Covenants are not just contracts, exchanges of property or actions. Covenant are about binding two parties together in a way that creates a new identity. God’s covenant with us is rooted in a promise of peace, since from the very beginning humanity was created to live in covenant partnership with God.
Peace Be With You
The summary of the gospel in its fullest sense is that God has a dream for the world’s wholeness. This dream of God’s is not rooted in violence or condemnation but in forgiveness and peace.
To the extent that our lives are shaped by fear we testify that we do not understand or believe the gospel. The power of the resurrection allows us to be vulnerable, to own up to our mistakes, and to live in the midst of the brokenness of the world by witnessing to it the newness of the dream of God.
We miss the power of the Resurrection if we only think about it in terms of the immortality of the soul or life in the hereafter. For me, it is about the ability to experience the fullness of life. It is about victory, not a military victory, but a over the power over Death — Death with a capital D. It is about the light of life finally shining in the darkness...
In that sense, Resurrection is not just about dead bodies rising, but about a specific kind of power — the power of a life so determined, so tenacious, so unshakably rebellious that it rises even in the face of death. It is the beauty of knowing that life, not Death, has the last word.
Mandatum Novum: A Community of Care
“Why friends rather than servants?” You might ask.
Where there are servants there are masters. That is not the case in a community of friends. Servants can become masters, but friends cannot.
“The nations of the world strive to be lords over each other,” Jesus said. “It should not be so with you” (Matthew 20:25; Mark 10:42; Luke 22:25–26).
Fools on Parade
If we decide to follow Jesus on this Way toward Jerusalem, we might stop this spiral of violence, this “rally ‘round the family with a pocket full of shells.” We might start to hear the voice of the victims telling us what peace looks like.
It may look like foolish to some. We may find ourselves surrounded by the marginalized and outcast, the lost and the lonely, the broke and the hurting, those who at one time couldn’t vote, or attend church services, or get married—maybe even children.
And yet this foolishness, this fearless vulnerability of the Lamb marching in the Lamb’s parade, we recognize to be the wisdom and the strength of God.
The Light of God's Love
March 18, 2018 (Lent 4B)
Pastor Michael Howard
Brookside Community Church
What would happen if we let the love of God shine through us? What if we began to take the teachings of Jesus seriously and wrestled with them until we could find a way to practice them in public? Clarence Jordan’s example might inspire us to have the courage to be creative with our answers.
Perhaps we would not have things we allowed to remain in the darkness—but we would willing to tackle the harder things, things that the rest of the world has tried to hard for too long to keep in the darkness, things that we are not supposed to talk about in church, like racism, or sexism, or homophobia, or even gun violence. If we want to be born again, if we agree to be reborn by the love of God, to begin the world over again, then there is nothing that we are unable to bring into the light, nothing we are unable to wrestle with together. Only then can the light of the love of God begin to transform us. Only then can we see what that ever important verse really means that begins, “For God so loved the world…”
Only then can we begin to let that love of God shine through us and see the Kingdom of God begin to unfold.