Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tongues and Prophets and Love

This is actually a sermon with a video on the my YouTube channel.

Speak in tongues

Did you find that as edifying as I did? I am guessing not.

In the last few days, we have been listening to Paul make a point to the church in Corinth about having a community rather than an individual focus. Paul wishes the members of the church to do what is edifying and strengthening to the whole church. As much as the Corinthians and many of us want to do what is cool and will make us look good, such as speaking in tongues or having the coolest Twitter feed, what the church really needs is good prophecy. Someone who can speak truth to the church and isn't afraid of the consequences. Paul makes the point that good prophecy doesn't just instruct and build up the community, but it also reaches out to visitors, guests, those among us who are unsure of this way of life called Christianity. Episcopalians are not usually known for their good preaching or prophecy, but we can start changing that so that we are known as people who speak the truth.

Jeremiah is a good example for us in this respect. Jeremiah is so bold! Did you catch his impressive trick this morning? He tells King Zedekiah, king of Jerusalem, that his little plot to rebel against the Babylonians isn't going to work. That God will hand over Zedekiah and Jerusalem to the Babylonians, yet he then asks Zedekiah to keep him out of prison and to give him food security! And Zedekiah agrees. God was really watching out for Jeremiah.

God will watch out for us too. Even when we prophesy peace to those who want war, even when we prophesy love to those who are hurt and want retribution. We are called to love one another, but that doesn't always mean that we will be kind to one another. We are called to love another thoughtfully, using our resources to find the way we can best serve and care for the persons before us. Many times human beings fight, not because they have a real issue with someone else but because they are not being taken care of in the way that they need. Because they are not feeling loved. Many times our enemies are our enemies, not because of what they believe, but because of how they have responded to us or reacted to us. We make judgements about them before we even know why. We are called to love our enemies. Of all the people in the world that need our love the most, it is our enemies. It takes boldness to act on that love and share it. But it builds the community and it spreads the truth.

This is my prophesy: Thus says the Lord, love one another as I have loved you.