This is a sermon that I am probably too proud of. I have the feeling that is was a pastor’s sermon – that I was communicating with myself, but not too many others. But even with that, I still like it and here is why – it offers something for the head, the heart and the hands. It presented a common emotional question and answered it in both intellectual terms and emotional terms. It also managed to address a secular event and bring in a Christian framework. I think and feel that it was solid and balanced.
The theology was the two kingdoms. Jesus prays in the text for the Sermon (John 17:11-19) for his disciples “not to be taken from the world, but to be protected from the evil one.” The are not of the world, but they are sent to the world. Combined with the secular calendar Memorial Day and the Christian calendar Ascension Day, the question is why? Why if Jesus Christ is enthroned at the right hand of the Father do we still have days like Memorial Day? The temptation is always to theodicy, or explaining the ways of God to men. God is a big boy, he can explain himself. But he does explain how he works in this world most of the time – through us. In the Kingdom of Power or of the left, God works through means. What that mean is that the crooked timber of humanity provides the material of the Kingdom of Power. And that often results in evil as we go our own way. What we are assured of though is that the Kingdom of Grace, which is the Kingdom that Christians are citizens of, is only under God’s control and action. In Jesus Christ, God has done everything necessary for our salvation. So, we as Christians are in the Kingdom of Power, but we are not of it. We have a mission in it to proclaim the Kingdom of Grace – your sins have been forgiven in Jesus Christ.
The emotion is the just as we cause wars in the that kingdom of power, such as the carnage of the civil war, and carry their effects, so also did Jesus Christ. Jesus submitted to our justice, to the authority of the Kingdom of Power. God does not answer the why question, but he does ask us to have faith in him that He is in control and looking out for his Children. His deeds speak to why we should have that faith.