Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pentecost 25

Today's readings were Micah 3:5-12, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12, and Matthew 23:1-12 (sermon text).

"Posers." There are three main categories, all of which the Pharisees fit into quite well: pretending to be someone or something outwardly (e.g. a nurse) while not being thus at all inwardly; trying to resurrect a good past to pose in place of one's bad present; and trying to make rosy future promises pose in place of a poor present record. The Pharisees loved adulation and being seen by others, so of course they posed, especially in the areas of praying, fasting, and giving offerings. Posing tempts us sorely as well.

Stop posing, Christ tells us. He fills the needs that posing's vacancy leaves with something better and more satisfying: pointing. By pointing, our outward selves will come to match the Truth living inside of us. Baptism is like this - since through the Sacrament we are baptized into the death of Jesus Christ, we therefore walk in newness of life. Be fixed on this truth. The same is true with the Lord's Supper - the outward marks of bread and wine embody the inner truth of forgiveness and strengthening of faith, to which we should point.

Our past is Christ, who fought and won the fight that matters. We now live by faith, Christ in us, based on His past death and resurrection. That love was, is, and will always be true. Christ's promises for our future ought to be pointed to and lived as well. Children of God will see and be like Him; our future reality will be obvious: loved by God!

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."


Anonymous said...

Wonderful post.

No posing!!! It is a useless excercise and beyond that, even harmful!

You are right to bring up the importance of baptism and holy communion. It removes us from posing. It takes the need for posing away from us in that it gives us the assurance (the pointing) of Jesus Christ Himself!

Nice job, Hannah!

Hannah said...

Thanks, Steve! The pastor is an excellent instructor as well, although I haven't taken any of his theology classes.