The second sermon about kingship. The divinely anointed king ‘like a son of man’ has been equated with the exalted Christ from the earliest days of the church. Here, then, is a very different sort of king—whom we will be awaiting once more this Advent.
The first in a pair of sermons about different visions if kingship. Leadership as the world understands it often leads to exploitation and abuse, and that is certainly what Israel's demand for a king like the nations would lead to.
Human beings are natural story-tellers; we use stories to express and interpret our human experience. In Isaiah 40, God radically changes the story for Israel. We think through the implications for ourselves on Remembrance Sunday.
“My house will be called a house of prayer,” (Matthew 21:13; cf. Isaiah 56:7). The church is the body of Christ, and needs to be oriented towards her Lord. There is not a single move of God in all of salvation history which hasn't been preceded and accompanied by prayer. If the church is to thrive, we need to pray.
The regular practice of prayer, using all the tools in the prayer toolbox, transforms us as human beings and followers of Jesus. Jesus himself, of course, prayed unceasingly, and encouraged his disciples to do likewise.
A “homiletical sting operation”: turning to the Jewish Christians in Rome, Paul first plays to their prejudices by outlining the utter depravity of Gentiles; then he turns around and argues that his listeners are no better. Are we? Before turning to grace for all, we have to understand the sin of all.
'Deliver us from the evil one.' Not everyone may be comfortable with the reality of spiritual forces or battle, yet it is part of the Christian life. In what ways can we experience attack? How can we respond?
Lstening to God. 'On earth as it is in heaven.' The prayer of shutting up: we listen for the words of God, for the voice of the Shepherd (John 10:4). How do we listen? How do we recognise God's voice? In what ways does he speak? This may be an opportunity to touch on the prophetic side of prayer.
Processing disappointment. 'Your will be done.' When we pray, we have to embrace the mystery. The Bible is honest about unanswered prayer, and so must we be. Not every prayer gets answered the way we ask it. What do we do when God appears absent?