Mon, 23 November 2015
Kenny Benge preached a sermon entitled “A Heart Fixed on Hope” for The Feast of Christ the King on November 21, 2015. Jesus is the King who leads the people of God, the prophet who announces the Word of God, the priest who celebrates the mystery of God.
The Feast of Christ the King
This is what is involved in realizing and embracing the Holy Spirit-created realities of church. We take a long and loving look at what we see right before our eyes in our chosen or assigned or last-chance chance congregation. And then, persisting in what we see, internalizing ing in our prayers as church takes form in worship and baptism and eucharist, we give witness to what we gradually but very surely know the church is in the only terms in which the Holy Spirit forms it - on this earth, this ground, this local San Diego, Wichita, Chicago ground, with these local and named saints and sinners.
Who else other than a baptized Christian has such continuous access to the story that keeps us attentive to what the Holy Spirit brings into view, into awareness - church as it actually is? Not a Tirzah illusion, sion, not a "terrible as an army with banners" illusion, not the lie of a humanly managed popular provider of religious goods and services, but a congregation of embarrassingly ordinary people in and through whom God chooses to be present to the world.
This is not what the church looks like to outsiders; in fact, this is not even what it seems to be most of the time to insiders. But this is what it is. God does not work apart from sinful and flawed (forgiven, to be sure) men and women who are mostly without credentials.
Romantic, crusader, and consumer representations of the church get in the way of recognizing the church for what it actually is. If we permit - or worse, promote - dreamy or deceptive distortions of the Holy Spirit creation, we interfere with participation in the real thing. The church we want becomes the enemy of the church we have.
Eugene H. Peterson, Practice Resurrection: