St. James' Episcopal Church
Our 158th Year
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Sermon for September 30, 2007
Sermon for September 30, 2007
St. James' Goshen, IN
I always like to preach from this Gospel story that Jesus told about a rich man clothed in purple and fine linen who feasted every day. After all I am a diocesan canon, so my cassock is purple and my surplice is fine linen. And all that stuff is in Texas; so you are spared, and so am I. Wearing a cassock under an alb and chasuble is just too much.
Well back to the story Jesus told. The rich man ignored the plight of the poor man Lazarus who suffered just out side the home of the rich man. Both men die. Lazarus who had suffered greatly in life was welcomed into heaven, but the rich man was turned away and sent to Hades to suffer in eternity. The rich man asked God to let him send a message back to earth to warn his brothers. God responded, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.”
I want to review our religious faith story.
1. Creation: God created all that is; God provided humanity everything they needed in the Garden of Eden with only one restriction - do not eat of the tree of knowledge between good and evil. Adam and Eve enjoyed the fruit of that forbidden tree. God put them out of the Garden of Eden.
2. God chose Abraham and Sarah to be the family of God in a promised land. And we go through the saga of the worlds most dysfunctional family. Lying, cheating, unfaithfulness, but God remained faithful to the family even when the family was not faithful to God. But the family of Abraham and Sarah into the third generation were the children of Israel and enslaved in Egypt.
3. Moses was selected by God to lead the enslaved Children of Israel out of Egypt into the desert where again God provided them with food, water for 40 years, just like God had provided for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. But this time instead of saying do not eat of the tree of knowledge between Good and Evil; this time God gave the Ten Commandments to clarify what is Good and what is Evil. Immediately the Children of Israel turned away from God; Moses despaired and God was angry enough to destroy the family of God. But Moses convinced God to repent and allow the Children of Israel to reenter the Promised land carrying the Ten Commandments.
4. The twelve tribes that grew from the 12 sons of Israel developed in the promised land trying to live with the ten commandments. Interpretations of the ten commandments became over 600 laws. God sent prophets to Israel to warn the people and the kings that they were not following God’s will. The prophets warned the people that if they did not return to God’s ways they would be punished. The tribes of Israel and their kings did not repent. The nations of Israel and Judah were destroyed. God relented and allowed the remnant of Judah to return to the Promised Land.
Jesus said, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead“.
Moses convinced God to repent of his anger and allow the children of Israel to live.
God sent the prophet to warn the people, but they did not listen and repent. God allowed Israel to be destroyed, but God saved a remnant to restart the family of God.
Jesus knew that even if someone was raised from the dead the people would not be convinced to live according to the Law.
God repented and Forgave the Sins of the whole world. We live in a new creation where sins are forgiven.
Thanks be to God.
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