13 August 2012

Chapel Homily on Ephesians 5:15-21

Nothing so sad as the human life lived from cradle to grave without a clue about what it’s here for.  Doesn’t take much living to discover that the days are evil and that evil awaits not just out there at every turn, but wells up even from within.  “Out of the heart” as our Lord put it.

What you are put here for is not being made drunk by wine or any other substance, not the life of chasing after pleasuring yourself to death, which is truly the waster.  We think of the Rich Man in the story of Lazarus, and if you had to write his obit, what could you say?  Here lies a man who liked to wear fine duds and eat gourmet meals?  That’s about it!  Which is to say:  Here is a man who simply didn’t ever discover what life was given for!  Here is a man who didn’t set free or liberate the time – who simply let the evil of the days rule him.

What a contrast is the life of the Spirit, people loved by God!  For the Spirit would open YOUR eyes to see why you’re here and what your life is all about and how its time may be redeemed. It is by the Spirit that St. Paul urges:  “watch accurately then how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise ones.” The unwise walk aimlessly in the darkness – not you!  You have a lamp.  “Thy Word is lamp to my feet and a light unto my path.”  By that Word the Spirit teaches you not to live the wasted life – wasted in both meanings of the word – but the wise life, the prudent life, the life of worship.

You do see that, don’t you?  It’s all about worship.  The Spirit who fills you impels you toward worship, because He united your life to Jesus, the worshipper par excellence – and so filling of time with psalms and hymns and spiritual odes, singing, psalming in your hearts to and with your Lord Jesus.  THIS is real life.  The poor world doesn’t have a clue as it wanders in its darkness, but you know.  This is what we were made for.  To join in this always-for-all-things Eucharist which is offered in the name of Jesus to His God and Father. 

When you settle for anything less than that sweeping vision of thanksgiving through the Son in the Spirit offered to the Father “at all times and in all places” you slip back into the foolish and imprudent way of living; you fail to redeem the time, to buy it back and set it free – and instead of time carrying you forward to the bright light of the Day without Evening in the Kingdom of your Father, then it can only carry you forward to the darkness of a grave, and to a dark fire flickering beyond, as the praiseless Rich man found out!

Time is meant for worship and praise – for that is life.  Have you ever taken to heart the astounding words of Psalm 115?  Turn there, please.  Front of the hymnal.  Look at verses 17 and 18.  “The dead do not praise the Lord, nor do any who down into silence. But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord!”

The mark of being dead in the Bible isn’t that you are not breathing.  There are plenty of those who no longer breathe who still live – and the mark of their living is that they go on blessing the Lord!  “With angels and archangels and all the company of heaven!” Similarly, there are many who breathe who are dead as door nails.  The mark of their deathliness is that their mouths do not bless the Lord – instead of praise pouring forth, something else comes from within – bitter complaining and arguing, hateful words and divisions, gossip and slander. Dead words.  Words that leave the days even more evil than we found them.  This is what the Creed means when it speaks of “the living and the dead”! 

People loved by God, let us set the time free again!  This is the gift that He gives you today - He who came among us to live the life you, Adam, and all his children have failed to live.  Jesus offered a life that was one unending crescendo of thanks and praise to His Father. He did this for you so that you can live it with Him – not a wasted life, but the life you were made for. And that perfect life that culminated upon His cross and in the triumph of His resurrection and ascension, that life is YOUR life.  He gave it to you in your Baptism.  You can live it with Him now by His Spirit as you redeem these days, setting them free by filling them with what all creation will finally be filled with: a hymn of thanksgiving that expands into all time and all space, thanksgiving for the gifts that flow from the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit, to you and to all His children, and then the bounce back from us all in the Spirit, through the Son, to the Father, to whom be the glory, now and ever and to the ages of ages!   

“The dead do not praise the Lord, but we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.  Praise the Lord….with Psalms and hymns and spiritual odes, singing and making psalmody to the Lord with and in your hearts.”  Amen.

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