Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â We are living in a tense time. Thereâ€™s tensions in our state with a new premier in town, and that seeking to balance those tensions of the economy, of health, and of social contentment. How will their choices affect us who are governed? Thereâ€™s tensions within our synod, the LCANZ, regarding ordination, church and schools, loss of members and lack of pastors. What is this LCANZ in these modern times? And of course our society is tense, who can we trust? Can we choose vaccination or lockdown, obedience or outlaw? When the restrictions change, will we be safe or will it be worse? And all these tensions can come into our homes to roost, all this on top of those tension already within our homes. How can we cope with all these tensions?
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â And here I am with a rope and a needle. The ropeâ€™s nice and big, the needle is hard and sharp; yet if I tried to thread this rope through the needle for the rest of this day Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™d get tense too. I canâ€™t do it. The ropeâ€™s too thick, the eye of the needle too small and too inflexible. And today we heard Jesus say, itâ€™s easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle than for someone with lots of stuff to enter the kingdom of heaven. Someone with property, cars, clothes, plenty of water and food, even plenty of friends and family; someone with lots of responsibility will find it hard to enter the kingdom of God. And we can add to that, anyone with lots of anger, arrogance, lust, greed, envy, stubbornness, despair and pride, anyone pulled with so many tensions will find it hard to enter the kingdom of God. Jesus says they will find it impossible.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â He tells us a timeless and ever applicable truth, â€˜with humans this is impossible, yet with God all things are possible.â€™ Look not to yourselves in these tense times, but rather toward God in humility and need. For by ourselves we cannot resolve all these tensions, we need help. You know that often dwelling on the worries of this world just brings you down. By our own efforts apart from God we cannot be saved from all that pulls against us.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â It is impossible for us. Yet not with God, for with God all things are possible. It is by Godâ€™s work that we are saved. He is not tense, He is peace, joy and love. It is The Word Incarnate, The Eternal Son of God, born of Mary in time, His death, resurrection and ascension, His Victory over sin, death and the devil. Itâ€™s the Holy Spirit who brings us into Him and His Victory, this New Life in Christ; The Holy Spirit who sustains us with His Written Word, who prays for us and with us, who connects us to Christ, who then mediates and reconciles us with Our Heavenly Father. It is God who deals with our sin, our failings, who saves us from the devil, from our enemies and from ourselves, it is God who provides life, even life everlasting, it is God who can change our sick, broken hearts to be like His, it is God who can do all these things that are impossible for you. And He has promised this salvation for you.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â With God all things are possible, by His work and Word you are saved. In this tense time, in this time of struggle that Jesus promises to all His people (Mark 10:30), we know that it is not by human strength alone that these tensions will be resolved. It is not doctors, government, it is not us who will save us; it is God, yes working through His Creation, but it is ultimately and truly God who will save us and provide for us. Whether we loose things this side of eternity or whether God allows us to keep them, still as Jesus says, we have Godâ€™s gifts aplenty already, brothers, sisters in Christ across the world and here in this parish, homes food and work we share, elders and children to care for and be taught through, all these in this present time along with persecutions; and in the age to come eternal life and peace together with Christ.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â And that peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, now and into life everlasting. Amen.
Pastor Joseph Graham.