The Ordinary, Altered
Fr. Tom Simmons, Trinity Sunday, June 11, 2017, Matthew 28:16-20
Welcome back to…the ORDINARY!
Today we step back into what the church calls Ordinary Time… and it’s been a long time coming.
Ever since last December we’ve been following the lift of Jesus.
In Advent was the build-up to the birth of Jesus on Christmas, then in January Jesus manifested to the world in Epiphany.
In March in Lent we turned with Jesus toward the cross and made our way to Jerusalem, where
…in April man’s evil and God’s justice fell upon Jesus in his passion and death on the cross.
Then, walking out of the grave, Jesus spent the next 40 days, through May, teaching his disciples before ascending to the place of preeminence over the world.
From thence, in June, he poured forth the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, extending his presence and reign into the world.
This is the life of Jesus of Nazareth and for these last several months we have walked with Jesus and have witnessed these momentous events.
And now that it’s all done we enter “Ordinary Time”.
But now the “ordinary” is forever altered.
That’s the point of our Gospel lesson. The ordinary is forever altered.
Jesus is directing his disciples to life in the new world that NOW BELONGS TO HIM
Jesus is telling us three things: 1) who he is, 2) the splash he makes and 3) what to do about it.
First there’s Who Jesus Is.
It’s startling to see the disciples worshipping Jesus there in v 17.
Jews don’t DO that! They worship God alone. Not a man. Never!
So what’s going on?
The more they are with Jesus the clearer they see: God is present with this man.
And Jesus is claiming as much.
As with Moses at the burning bush, He promises “I Am.. with you always, to the end of the age”.
Ever since, followers of Jesus have worshipped the one true God who is now, astonishingly, present as Jesus himself.
Then there’s Jesus’ statement, “all authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.”
I hear echoes from the reading in Genesis, “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Do you hear that echo?
Jesus’ claim to “all authority” embraces ALL THAT. His authority mirrors the Creator’s.
We recognize that today Trinity Sunday .
And every Sunday now on “blessed be God…”
So… the disciples worshipped.
….and so do we.
Now Jesus has simply RECOVERED the authority was that was delegated by God to man in Genesis:
“Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have authority over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing.”
Great stuff, right?! But now you’re going to hear “the rest of the story”.
One of the creeping things under man’s authority was the serpent that approached Eve with a cunning tale to tell, contradicting God’s word, enticing her to follow a different path, her own path…his path.
And they fell for it. They surrendered their authority, they worshipped and served a creature rather than the Creator and fell under his power.
That made the world as we know it.
è Jesus came to set this right, which brings us to the next point.
He made a big splash!
Jesus is saying that all authority has been restored to his rightful hands.
from the serpents hands to the Servant’s
Remember back to Jesus’ desert temptations in Lent? Like Adam and Eve, Satan tried to sway Jesus’ allegiance.
He took Jesus to a mountain, perhaps like the one he’s standing on with his disciples, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world.
And the devil said something very interesting.
“All this authority has been given to me back…back when Adam and Eve fell … and I’ll gladly give it to you, if you will just worship me like they did.”
The adversary offered Jesus a shortcut, a cost-free – and a CROSS-FREE – path to power and prestige.
But Jesus had a different way.
By his suffering obedience and fidelity to God Jesus succeeded where Adam failed, and regained the authority lost by Adam.
He’s intent on using it to regain the world for God.
He’s bringing ALL THINGS great and small in a great big embrace, showing people how to love and obey God rather than make it all about themselves.
That’s the big splash he’s made.
è That brings us to the next point.
What we now DO about it!
If THAT’S true, then then what do we do?
Jesus said, “Make disciples of all nations.” It’s all his. Now he wants us to GO GET IT.
Like in the Garden, God gives a sweepingly broad charge to GO GET IT, but says next to nothing about HOW!
Jesus names two tasks: baptize and teach.
Christians sometimes want to wait around for God’s guidance.
We ask, “Show me Lord” and expect the answer to waft from heaven into our lap.
But is that how God usually works?
I think God is saying “Let’s figure it out together.”
He gave us brains and we get to figure things out together
He’s not dictating how, but enjoys working together to figure out how together.
…to figure out how to fulfill our mission in different places and times to ”make disciples of all nations”
Which brings us back to Ordinary Time. July
We’ve been working two years to prayerfully and studiously figure out together how we can best serve our community
….to make disciples of the nations...here in Purcellville.
Here’s what we’ve figured out. It’s Turning Strangers into Friends into Followers of Jesus.
It’s famous events that draw the community together.
It’s following up with our guests to deepen the relationship. To introduce them to Jesus and teach them to "obey all that I have commanded you".
It’s building a more deeply connected congregation where we are Building Christians for Service, Jesus’ followers.
Come July 4th we’ll have our first Famous Event of the year. I hope you’ll be part of the team to put on the event, to connect with our guests to follow up with them, to lead them to Jesus.