Sunday, September 23, 2007

Called to Freedom

Here's a video feed for the local news coverage at All Saints today.

And here's the sermon preached today at All Saints Church by rector Ed Bacon. Entitled "Called to Freedom" a draft text is up on the All Saints website (the full text will be available shortly) and the video is up on both Google and Yahoo video.

And here's the part I wish every bishop gathered in New Orleans could have heard:
On the first day of Jesus’s official, public ministry, he went to the synagogue in his hometown on the Sabbath, took the scroll which recorded the prophet Isaiah’s words, and read them. "The Spirit of our God is upon me; because the Most High has anointed me to bring Good News to those who are poor, freedom to those who are held captive, recovery of sight to those who are blind, and to let the oppressed go free – to proclaim the year of Our God’s favor."

Then Jesus preached his first sermon, "Today, this scripture passage is fulfilled." In other words, Jesus was saying, "These words are now embodied in our place and time. My life’s purpose is now to fulfill this scripture passage – to bring freedom to those who are bound and freedom to those who are oppressed.

In other words, the heart of Jesus’ ministry was to be a walking living, breathing, embodied Exodus experience for everyone captive, bound, and oppressed. That was the great offense of Jesus to the Roman Empire and any religious authorities complicit with the Empire – that he not only talked about Freedom. He embodied it.

Therefore, the essence of the life of a Christian, and the essence of the life of every person of faith (to my way of thinking) is to be a walking, living, breathing Exodus factory for every brother and sister in the human family who is captive, bound, excluded, and oppressed. If you and I do not do that we are merely having an irrelevant tea party here this morning and we are falling short of our very reason for being – both the proclamation and the embodiment of freedom.

As resolutions are crafted to express the "Mind of the House" gathered in New Orleans my prayer is that the minds IN the house keep in mind the call of our Lord and Savior to both proclaim and embody the "year of the Lord's favor." And that they remember he almost got thrown off a cliff afterwards for proclaiming it. And then he called us to go and do likewise.

Following the one whose life showed us how to walk in love and whose resurrection saves us from the fear of death, let's not just talk about God's inclusive love. Let's embody it.

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