The arrogance…

Well, don’t those words from Isaiah (2:1-5) represent the height of arrogance?  “In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it.”

First of all, the mountain of the Lord, or Zion, or Jerusalem, as its known – the mountain of the Lord isn’t much of a mountain. It’s more like a modest rise in elevation. But this lowly little hill is supposed to established as the highest of the mountains, raised above the hills – it’s supposed to rival Everest and K2 and perhaps even our own Mount Logan. Come on, Isaiah. Sounds a little over the top.

And not only is Zion supposed to become the highest of mountains but, here’s where the arrogance really kicks in – Isaiah says that “all the nations shall stream to it.” That’s right – one day all nations will stream to Zion.” Within the Hebrew tradition, of course, Zion represents the dwelling place of God with his people. Zion represents the dwelling of God with the descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. A little arrogant, isn’t it, to think that the nations of the world are going to stream to Zion in order to worship and celebrate this particular God. A little arrogant, isn’t it, to think that the God of Zion has something that all the nations of the world might need or want? Continue reading

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He Ascended

A sermon in my continuing series on the Apostles’ Creed.

 

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Departure scenes almost always feel heavy and sad, don’t they? You can easily picture it in your mind. A man and woman embrace at the airport, one obviously flying to some far-flung place. There are tears. There is sorrow on each face. There is one long last look over the shoulder as the departing person passes through the security gate. Departure terminals aren’t the most joyful places to spend time. The one who is left behind often goes with hunched shoulders out the door and into – well, it almost has to be rain, doesn’t it.

 

As we continue our series on the Apostles’ Creed today, another departure scene is set before our eyes. It is the departure of Jesus from his disciples and, indeed, from our world. The New Testament tells us that Jesus stayed with his disciples forty days after his resurrection – and then came his ascension to glory. In a sense, of course, we are getting ahead of ourselves since the church year sets aside May 21st of 2009 for the celebration of the Ascension. But since we are making our way through the Apostles’ Creed, we arrive at the Ascension a little earlier than usual.

 

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended to the dead. On the third rose again, he ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.

 

He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.

 

He ascended.

  Continue reading