Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sun. Sep. 12, 2010 (J. Evan Kreider)

J. Evan Kreider offered from the lectionary, a history of early Israel as Jeremiah tried to reconcile how wealthy Jews practiced religion with their lack of care for the poor. Through a time of upheaval in Judah, Jeremiah saw King Josiah fall in battle and be succeeded by less competent or fortunate offspring Jehoiachim and Jehoiachin, ending in the plunder of the temple and the reign of the exilarch. Such terrible and important national and international events were attributed to God as His acts of justice, not the political machinations of man. So upset is Jeremiah with this ‘auto-immune’ turn of history that he asks hearers to imagine God uncreating the world, in a manner just the opposite of his Genesis-creation. With this as background, Evan then turned to Psalm 14 and 53 to give voice to this kind of despair. Both psalms are very similar, though written at different times by different writers. In #14, the Psalmist bemoans individuals who “mess up” their communities, through corruption and foolishness, concluding God doesn’t see or care enough to bring them to justice. One interpretation is that with wealth comes a rejection of God’s sovereign power, and such a message as this could be aimed at us in wealthy Point Grey, which Evan notes has fewer people that attend church than elsewhere. Evan suggested every community needs its voices that consistently call out for us to do better, to protect the poor, promote justice. Our parliamentary system may serve similar ends, where ancient Judah had no such, so prophets such as Jeremiah performed this task. Thus, clearly does Jesus’ restatement of the first two commandments “Love your God ...” and “Love your neighbour...” fulfill God’s law. Like Jeremiah, the Psalmist uses strong words such as ”fools” to get our attention “eating the people like so much bread”. But in hope, just as individuals can mess up their communities, so too can just one individual be a blessing to that community, just as a single wonderful student could make one of Evan’s classes unforgettable. Thus, we each of us can make a big difference, wherever we are. [AP] Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, September 12th, 2010 using your browser's preferred media player.



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