Jesus was all about living in the realm of God and establishing the realm of God on earth. He said it was at hand, within and around us, and he taught us how to grow so we could see it and experience it and be its instruments, using our gifts and resources and whole life to bring God’s realm into being around us. Our calling is to be transformed into citizens of God’s realm so that we may transform the world into something more like God’s realm.
God’s realm is not a place where 18 school shootings happen in one country in two months. God’s realm is not a place where two countries’ leaders threaten to attack us with nuclear weapons and our leader threatens to attack others with them, killing millions of people with each bomb. God’s realm is not a place where men do violence to women, where one race or religion does violence to another, where the rich get richer at the expense of the poor getting poorer. Violence of all these kinds has no place in the realm of God, which, if we listen to Jesus and look at his life as model, is all about compassion, mercy, justice, peace, a sufficiency for all and unconditional, unjudging, all-forgiving, universal love—including love of enemies.
This Sunday we will consider what this means practically for us as people who are trying to follow Christ and have the heart and mind of Christ in us. We will read in I Corinthians 1 where Paul talks about the nonviolent, crucified Christ as “the power of God and the wisdom of God,” and says, “For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” We will also read the story in Mark 11 of Jesus disrupting the temple marketplace. Scholars debate how to interpret the physical details, but it is clear that Jesus was courageously confronting the most powerful forces in his society in order to call them to stop their oppressive injustice and return to the ways of God’s realm.
We will sing a medley of hymn verses from the old Pilgrim Hymnal. They each reflect the traditional understanding that Christ calls us to confront our society when it does violence. He leads us to work tirelessly and courageously for justice and peace. We will sing part or all of these classics: God of Grace and God of Glory; God Send Us Men Whose Aim ’Twill Be; O God of Earth and Altar; O Brother Man, Fold to Thy Heart; O Beautiful for Spacious Skies; These Things Shall Be and O Day of God, Draw Nigh.
The choir will sing “Let There Be Peace on Earth” and “Dona Nobis Pacem” as well as a beautiful “Kyrie” by L. Abaris. Pianist Annemieke McLane will play pieces by Bach, Beethoven and Haydn.
All are welcome to sing with the choir under Annemieke’s direction. Just show up on Sunday morning at 9:00 and sing, no prior experience or religious affiliation necessary!