Sermon Archives

Sunday, July 17, 2016
The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 11, Year C)
The Reverend Dr. Joseph Healey
Colossians 1:15-28

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of the cross.

The world outside this Church is in turmoil. Many of us are as well in turmoil. Within the last month, we have been confronted with a relentless barrage of information that is both disturbing and frightening.

We have seen an almost daily crisis related to race and politics and social issues that most of us thought were settled many years ago. The streets of our cities have become battlegrounds and the civic order that we have come to expect is unraveling.

It is about race and privilege and about alienation and poverty. It is about a loss of hope, a loss of faith in the ultimate justice of the universe, about the ultimate justice of God.

When hope is lost all is lost. We are a country and a people who have lived in hope - hope for a better life, hope for equity and justice for all of us, hope for making a difference in the world. hope and faith in the power of Jesus Christ to reconcile, to heal and to empower us.

But we cannot solve the problems we see and hear and read about just by wishing them away or pointing to all the progress we have made as a country over the last fifty years.

When I was a boy growing up in Scranton. I never knew a black person until I worked one summer for the City of Scranton fixing playground. My boss was Sloan Clopton, a massive, extraordinary man of color. Maybe that was a special privilege to meet and know the first person of color in your life as this larger than life, amazing, funny, wonderful man.

I think sometimes we live in a land of stereotypes and manufactured personalities. But real people, real people are so much more important and amazing than stereotypes. Fear and hate is the product of ignorance; in most cases of dehumanizing the “other” the one different from us.

Today the readings encourage, indeed command us to overcome our fear and ignorance, to reach out, to share, and to embrace the common humanity of all of us.

“God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things….by making peace through the blood of his cross.” And we know as Isaiah the prophet wrote: “Peace is the work of justice. (Is.32:17) We cannot despair. We must do justice to create peace. May God strengthen us in that work.