Monday, November 12, 2012

Advent and the Kingdom of God.

I'm assigned to preach a sermon today from a passage in the Hebrew Bible and orient the text to the Advent season. I chose Isaiah 65:17-25 where the Lord promises new heavens and a new earth in which "the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind." Given the apocalyptic aspects of this specific text, I turned to one of my favorite theologians, Ernst Käsemann, to see if he ever preached a sermon for Advent. I was in luck.

"At issue from now on till the end of days is that the kingdom of God is revealed on earth always and wherever the world has to do with this Jesus, and only where the gospel about him is preached and believed. This would not be possible if Jesus acquired no disciples whom he could send out as messengers and witnesses of his rule. To the messianic Advent of the kingdom of God essentially belongs that great mission in which people are called into service for this kingdom. The Lord is not without his community. The kingdom would be a utopia if it could not be visibly enfleshed on earth in members and instruments of his rule. Advent ties heaven and earth, ties the eternal God to his creatures, who continually seek to avoid him but whom he never leaves to themselves. When at Advent God's kingdom breaks into our world, it does so that, just as Israel at Sinai, we hear the first commandment with its promise and claim: 'I am the Lord your God ... you shall have no other gods before me!' The gospel is told so that it occurs where the poor, the sick, the despairing, and the possessed cry for help, where demons and tyrants play their evil game and afflict humankind, where in the midst of blindness, hate, scorn, blasphemy, and cowardice the cross of Golgotha makes visible God's rule as the self-humiliation of our Creator, that is, as love that seeks us out even in earth's inferno, sets itself alongside us, takes us in its supporting, comforting arms. As Israel once sensed the breeze or gale of freedom while in bondage to Egypt, so those who 'all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death' will sense it, and the redeemed will see the heavens above and the world around them opened to messengers of the gospel. This is what is taking place now if Advent is actually occurring among and for us."

- Ernst Käsemann, "Mark 1:16-20: On Discipleship of the Coming One" in On Being a Disciple of the Crucified Nazarene, 321.

1 comment:

Frederick Froth said...

Why does everything have to turn out to be Christian, especially As Jesus of Galilee was never ever in any sense a Christian. Nor did he create any of the religion about him - aka the ideology of Christian-ism.

The "Kingdom of God" is neither in nor of the world. But the "Kingdom of God" is, or must be established within the heart, and the mind, and the body, and the active life of every human individual.

The Divine IS NOT, nor ever was, nor ever will be the Ruler of the world, because the Divine is NOT on the outside of the world, or on the outside of anyone in the world.
The Divine must be understood to BE at the inside of the world, and at the inside of everyone in the world. Therefore, the Divine is not to be sought outside, or as some Rule or Ruler of the world. Rather, the Divine MUST BE ACCEPTED AS the Ruler of the heart, and the mind, and the body, such that the inherently sinful or God-denying EGO, or the selfish heart, mind, and body, CEASES to be the False Ruler of the heart, and the mind, and the body, and the active life of the human individual heart.

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