August 07, 2006

Looking Forward to August 13 -- 10th Sunday After Pentecost

The Scripture readings this week are:
  • From the Hebrew Scriptures: 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33
  • Psalm 130 (VU p.853)
  • From the Letters of the Early Church: Ephesians 4:25-5:2
  • From the Gospel: John 6:35, 41-51

The Hymns this week are:

  • 232 Joyful, Joyful We Adore You
  • 20 On Jordan's Bank
  • 626 I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
  • 422 God Be With You Till We Meet Again

The Sermon will be based on the Ephesians reading and is titled God's Transformation -- How Can we become Imitators of God?

Early Thoughts: The first three times I read this passage I was left wondering what to do with it. Do I ignore it and preach about the upcoming meeting of General Council (which starts this Sunday)? Do I preach on one of the other passages? I simply didn't see what I could have to say about this one. But then I read it again and saw the way in.

This passage is a call to be transformed. It talks about putting away falsehood, about thieves giving up stealing, about putting away bitterness, anger, slander and malice. Then comes the real kicker. It calls us to be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love. Oh yeah, that sounds nice and easy doesn't it?

In her piece Imago Dei Jill Warner writes:

Imago Dei, Imago Dei,
Born in the Image of God are we.
Imago Dei, Imago Dei,
Called to compassion, born to be free.
How shall we live as images of God?
How best reflect the wonder of our maker?
Humbly we will walk, with mercy respond
And know the Essence of Love is always with us. Refrain

How shall we love the neighbour filled with greed?
How best respond to those consumed by hatred?
Look beyond the fear that keeps them from knowing
The Abundance of Love that's always with us. Refrain
©2004 Jill Kirsten Warner

How indeed do we live as images of God? How can we be imitators of God? By letting the Essence of Love flow into and change us. Being one of the people of God means allowing ourselves to be transformed, changed. It means remembering that we are created in God's Image and that we have a responsibility to live that out. That is what this passage is telling us.

It sounds hard doesn't it, to change our ways? But it is possible. That is the key, the important thing to remember, it IS possible. With the help of God it is possible to live as an imitator of God, to let God shine through all we are and all we do. The last verse of Imago Dei says:

Then shall we see the images of Christ.
Then shall we know that God is in our neighbour.
Humbly we will walk, with mercy respond
And know the Essence of Love is always with us. Refrain
©2004 Jill Kirsten Warner

There it is. It is possible. And when we start to live it out for ourselves we see God's imitators living around us too. And if we all start to do that, what a wonderful world that would be.

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