“The kingdom of heaven has come near.”
I am afraid that the Kingdom is going to be a fatherless one.
To make a short sermon shorter, if we believe the kingdom of heaven has come near, and if we see the approaching kingdom in our Church, then we can go out and spread this "good news." I was left wondering just what is it that is approaching? Will it be new revelations from Lambeth or will it be the resolutions being proposed for the Ubuntu Episcopal General Convention in 2009. Are these signs of "The Kingdom?" My bet is that these are fabrications of Man, and it will be a tough sell for the rest of Rock Hill.
An ominous vision of the Kingdom is presented in the bulletin insert for today. The lead photo is a dead give away, the "irregular" "ordination" of the "Philadelphia 11." I will summarize the Rev. Christopher Webber's message which is that culture has always moved faster than the Church. He uses examples of "family planning," "birth control," and "women's ordination" to show that as far as Episcopal bishops, Anglican Consultative Councils (dissed because they asked TEC to withdraw from the ACC after Gene Robinson was made a bishop), and Lambeth conferences are concerned "the world had moved on without them." The bishops then realized that they were powerless in the face of cultural change and that now their role was "primarily pastoral." This is why today on Father's Day, I feel like a fatherless child. My bulletin insert has corrected my picture of my ordained shepherds. No longer can they be called "Father" for they lack the backbone and commitment required of fatherhood. The Episcopal Church is truly without a father, but at least we have a mother. Alas,this is the picture of a hierarchical Church without a hierarchy. Do we want structure, do we want a "Papa?" What happens when TEC gets it's divorce from the mythical Anglican Communion and we are left to be reared by a single mom?
Oh yes the winds of change are coming, but does the breeze feel like the Kingdom? It seems to me that people tend to convince themselves all too easily that the Spirit is leading them when in actual fact they are following the cultural winds of change or some novel politic. These people are speaking from "personal revelation," where they truly believe that God's word has been revealed to themselves alone or to members of their "interest group." Are they thinking that they must go out and proclaim a new gospel, new "good news?" When these new revelations are contrary to traditional wisdom, and objections are raised, why do these people act as though they are persecuted and those who disagree are labelled Pharisaical? Those who have received the new revelation then condemn any disputers writing,
"P.S. The Word is not in them. They never knew Him."(Lisa Fox from her blog)
Today's readings from Matthew had an option of extending the reading, if you attended our service you missed this part:
Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for labourers deserve their food. 11Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgement than for that town..
See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes
I guess this was left out because it would make the service too long, or perhaps the bit about children rising against parents and having them put to death was a bit to much for Father's Day.
Forgive me for my words Father(s), but today I feel Fatherless. Is this the way life's meant to be?