Our God is a Consuming Fire (and that’s good) Hebrews 12:29; Malachi 3:1-4; Luke 3:1-6

A different Take on the Parable of the Minas in Luke 19:11-27

All Hail King Jesus! The King Who Was, Is & Will Be

Unexpected, Radical, Costly Love. Luke 19:1-10

Making All Things New

Ashes

I caused it all

Chameleon personality

Oozing like molten lava

Ever shifting to fit in

Be accepted.

People-pleasing, judgmentalism, critical heart

Anger, fantasy, dishonesty, lust

Narcissism

Unstable as water

Ashes

I caused it all

A spark, a flame, wind, dry tinder

Devastating inferno

Torrid heat

Gagging smoke

Asphyxiation for the lucky.

Houses, forests, vehicles, animals, people

Incinerated.

Sap boils, trees explode

Cars detonate

Panicked deer bolt

No way out.

We are trapped.

Nothing left

But ashes, smoke, stench, blackness

Smoldering embers

Of what was.

Nothing recognizable.

Cremated

Lifeless

I am ashes

My sin caused it all

Yet somehow conscious

Music in the distance

Coming closer

He walks

Light of foot

Smiling

Joyous

Dark rugged brown face

Long black hair tinged with red

Effervescent white robe

Fluttering in the cool clear breeze

Golden sash

Shepherd’s sandals

Each footstep explodes with radiant love

He walks slowly, deliberately

With each footprint

Radiant colors sweep the landscape

Flowers bloom

Grass springs tender and green

Trees appear to the sides of the new meadow.

Deer, antelope, mountain lions, marmots, moose, elk,

Fox, wolves, dogs and cats

Mountain goats

Mice and insects

Appear out of nowhere

Dance, leap, prance

Without fear

Or harm.

Raptors soar

Birds sing

Wrens, chickadees, juncos, jays, warblers, finches, cardinals, kinglets,

Bluebirds

Announce a new spring

Rivers cascade into cataracts

Plunging, laughing.

 A calm ocean laps the shore.

Whales breech

Dolphins leap.

The air

Suddenly fresh

Pure zephyr

Unsullied Chinook

Color and life everywhere

As far as the eye can see

Bursting, radiating out from him.

I am ashes

Without life

Yet watching in anticipation.

He arrives

At the ruins that are me

(or were once me)

He smiles

He smiles at me.

He smiles lovingly at me

He smiles tenderly at me.

He knows I caused it all

And yet

He smiles at me with love.

He whispers.

I am alive!

I am whole!

I am filled with joy!

I join the regenerative dance of renewed nature.

(Making All Things New,©Lawrence Russell Taylor, November 30, 2018)

A Reflection on John 18:36-37


Christ the King Sunday, November 25, 2018

Today is the last Sunday in the church calendar (which is far more important than the secular calendar in my opinion) – it is Christ the King Sunday, the final Sunday of Ordinary Time before the start of a new church year next week with the first Sunday of Advent. The church year has been around for many centuries – it goes back at least to the third century, and has always been used to tell the story of Jesus beginning with Advent, proceeding to Christmastide (12 days), followed by Epiphany, followed by a few weeks of Ordinary time before Lent, Eastertide (7 weeks) and Pentecost. The remainder of the year is Ordinary time. This year at our church, I am preaching sermons related to the Church calendar and planning book and topical studies during Ordinary time.

At any rate, Christ the King: A whole different sort of King than any the world had ever seen before or has seen since. This King, King Jesus, is nonviolent, does not resist evil, absorbs all sin into Himself, forgives His murderers while on the cross, is perfect unconditional love, never coerces, never seeks revenge, washes feet like a slave, and is filled with mercy and grace for all. 

A different kind of Kingdom, not like those that grow in the world via power, military might, intimidation, force, violence, and oppression. 

This is not a kingdom built on the idols America worships: Mars, the god of war, nationalism, violence, oppression, militarism, might and coercion; Mammon, the god of consumerism, of exploiting natural resources for monetary gain, the god of capitalism, economic, social, and environmental injustice; or Aphrodite, the goddess of pleasure, leisure and luxury at the expense of others. This Kingdom is radically different.

This Kingdom has no geographical area, no borders, no walls, no troops, no armies or navies, no guns, no manipulation or violence. It has no political parties, no parliament, no senate. 

This Kingdom is now. It is not in the bye and bye or in a distant heaven. This King is here now. Not off someplace on a throne, observing disapprovingly.

This Kingdom is made up of people of all ethnicities, backgrounds, ages, languages, cultures, nationalities, and traditions. These people all have one thing in common: They pledge allegiance to Jesus and to Jesus alone. They identify as citizens of the Kingdom of God. 

They have new identities in Christ. They are beloved of God, accepted by God, forgiven by God, welcomed and embraced by God, adored by God. In Christ, they are calm, content, wise, unafraid, and rooted in love. They are passionate about caring for creation; they are deeply concerned about loving and serving those who are broken, addicted, homeless, refugees, starving, or victims of disasters, or wars, or of racism or economic injustice. 

They are nonviolent, nonparticipatory in war, would rather be killed than kill another (after all, they know where they are going). 

They live simply so they can be lavish in giving. They live in community, sharing everything. They are generous, benevolent, openhearted, serving, and supportive.  

They are pro-life: 

  • They support adoption and programs to help the poor so that abortions are not chosen. 
  • They oppose capital punishment, militarism, war and violence. 
  • They oppose racism, xenophobia, jingoism, homophobia, sexism, and misogyny. 
  • They seek to bring to every human that which is needed to sustain life – peace, healthful food, clean water, proper sanitation, medical and dental care, affordable housing, education, opportunity, freedom, human companionship and touch. 
  • They care about the elderly, the infirmed, the addicted, the sick, and the mentally ill. 

One Kingdom: The Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God.

One King: King Jesus

Amen

Your Identity in Christ the King: John 18:36-37 & Ephesians 1:3-10

We Are All Blind, But Jesus Gives Sight to the Blind: Luke 18:31-43

Psalm 150: Thanksgiving and Praise — A Sure Foundation, Part IV

Money is Dangerous: Luke18:15-39

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