1. Christ is special
2. We’re brought into that specialness
3. We’re commanded to share and cultivate it
4. It’s God acting
5. We’re called to impossible tasks
6. They are impossible but for the grace of God
7. Go forth, trusting this to be true
1. Sisters and brothers, Jesus is the Son of God and our Lord, Savior, and Friend.
2. We know him to be the Beloved of God, and it is in him we have come to love and trust God.
It is through him we have found freedom from the twin terrors of death and sin. In him we find comfort and consolation in our darkest hours, and it is he who we call upon to celebrate in times of joy. Truly we can ask him to forgive, save, and sustain us, for he has already done so for us.
3. In our worship—with the water of Baptism, the Word of God, and the Bread and Wine of Holy Communion.
Gathered together in fellowship—connected to one another deeply enough that we bear one another’s burdens—taking each other seriously enough, that we need to confess and forgive one another sometimes… familiar enough with one another that we also share our joys and give thanks to God together…
We are sent out of this building and into the whole of our lives, to bring all that we have received from Christ out into the world.
4. Yes, it is in practicing these things here that we share and cultivate the Goodness of God found in Jesus… but ultimately we can do all this only because Christ has promised to show up in these things—in community, baptism, confession, scripture, words of thanks, the holy meal, and service of others.
Yes, these are ours because they were first his.
5. And they are now ours—
They were given to us so we might be little Christs to the world—and not some hypothetical world, but the world we live in.
A world of wars declared and undeclared, to which we are called to be peacemakers.
A world of vast and varied divisions—political divisions, ethnic divisions, religious divisions, racial divisions—and we are called to be repairers of the breach.
A world of great need, sold on scarcity—and we are called into it with open hands and hearts.
I don’t think you hear what I’m saying—
In a world of ISIS, Putin, and ongoing wars in the middle east—we are to declare peace.
In a world of scorched earth Partisan Political Bomb Throwers and whole cities—dear Baltimore—and countries clenching, worried about the next eruption to quake and further rend the garment of our national life—we are to be bridge builders and listeners and lovers of enemies.
In a world that ignores the needs of the neediest, and at the same time stokes the wants, the frivolous, the wasteful—we are to model together what enough looks like, and ensure all have their daily bread.
6. Lord help us, this is impossible… yet it is what we practice in this building, it is what we receive from our Lord—it is what has been done for us already in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.
Has not, from Christ’s side an unquenchable river of life filled every emptiness we have offered him—made scarcity into plenty.
Has not all become one in Christ—have we not been clothed with him, and so there is no Jew or Gentile, Slave or Free, Male or Female—have not all divisions ceased?
Has not the mighty war machine that was the Roman Empire come crashing down, the cross of a common Galilean rending it’s gears and calling it’s people to practice war no more?
7. Christ calls us to be his hands in the world as it is—our lives as they are.
Surely he is with us in this and with us here, in this very moment.
Here as we practice in our work and in our worship, practice becoming who we are and remembering whose we are.
We are Christ’s. We are his and He is ours. He is our Lord, Savior, and Friend.