Thursday, January 27, 2011

The devil wants to crash the party - the preacher must be a bouncer

Big celebration planned for our Annual Parish Meeting this Sunday. God's really blessed the congregation, "beyond what we could ask or imagine."

Of course the evil one sneaks around, telling us "You deserved it because you are better than others" and "You earned it by hard work."

We've done some things well, it's true, and there are some very devoted, hard working people in the parish.

But as the Book of Common Prayer tells us,

Grace is God's favor toward us, unearned and
undeserved; by grace God forgives our sins, enlightens
our minds, stirs our hearts, and strengthens our wills.

This morning's lesson from Galatians 3 also proclaimed our reliance on God:

Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? Did you experience so much for nothing? -if it really was for nothing. Well then, does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us-for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree'- in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

It is the devil's work to take the focus off of Christ and put it on lesser things. It is the job of the preacher to refute the liar and glorify the the One who brings us God's favor.

I think the preacher also needs to keep the question "Why?" in the congregation's mind. Why did God favor us with particular blessings at particular times? These are often clues to God's purpose for our mission as the body of Christ on the earth.

When God's people celebrate, the preacher must watch for the devil and "show him the door."

1 comment:

The Archer of the Forest said...

Sigh...I think I need to rewrite my sermon for Sunday now.