In this passage about judgment Matthew emphasizes first and foremost that God’s gift of salvation is available to all. He also nudges us to remember that we should live lives worthy of our calling and of the gospel. Claiming to be a Christian isn’t going to be enough when it’s time for judgment if we’ve acted in ways that are antithetical to whatever is true, honorable, and just.
The sermon for Sunday, October 4, was written by the Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, Bishop of Olympia, read by the vicar from the below manuscript. The texts for the day were for Proper 22.
Jesus doesn’t need the last word, doesn’t need to be right. God’s love for humanity poured out in Jesus’ life and death, makes Jesus higher than the emperor. His amazing humility is how he is raised to have the name above all names. Jesus’ humility conquers death itself, opening to all of creation the newness of life. This Paul tells us today is the life we are called to live, a life worthy of the gospel he says elsewhere in the letter.
God gives everyone from God’s generosity. Salvation doesn’t come because we’ve worked harder and longer because we’ve earned it. Salvation — the full restoration of life and health — comes because of God’s goodness and Jesus’ self-sacrifice. The disciples were looking for a military leader, someone to overthrow Rome. They were looking for the master’s tools to dismantle the master’s house. God’s reign, manifest in Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension, doesn’t do that.
Then God the king doesn’t offer a repayment plan or reduce the five billion dollar debt to something more manageable. It’s all forgiven, lock, stock, and barrel, all gone.
In marking those out of bounds things — like personal, interpersonal, specific racism as well as systemic racism — the Church cares enough about the cruelness that is abandoning ourselves to sin and the compassionate reprimand calling us back from its path…Life in community is messy. It’s particularly messy when we’ve vowed in our baptisms to live a certain standard and proclaim Jesus’ truths. This passage from Matthew gives us opportunity to heed the call of repentance and intend to lead a new life following God’s commandments.
The Rev. Joseph Peters-Mathews is the vicar of St. Hilda St. Patrick. The sermon for Sunday, August 30th, was preached extemporaneously . The gospel text was Matthew 16.21-28.
Jesus the resurrected Christ has
command over death. In Marcos’ baptism — as we’ll be reminded shortly in our prayers — he was joined to that resurrection. Marcos has died, but death has been defeated. He has gone on ahead with Jesus to that place Jesus prepared for him and for us. In Jesus’ Father’s house are many dwelling places. Many mansion is how the King James version puts it. And we’re here tonight, praying for Marcos as he moves closer to God.
Look around. From gathering to pray for the dead even if on Zoom to planned pizza parties and ice cream socials, the church stands. We’ll never find a savior at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue. We don’t need to, either.
If we’re like the people in the boat, struggling to have faith, Jesus reaches out a hand to save us. If we’re like this woman: wrong and not supposed to do something but desperate for help Jesus reaches out a hand to save us. There is nothing we can do to make God love us more or less.