GEC-Sermon-2018-05-06 - Easter 6

 
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Play Video Grace Episcopal Church Sheboygan, Wisconsin The Sixth Sunday of Easter Day (Year B) Acts 10.44-48 Psalm 98 1 John 5.1-6 John 15.9-17 Alleluia. Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia. How many of you have heard about the best-selling book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. This is a book recently recommended to me by a friend. Reviews have generally been very favorable, and the author, a Canadian psychologist named Jordan Peterson, both writes well and has a lot to say. The book is about what people in the world today need to know to live lives without chaos, lives that make sense. There’s some good advice in 12 Rules, advice that’s good because it recognizes that rules are necessary, that life without boundaries is both chaotic and self-defeating. But—and you knew that was coming—the problem with the advice is that it assumes a worldview informed by the same sources (Freud, Jung, Nietzsche, for example) that have driven the deconstruction of those societal rules and norms that have existed across millennia precisely to prevent chaos. And—and you knew that was coming, as well—Peterson, in quoting the Ten Commandments makes them into projections of collective human wisdom, and in quoting Jesus makes Him into a very wise human teacher. Throughout 12 Rules God is not really mentioned. Being (with a capital “B) is. Being is not defined, per se, but can be understood as a projection of collective human wisdom and longing, the construct necessary for human societies and individuals to try to make sense out of life. Let’s compare this well thought-through and useful worldly wisdom with what Scripture reveals in today’s lessons. We set the stage by praying in our collect that God will “[p]our into our hearts” that which is necessary for us to have purpose and to flourish. In praying this, we are stating that what we need is not just something that we can construct on our own. And this realization of the reality of and need for the divine is reinforced. In Acts we hear of the action of the Holy Spirit. In the psalm we praise God because God has done marvelous things. In 1 John the apostle reveals that those born of God love God, and that this love is lived in how we keep God’s commandments. Note that when we speak of commandments, we are speaking of something external (given by the One who rules), and not just a set of rules we have devised because they somehow make sense. Finally, in the gospel Jesus enjoins us to abide in Him, in His love, by keeping His commandments, including the commandment He then gives that we are to love one another as He has loved us. Hmm. How does that “make sense”? That we are to love in ways of self-giving that are sacrificial? It’s the need to “make sense” out of things that poses the rub. God’s commandments are not just societal norms ...

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