20 November 2022

20 November 2022

Theme: Made to reign, minding your internal affairs!

We have heard through the voice of Jeremiah that the Lord says, “I will raise a righteous branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land…”

What if, the Lord is speaking directly to you? What if you are the righteous branch that shall be raised, to reign, to deal wisely, to execute justice and righteousness here in Manningham and in this land?

In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. He will be called “The Lord is our righteousness.” What have we got to offer for the safety of our community?

We also heard Paul’s letter to Colossians praying, “may you be strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.

Paul’s talking about Jesus Christ who reigns as king; who is the image of God; in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell; and through him, God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things.

Our theme for today: “Made to reign, minding your internal affairs!”

No! we’re not talking about the nation’s border securities. We’re invited to focus on the reign of Christ and how it transforms our life and faith.

We know that the supremacy of Christ was not neither declared nor claimed by Jesus himself. He never claimed he was king or son of God or superior to others. It was all a projection of people’s interpretations based on what they saw, heard and were told.

But what does this mean for us Christians of the 21st century?

Through Jesus’ life and way of being, Jesus offers the greatest affirmation of humanity! 

Jesus’ life is a demonstration that each one is created in the image of God, and in each human being, the fullness of God is pleased to dwell; so each one is full of grace and truth, that reigns in one’s heart and life in unique ways.

Created or made to reign means we’re created to discern, to manage, to choose, to mind one’s own internal affairs – the world within that matters and impacts most on our world, our life and our relationships, outside of us.

We mind our spirituality, our faith, beliefs, decisions, choices, our thoughts – and these are reflected in our character, behaviour, habits and actions. 

From our living experience and our church life, we know that there is no powerful super smart person who descends from the heavens to tell us who’s right or reconcile our differences and tensions, not even to repair the damages that we have inflicted on one another and how we have treated our home, our planet. There’s no such thing. Because that wisdom, that energy, that influential capacity is already living as part of you, minding your internal affairs. And only you know it as your reality and your truth. The truth, your reality is the king that reigns. Some call it the spirit, others call it the living conscience and Christians often call it the God part in us.

It’s the gift we’re blessed with. It’s a given whether we want it or not. We have the ability, the capacity, the wisdom, to bring forth the best version of who we are into our everyday living. That’s our blessing.

So the invitation for us on this last Sunday of the Christian year is to embrace, to value and to appreciate yourself – for in doing so, we then offer our best into our relationships with others, whether it is within family, work place, church mission or social justice in communities.

We are loved with an unending love that finds us and awakens us each day, with wisdom that guides us to be wise; with a voice of justice that inspires us to do justice; with a voice of hope that encourages us to signs, channels and vehicles of hope.

Again, the affirmation is that we’re created in the God’s image of love and invited to enhance that creation. And as Rabbi Shappiro says, Ours are the arms, the fingers, the voices. Ours are the hands, the eyes, the smiles! We are loved. And when love is the way, we treat each other well and with kindness living as family where: everyone matters; everyone belongs; everyone has a place; and everyone has a responsibility.

Manningham Uniting Church, Arise! Shine! Know that you are enough. That your life is the breath and being of God. You are made to reign, minding your internal affairs with abundant love and grace! Amen.