Sunday, January 29, 2006

Come, thou long expected Jesus

Hear again the good news in the words of our Lord Jesus Christ:

"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."

In the name of God, of mercy, compassion, and justice, of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

If you know the story of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”, you have heard of a kingdom called Narnia, that suffered under a false monarch and longed for its true one. Under the White Witch, it was “always winter and never Christmas”.

When the true king returned, he restored the land to life. He breathed the breath of life on the frozen, and they were miraculously warmed.

He broke the bonds of winter, and spring began.

This is how, in the land of Narnia, the arrival of the true kingdom revealed itself.

Now when Jesus began his ministry he proclaimed the good news, and he enacted it.

He arrived without trumpets or fireworks. He began with a prophetic act of liberating compassion. He freed a man with an unclean spirit. “Be silent, and come out of him.”

From the beginning, through his words and deeds, Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of heaven. He taught and acted with the authority of a prophet, like Moses. He showed, through what he said and what he did, what the kingdom of heaven is like.

As Jesus showed us, our God is a God who is with us. He brings us mercy and compassion; he is our advocate for justice and our source of freedom.

God is present in the liberating words and deeds of prophetic compassion.

By his acts, beginning with freeing the man with the unclean spirit, Jesus enacted the liberation of his people from the powers of this world. He showed that the forces that bound us, from psychological forces to the oppression of the emperor, were swept away.

And he showed us that the true kingdom, -- the only true kingdom, the reign of God, -- is of a God of mercy, compassion, and justice.

The kingdom of heaven breaks in on us like spring through winter, like day through night.

The question for each of us is:

How will you announce the arrival of the kingdom? How will you show through word and deed that the kingdom of heaven is at hand?

We begin by living it – by living in the kingdom of heaven first, giving our first allegiance, not to any principality or power of this world, but to the liberating, compassionate, merciful and just reign of God.

Now, what is required of thee, but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?


Sermon on Mark 1:21-28 for Sunday, January 29, 2006 JRL