Holy Cross, 10th Anniversary of the Building   Sept. 17, 2017

Rev. Lyle McKenzie         Lutheran Church of the Cross of Victoria
1 Kings 8:22-30; Psalm 84; 1 Corinthians 1:18-24; John 3:13-17

 

– It’s a day of thanksgiving…

– It’s a day of the cross of Christ Jesus…

– It’s a day of re-forming for God’s ever unfolding purpose…

 

– It’s a day of thanksgiving…

– What are you, what are we giving thanks for?

– For the celebration ten years ago and the 10th anniversary of dedicating this building addition…

– the excitement… glancing through pictures of construction…

– serving coffee and food everyday for the workers…

– I remember Council or the Board of Worship… meeting in the evening… pushed open the plywood barrier between the existing building and came into this space to look around… still being dry-walled, we stood and sang together… a great feeling…

– the days of dedication, with community leaders, neighbours and building representatives., ribbon cutting and hard hats.. and opening the doors… and cake and refreshments…

– the dedication worship, like today, Solomon’s prayer, Psalm 84 the music, musicians and choir, the didgeridoo and dancer, dedication of the font, cross, ambo, table… and the building… many special guests… and more cake and refreshments…

– one retired pastor saying “That was the most interesting worship I’ve ever been part of…”

– and everything that followed, open houses, suppers, concerts, conventions, lectures, weddings, funerals, worship, worship…

– and more cake and refreshments!

– For all this and more… including reducing the mortgage to less than half in ten years… while we expanded ministry…

– and just as much as this, we give thanks for a young woman due to arrive in Canada this Thursday, that we have been praying and hoping could finally make a home here with her aunt and family… We give thanks as much for this…

– For all the wonderful sounds in this space… music like today, and on so many other days, in great variety… solo and choral, instrumental and ensemble, wonderful music…

– And words, ancient words of the Bible, and words of today, in prayer and preaching, and children’s words… many voices… of God’s Spirit speaking to our lives and this world…

– And just as much as this, for the sounds of an elder expressing her feelings and responses to what’s happening as she is able… or a child playing us a few notes on the piano…

– We give thanks as much for this…

– For great leadership, willing, capable, committed, gifted… making possible all the ministries of this community…

– the “With Open Arms Refugee fundraiser last night… the Shelbourne Community Kitchen… Summer Day Camp and breakfast and Fun Day with St. Luke’s… Reformation events next Sunday and throughout this year… exploring new intergenerational housing possibilities with Luther Court… a new Kitchen at Luther House and university ministries… more classes and courses than a small college…

– and just as much we give thanks for the prayers of elders and others, less able to do things as others or in the past, but holding this community in thoughts, interest and prayers…

– We give thanks as much for them…

So much and so much more to give thanks for, to God… for all the people who pass through this community of the Cross, for near a lifetime, or for just a short time, and how we are blessed by being together in the one Spirit of Christ Jesus…

– This is the day of great thanksgiving to God… and more

– It’s a day of the cross of Christ Jesus…

– There is a photo of the first dedication of Church of the Cross… I love this photo… the building so stark and different as I have said before, from what was across the street…

– what a building of the Cross at the crossroads… the cross standing clearly above the round atrium with columns and stairs

– I was over at the Cedars this week… one of the elders… in this neighbourhood for many years said, “I miss that cross…”

– in this building addition… in the windows on the world, the lit cross… all of them pointing to the cross of Christ Jesus…

– Why the cross, at the crossroads… what does it mean?

– In Paul’s words, it’s foolishness! to trust God’s love is present to humanity in Jesus, God’s anointed, dying on the cross… or, in other words, it is a “scandal” to trust this is true…

– in the Gospel, famous words of Jesus in conversation with Nicodemus, God’s beloved must be “lifted up” – in the Gospel of John, words for Jesus crucified…  so like Moses in the wilderness, holding up a staff with a serpent of bronze – the symbol of medicine, all people might look on it, look on Jesus on the cross, and live… that’s foolishness! That’s God’s wisdom!

– God’s perfect way of so loving the world, though killed by this world on the cross, not condemning the world to perish…  but redeeming this scandal for good, by rising to life that all the world might not perish, but be saved for life in God, forever…

– the cross of Christ – God’s way of grace over against any way of trusting in our attempts to redeem ourselves that only fail…

– the Cross of Christ – if God redeems this for good, the promise that there is no suffering and death that God will not redeem…

– the cross of Christ, – in a world and time like every time of so many voices pointing at their way of power to save or kill…

– so much suffering and perishing… this foolishness and scandal of the cross to save the world from perishing is vital, critical!

– This is the day of the cross of Christ Jesus… and more…

– It’s a day of re-forming for God’s ever unfolding purpose

– 500th anniversary of the Reformation… already this year, week of prayer, ecumenical study, musical events, DVD, worship…

– Bishop Susan next Sunday, UVic lecture series, LWF study, joint ecumenical worship… all important commemorations…

– and imperatives for greater cooperation and unity in common witness and service to the world… in the Spirit of Jesus…

– but central and essential to the Reformation is to be “ever reforming”… that identifies both a humility and a freedom…

– for correction, including confession of wrongs of the past… and

– forgiveness and changing, adjusting, experimenting in what we need to do and be together as a church of the Cross now…

and for the future… what ministries and ministry leadership…

– what visions and goals and priorities for tomorrow… inclusion and reconciliation with all peoples; caring for the earth and its climate; helping to feed the neighbourhood; care for children; provide affordable housing, build community, all in partnerships

– what more… what now God! with all the excitement and fear and trembling that holds…

– This is the day of re-forming for God’s ever unfolding purpose

– Ten years ago as we dedicated all this and more we did so with great joy and thanksgiving, and a little fear and trembling over what we’d taken on… look at all this now…

– Today, with thanksgiving for all this and more, looking to the future, ever reforming to serve what God needs and desires of this community of the foolish, scandalous Cross of Christ now

– a little fear and trembling is okay, seems right, if by grace alone, through faith alone, by word alone, in Christ alone… we remain open, excited and bold enough to ask, “What now, God!” What now? Amen.