Sermon Aug 18

Blame it on Jesus


I am sure you know by now that the motion to change the rules of

the Anglican Church to redefine the definition of marriage to

allow for same sex inclusion was defeated. The fallout from these

kinds of decisions are fodder for argument and sometimes all out

war. Something is wrong! Someone is to blame: It is someones

fault: Something is not right, there is a problem and we have to

fix it. And that means changing something. But where do we to

start? Something is wrong! And it is someones fault: Someone is

to blame: Instead of concentrating on solving the problem, we

assign blame!


Someone is to blame: It is someones fault: I think that attitude is the major problem. Regardless of what the problem is, we have an uncontrollable need to blame someone. If we were in favour of the change we blame the bishops for the failure of the vote on marriage, but did they not have a right to vote the way their conscious dictated? We say everyone has the right to their opinion, but do we really believe that, or do we only give that right to those who agree with us. Same gender right to marriage is already established in civil law. We do not have to agree with that, but it is a fact.


Our bishop wrote “I plan to sign a joint statement from bishops

who either have already moved, or plan to move soon, to

authorize Same-Gender Marriage in their dioceses.” That means

that clergy in our diocese will be allowed to conform to civil law.

It does not mean that they have to change their beliefs. Humanity

has too long been divided into right and wrong sides, and

pressure is applied to make sure we stay divided. Those who do

not take sides publicly are accused of sitting on the fence.


It is a fact that many people do not like change, and I admit to

being one of them, when it comes to the bible. Strictly for the

poetry and dynamics of the language I prefer the King James

version, especially when read in church. Some others want to

change everything. Still others resent the fact we have already

changed some things and want to reverse the situation. Same sex

relationships and abortion rights are only two. It is not a new

problem, we have been faced with this situation for centuries and

I see no end.


Advances in scientific knowledge has forced us to grudgingly

accept a lot of changes and will continue to do so, whether we

like it or not. Religion has also been responsible for many

changes, and also will continue to do so. Not just Christianity but

ancient religions as well. We tend to forget that God has been

around since long before the big bang created the universe, and

with it humans, and their ability to create more problems.


I remember my mother listening to a radio program called “Back

to the Bible” It was hosted by a minister who preached the literal

interpretation of the Bible. He disagreed with anything else

including evolution and the age of the universe. According to him

every word of the Bible especially the old testament was literal

fact and was the inerrant word of God, and was of the opinion

that everything would be right if we were to return to an earlier

belief.


But how far back do we want to go? If we were to go back 5000

years, We would find ancient religious teachers saying some of

the same things that Jesus said. Therefore in our time it must be

all Jesus fault! He started it! That is another way we assign

blame, He started it! He broke all the rules. The ancient Hebrews

had it all figured out. All the rules were in place. God had started

it by giving Moses the ten commandments, and the Prophets had

added all the other rules that were necessary.


Then Jesus came along and disrupted everything. He preached

love, compassion and most of all equality. He objected to the way

the rulers enforced the letter of the law. No exceptions for special

circumstances, as the story in our gospel lesson for today clearly

shows. Enforcing the letter of the law is also a problem today, just

as it was two thousand years ago.


Unlike today’s protests and political advertisements, there was no

violent actions or character attacks on Jesus part. He simply did

what he believed to be necessary, as he said “I must be about my

fathers business”. When He did go on the attack, it was in

response to flagrant disrespect of “my fathers house” as when he

drove the money changers out of the temple. He only used harsh

language when he referred to the religious leaders as “hypocrites

and a brood of vipers”.


When Jesus healed a leper he did not start a campaign to heal all

the lepers in Palestine. When you help a homeless person you

have a choice. You can help just that one person or you could

organize a campaign to end homelessness, but your act of

compassion is more important than the results of your campaign.

Your act alone will inspire others to act in a similar way. An

ancient Hindu scripture says “Action alone is the province, never

the fruits thereof; let not thy motive be the fruit of action, nor

shouldst thou desire to avoid action.”


In other words, any act of love or compassion on your part should

not have any other motive but to help and serve others, and you

should not avoid action because there might not be a result that

would also reward you in some way with special recognition. The

act of service should be your only motive.


There is an ancient Hindu scripture called the Mahabharata.

Included is a small section called the Bhagavad Gita. This small

part is a conversation between Shri Krishna and a warrior prince

positioned between two large armies as a battle is about to begin.

Shri Krishna is the Lord dwelling in everyone's heart. Taken

literally it could be interpreted as being in favour of violence and

war. Taken metaphorically it is about the conflict between the

good and evil that exists in all of us, and emphasizes the futility

of war.


Mahatma Gandhi, who is credited with leading the people of India

to independence from British rule, used it as a guide to the non-

violent revolution that eventually gained India’s freedom. He was

born in 1869 and was assassinated in 1948. His non-violent

approach to protest in turn, inspirited movements for civil rights

and freedom across the world, including Martin Luther King in

the United States. Paradoxically the man who murdered Gandhi

used the alternate interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita as his

motive.


Jesus said “I am the Alpha and the Omega”: Four hundred years

before Jesus time, Krishna said “I am the beginning, the middle

and the end.” Like the Bhagavad Gita our bible can be interpreted

both literally and metaphorically, resulting in conflicting opinions

and sometimes violent action. In an argument it is not necessary

for me to prove that I am right, It is much easier to attack your

beliefs, your faith or your integrity. Social media postings show

many people prefer this method.


Truth is truth, and we must accept it regardless of the source;

whether that source is the latest scientific breakthrough or the

oldest religion we know of. A noble idea if only we have the

ability to recognize the truth when we hear it. With “fake news”

being all the rage these days it makes it difficult to determine

what is true and what isn’t. “Accept innocent happiness, innocent

joy, whatever the source”, is another good philosophy to live by.


As man's beliefs become more enlightened, the meanings which

people attach to certain words, also become more enlightened.

However with the meaning of words being redefined, both by

common use, and by legal definition, we find ourselves in a

situation where tolerance and patience is more necessary than

ever before. This applies to both the religious and secular areas of

our lives.


May God help us to recognize the truth when we hear it; may we

recognize God’s words no matter who speaks them; may we see

Christ in everyone we meet; May God be with us no matter by

what name he is called.


Amen


counter free