“THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING”
THE ADVENT OF THE KING & HIS KINGDOM
Christ’s Kingdom of Grace
Adventide Midweek 3: 18 December Anno + Domini 2014
Fr Jay Watson SSP
In The Name + of The King, Christ Jesus
God is awesome, powerful, and omnipotent. God created all from nothing. [Gen 1.1 ff] God sustains the vast universes, galaxies, planet earth, and you. But that doesn’t comfort you much as you age, become daily more infirm, and see your loved ones die. A transcendent God is a truth that doesn’t wipe away the tears.
God is King, Judge, and the Fullness of everlasting life which comes for His own at the end of this time and space—at the final Advent—when the motion of events changing are taken into the Heavenly realms of unchanging eternal glory, bliss, and peaceful rest. And it won’t be a boring or dull stasis but a lively, laughing, and loving mansion-meal of Mercy! But while that does comfort you and give you hope and strength, that too is not quite now. It’s close; it’s at the door; it’s shimmering just over the horizon like a mirage about to become solid and stable…but it doesn’t take away the emptiness and fear, of children gone astray, unemployment, addictions, failed marriages, internal turmoils over things you want to control—but can’t.
You are sinners but you don’t really even understand that…because you are a sinner. You are Pharisees, I am a Pharisee; you are “old adams” (simul peccator) and so am I. Would it do any good for me to preach right now each of the 10 Commandments in specificity, look at each of you, and try to mirror your own personal breaking of said Law in thought, word, and deed—just today? Maybe. Yes. Your newly + washed creation would grasp the bloody bleeding sinful entrails gushing out of your ripped open bowels and you would sink to your knees (at least spiritually) and cry with Bartimaeus, Mary Magdalene, King David, Adam, and Paul “Lord have mercy upon me a sinner!” But your sinful nature would bristle and “humph” and clench fists in cussed rage over the “other guy”…the one you spend most of the day hating.
What are you? Why are you? Where are you? Can anyone save you from this body of decay and damnation? Transcendence in God is not enough.
Why does the sermon bore you: tonight’s and every Sunday’s? What does it take? Not me, not you, not any deed or devotion, not any self-chosen work of sanctification—good though they are, and not anything in this world will save you and give you a sense of wholeness. Advent is hard on people. Every day is hard on you. Christmas is NOT the most special time in the world for people, for you, no matter what Coca-Cola, the NFL, Hallmark, and your past memories cajole, suggest, or demand. It is a time when past remembrances of perceived ‘better-times’ dredge up the loss, the dislocation, and the passing of this present evil age.
Okay, now you sigh, “pastor is going to end with some generic Gospel of how Jesus loves me, kept all that Law for me, suffered and died on the Cross, and is not just for me but with me—Amen.” Yes. What else is there for a blood bought Saint but Blood—Blood of God?
The Church IS. You are. While you want easy, “fixed now,” joy as you perceive it, semblance of control and well-being, sense of progress, and damn it…even a small miracle now and then…what do you get—a seeming dark night of weeping and an ugly tomorrow of everything flying apart at an even faster break-neck speed. Your center cannot hold.
But His does. His center was speared through and gushed out Blood and Water. That is His Church washing over you all.
Jesus has His Kingdom of Grace in His Church and its parishes, and that my friends is all that there is and all that matters. I’m not even sorry that the only answer seems repetitive and not instantly gratifying. You suffer and you will suffer. You are daily martyred in spirit and mayhaps be martyred in body sooner than anyone imagines. The life you live while under the cross—a phrase that you think is used too often and that you’re frankly tired of hearing, is your new birthright in His Holy + adoption of you. It too IS!
Sure, too long of a homily for a Thursday night…too much explication without attending Bible verses…to much “blah blah” “about” and not enough IS, even after using the word.
Jesus loves you…and you…and…
Jesus is with you, not in spirit and feeling, but in truth and bodily Presence! You have an imminent God/Man. Jesus is holding you now in your wetness—tears morphing, changing, into your vine-like new creation’s moist life of belonging. You are grafted into His very Body in this parish, this Church of which He is Head and Heart. Jesus forgives you…now…He forgives you everything. He weeps over your gut-hurt and your loss. He groans over your loneliness and illness as much as He groaned over your sins 2,000 years ago on that hideous and beautiful tree. He loves over your hate and embraces you tight in this His family, Augsburg now with all its imperfections and warts, and Heaven soon, very soon. Now is your Advent, soon will be the always Mass.
Here, this evening, this NOW, you are safe and home in the only family that really matters…really IS…His Kingdom of Grace.
I love you.
In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost