November 18, 2008

Looking Ahead to November 23, 2008 -- Reign of Christ Sunday

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
  • Psalm 100 (VU p.824)
  • From the Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46
The Hymns this week are:
  • 822 All People That on Earth Do Dwell
  • 713 I See a New Heaven
  • 598 When Pain of the World Surrounds Us
  • 604 In Loving Partnership We Come
The Sermon Title is How Then Shall We Live?

Early Thoughts: We have all heard sermons about how we should live. But how will we live? Are we sheep or goats? How are we to know?

In her song How Then Shall I Live Linnea Good sings:
Took a walk outside of my walking
Stepped inside another’s shoes
Walked the dusty borders between us
Paths I’d never chosen to choose.
How then shall I live?
How then shall I live?
How then shall I live, O God?
How then shall I live?

Saw the world outside of my looking
Gazed upon the eyes of its soul
Felt the hopes and fears of tomorrow
Found the pieces making a whole.
How then…
Took a step outside of my walking
Found within a beat that we share
Walked with the you the length of a lifetime
And made a life of living prayer
How then…
How then …
Matthew tells a parable about how the nations (not just individuals but whole nations) will be judged. And the criterion of note is that of how we treat the "least of these". So how shall we live? How do we know how we are doing?

It is easy to say that feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, housing the homeless, and visiting the lonely and imprisoned are good things to do. It is even easier to facilitate having someone do those things on our behalf. What is harder is to ask seriously how well it is happening. If the nations of the world were to be judged by that standard today how would we all fare?

In the end, I think we have to look beyond ourselves. I think the only way we can live up to the standard of caring for he least of these is to try and see the world from their eyes. We have to look at the bigger picture, to see the world outside of our looking, to find the alternatives to what we honestly and truly believe is the right and/or only way to do things. When we open ourselves to that we may well find a new beat, a new rhythm to live by. We look to walk and live in God's rhythm.

Oh and on that sheep/goat question? In all likelihood we are sheats (or should that be goep?). A little of both. And that is OK, we just have to be aware of when we are one or the other.

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