Having considered what it looks like for God to be the light of the world, we now consider what is looks like for God to be the light in our lives. This week we take a look at Peter’s life changing interaction with Jesus and consider what it looks like for Jesus to speak words of light back into Peter’s life.
The way God’s light overcomes the darkness is punctuated and fulfilled by Jesus stepping into the world, but it is emphatically demonstrated by God’s persistent engagement and grace with humanity over the course of history. He is the one who has never let go. Not in the beginning, not throughout his covenant with Israel, not after the resurrection, not today, and he won’t let go tomorrow.
The darkness has not overcome the light because the light is ever present.
Ainsley kicks off our year together by introducing the focus area for H3O this year. She invites us to consider what it looks like for the church to be a lighthouse in our communities as we reflect on what it means for God to be the light in our world.
In this sermon, Ainsley explores how true mercy from God—and others—is a completely undeserved gift. Those who flourish in the Kingdom are not those who somehow made it happen through their own character or actions. Instead, it is those with nothing to offer who are able to inherit the Kingdom. The merciful, Ainsley explains, are those with empty hands.
In this sermon, Jed clarifies the meaning of “righteousness” as something more like restorative justice, and explores how God’s Kingdom is characterised by a reconciling form of justice. And God’s justice does not match our standards of equality. This new way of living, Jesus says, is not based upon rewards for good deeds. There is no principle of proportionality at work here, but a new kind of upside-down economics. God’s economy is an economy of grace, where God showers generosity on those who might least deserve it, and at the same time God is unfailingly trustworthy to those who have nothing left to count on, nothing to hold on to at the end of the day. God’s reign is characterized by restorative justice.
In this sermon on meekness, Jed reminds us that Christ was described as “meek.” Jesus, the gentle and humble in heart, was no coward. There is a difference between being docile and being humble. There is a difference between being weak and being gentle. The humble, the gentle, and the meek have surrendered their wills to God. They won’t compromise when the world wants them to fashion their lives after ambition, wealth, and arrogance. They are, instead, God’s hands and feet on this earth. And as we fashion the world into the image of God’s Kingdom—as we extend God’s radical love—we inherit a world that is God’s world; the meek participate in the world they inherit.
In this sermon on “Blessed are they who mourn,” Jed recommends that rather than be suspicious of mourning, rather than buy into the narrative of our world that is terrified of grief, and which tries to forget suffering, the Christian community is called to bear the world’s suffering. Christ on the cross is a picture of a God who bears our brokenness, and who loves us and dies for us. To model this kind of love is similarly to bear with our world in its brokenness: to be saddened, grieved, and mournful for a world that is profoundly messed up, and then to go ahead and get into those spaces where love can make a way.
In this opening sermon on the Beatitudes, Jed explains that the Beatitudes are an announcement, not an analysis. This good thing is starting to happen. It is gospel, an announcement of a better way. The Beatitudes are not Jesus telling people how to behave, but instead Jesus telling those people who mourn, who are poor in spirit, who are meek, that they are in good shape. The kingdom is open to them.