paul restating the message in whatever way he could think of in the hope                                   that one would connect with his readers

Or thought a different way - that St. Paul was trying to cover all aspects, to express Jesus as Lord over everything

            In fact look at how many ways St. Paul expresses it

                        “Everything” in verse 12

                        “All creation” in verse 15

                        twice “all things” in verse 16

                        “things visible and invisible” also in verse 16

                        again twice “all things” verse 17

                        “in everything” verse 18

                        “all” verse 19

                        & “all things” verse 20

Today the Word of God proclaims clearly that Jesus the Christ is Lord

But it doesn’t end there, not merely are we told in many different ways that Jesus is Lord over everything in all creation - but we are promised more

            The payout if you like, is so much more then ascribing to God’s rule and authority             of everything

We are told that:

o       He has enabled us to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light

o       He has rescued us from the power of darkness

o       We are transferred in the kingdom of the beloved Son

o       We have redemption

o       The forgiveness of sins

o       Through Him God was pleased to reconcile to Himself all things… on earth or in heaven

This is truly the Gospel - this is life transforming good news

Whatever that is dark in your life = rescued

Uncertain of things = transferred in the kingdom

Feeling overwhelmed by pressures of life = redemption

Sins - big or small - long forgotten / buried or recent guilty burdens = forgiven

            Reconciled - all things on earth or in heaven

How?              -           “by making peace through the blood of His Cross”

This is what the Reign of Christ is all about - This is why we complete the year with the final Sunday in celebration with the day called ‘Christ is the King’

Today we also recognize and celebrate an important ministry of our Anglican Church

            A ministry which at its core is all about the reign of Christ  

Today we lift up to you PWRDF Sunday - Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund

You will find information in the Parish Hall after the service about PWRDF

            If you were to go to the main “PWRDF.org” website you could see

News Releases about how they/we are involved in many areas of the world; such as Asia Pacific, Emergency Response - Cyclone Sidr - Where PWRDF collaborates with other Canadian Churches to respond to affected families in Bangladesh.

Or

PWRDF’s main campaign this time of the year - titled “Take the Lead” on World AIDS Day 2007

This year's theme of leadership encourages you to "Take the Lead" in responding to key issues surrounding HIV and AIDS. Issues such as stigma and discrimination; access to medicines; and better prevention, treatment, support and care.

You can read more about:

o       African Stories

o       Asian Pacific Stories

o       Canadian Stories

o       Ecumenical Stories

o       Moral Economy Stories

o       Women Stories

o       Youth Stories

                        Just to name a few

Their Mission statement is that

PWRDF is a response by Canadian Anglicans to the gospel call to bear witness to God's healing love in a broken world. Inspired by the vision of a spirit-filled community of hope, PWRDF walks together with partners in Canada and overseas to share in the creation of a more just and peaceful world. In joy and struggle, the Primate's Fund engages in development work, responds to emergencies, works to protect refugees, and educates and advocates for change.

Their Vision Statement

Communities fully restored to right relations based on God's call for peace, justice, and the dignity of every human being.

The work of our Church in the world is only possible if we view the world everyday as ‘Christ the King’ Day

            Everyday it is possible to vision and work towards the ‘Reign of Christ’

                        And so I will close with the opening words of from our passage from                                 Colossians; which I see as a blessing:

May you be strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power

            And may you be prepared to endure everything with patience,

                        While joyfully giving thanks to the Father.     Amen - Alleluia

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