Epiphany Sermon Week 4 | 1.17.19

Fr. Seth accidentally deleted the audio. Here are his sermon notes instead.

CTK Sermon Epiphany Week 4, 2019

In Epiphany, As we behold Christ, we become an epiphany of God’s saving purpose to others. This is how we imagine what it means to be a church on mission

Kingdom Story: Last October, a short story was published in which the author imagines a Silicon Valley company creating an algorithm to generate software it calls “Scissor”: “Scissor is a statement, an idea or a scenario that is calibrated to tear people apart - not just by generating disagreement, but by generating total incredulity that somebody could possibly disagree with your interpretation of the controversy, followed by escalating fury and paranoia and polarization, until the debate seems like a completely existential, win-or-perish fight.”

Covington High School. Bathrooms at target, chick-fil-a, kneeling for the anthem, Supreme Court nominees, cakes for weddings, monuments for confederate soldiers

Scissors software has become embedded in our social imagination. Our options, it seems are limited: Partisan ideology or individual self-fulfillment.

We proclaim that God is healing the world’s hostility in and through Christ’s body. We are Christ’s body. We are thus freed from bondage to partisan ideologies and individual self-fulfillment, for living together as Christ’s body, receiving and extending God’s healing in/thru our body.

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul is describing how God is healing and saving the world. [Original sin] In Christ, we are restored to unity/communion with God and one another. In Christ’s body, God opens a new social reality into which we are incorporated, as a missional witness to the world

Paul is inviting this community in Corinth to re-imagine their corporate identity in Christ, envisioning a politic, but one unlike Greco-Roman politic. Paul is speaking into divisions that are nurtured by a diseased body politic, where the social system privileges certain members over others, where honor/status is determined largely by wealth and birth, and so other members are rendered less valuable than others.

By contrast, Christ’s body is a radical social organism shaped by the cross/resurrection and indiscriminate outpouring of the Spirit.

Unlike other assemblies, the church transgressed social boundaries and divisions to include all people around Christ’s Table. Based on Imago Dei

Christ’s body thus served as a challenge and hope for the existing social, economic, and political stratification that dehumanize God’s image in persons. Imagine: a wealthy male merchant taking a position of listening/learning alongside everyone else as a female slave gave the community a prophetic word

So, if we are in Christ, we are members of Christ’s body empowered by the Holy Spirit to function as members of Christ’s body. In Christ’s body…

Not uniformity, not separate-but-equal; rather difference with mutuality and inter-dependence. Not a hub-spoke – we relate to Christ through each other. Body has a nervous systemwhen one suffer, all suffer.

No member is dispensable. In fact, The weakest members (or those perceived as such) get the greatest honor, those least attractive/valuable in the world’s economy acquire the most beauty in Christ’s body. This design is how God is healing the world, through the formation of this radical, upside down community in Christ

The primary purpose is not to distinguish ourselves as the right or better group. We see/treat others outside our specific community as potential members of Christ’s body: those whom Jesus longs to draw into his body so that they can be liberated from sin.

This body metaphor of mutually dependent members deconstructs the practice of church as religious consumption: social agreement based on exchange.

Our body is not merely a collection of individuals. We become who we really are by entering the communion with God and one another

Not just ministry TO or FOR you, but ministry WITH you.

In a world torn apart by Scissors, we are not stuck between partisan ideology and self-fulfillment, we have been incorporated into a different social body, Christ’s body, by participating in Christ’s body, we receive and extend God’s healing.  

I want us to catch a vision. We come from inclusion in other social bodies (work, school, family, clubs, teams, social media – all teach us about what it means to be human and how to relate to one another) and as we commune together we learn to heal/detox from the ways those other bodies distort the image of God and hinder us from living into our true humanity in Christ. That’s what is happing here. Ex: Angela and bEfriend

Our gathered social life is meant to be a witness to the world of how God is healing the world in Christ. The shape of our very life together is a challenge to social structures that dehumanize and a witness/foretaste of God’s healing in Christ.

We carry God’s healing into our scattered places by disrupting partisan ideology and treating people as persons, (potential) members of Christ’s body.

We don’t need to seek the defense of our personal interests - and we never need to make someone lose in order to win - we never need to deny the humanity of some in order to raise the humanity of others

Invitation to respond: what do you need healing from tonight?