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For All the Saints? Remembering the Christian Departed 4. Living the Christian Hope in the Rhythms of the Church Year Sunday, April 24, 2005 10 to 10:50.

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Presentation on theme: "For All the Saints? Remembering the Christian Departed 4. Living the Christian Hope in the Rhythms of the Church Year Sunday, April 24, 2005 10 to 10:50."— Presentation transcript:

1 For All the Saints? Remembering the Christian Departed 4. Living the Christian Hope in the Rhythms of the Church Year Sunday, April 24, to 10:50 am, in the Parlor. Everyone is welcome!

2 Eternal God By raising Jesus from the dead You proclaimed his victory, And by his ascension You declared him king. Lift up our hearts to heaven That we may live and reign with him. A New Zealand Prayer Book, p. 601

3 For All the Saints? Remembering the Christian Departed. N.T. Wright, Morehouse Publishing, ISBN Chapter 2, and Chapter 5

4 N. T. Wright taught New Testament studies at Oxford, Cambridge, and McGill Universities for 20 years. N. T. Wright taught New Testament studies at Oxford, Cambridge, and McGill Universities for 20 years. Recently Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey. Recently Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey. Currently Bishop of Durham, England. Currently Bishop of Durham, England. Has written numerous academic and popular works, notably the three volumes (and still unfinished) series “Christian Origins and the Question of God.” Has written numerous academic and popular works, notably the three volumes (and still unfinished) series “Christian Origins and the Question of God.”

5 The Faith of A Physicist. John Polkinghorne, Fortress Press, ISBN Chapter 9, “Eschatology”

6 John Polkinghorne is an Anglican Priest in the Church of England John Polkinghorne is an Anglican Priest in the Church of England Former Professor of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge University Former Professor of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge University Fellow of the Royal Society Fellow of the Royal Society Past President and Fellow of Queen’s College Cambridge. Past President and Fellow of Queen’s College Cambridge. Canon Theologian of Liverpool, England. Canon Theologian of Liverpool, England. He has written many academic and popular works on the interaction between science and theology He has written many academic and popular works on the interaction between science and theology

7 The Christian Hope

8 The Christian Hope The Incarnation Some 2000 years ago, God broke into human history by taking on human form (Jesus, the Christ, the LORD). Some 2000 years ago, God broke into human history by taking on human form (Jesus, the Christ, the LORD). God did this for us, and for our salvation. God did this for us, and for our salvation.

9 The Christian Hope Incarnation and Transformed Creation God’s taking on of human form (the Incarnation) transformed creation. God’s taking on of human form (the Incarnation) transformed creation. God’s People became energized with God’s own power = God’s Spirit, elevating and transforming them. God’s People became energized with God’s own power = God’s Spirit, elevating and transforming them. No longer were they mere pawns of the forces that could enslave them (sin, death). No longer were they mere pawns of the forces that could enslave them (sin, death). A new relationship between God and Human Beings began: The New Covenant = The New Testament A new relationship between God and Human Beings began: The New Covenant = The New Testament

10 The Christian Hope Resurrection and New Humanity When Jesus rose from the dead (The Resurrection) the transformed creation saw a new form of humanity = a new mode of physicality = a new Adam (1 Cor. 15:45) Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. (1 Cor. 15:20 NRSV)

11 This new humanity is the destiny of all of God’s people: for as all died in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his [second] coming those who belong to Christ.” (1 Cor. 15:22-23 NRSV)

12 The Christian Hope The Kingdom of God in Creation With the Incarnation and the Resurrection, God’s Kingship of Creation (= the Kingdom of God in creation) has begun. With the Incarnation and the Resurrection, God’s Kingship of Creation (= the Kingdom of God in creation) has begun. Not in it ultimate fullness, Not in it ultimate fullness, But the Kingdom of God in creation, God’s rule on earth, has been inaugurated. But the Kingdom of God in creation, God’s rule on earth, has been inaugurated. The Kingdom is “Now” but “Not Yet” (as the theologians say). The Kingdom is “Now” but “Not Yet” (as the theologians say).

13 The Christian Hope The Kingdom of God in Creation God’s people can now pray confidently to God: God’s people can now pray confidently to God: Your Kingdom will come to the earth in its fullness, and You will reign on earth as you do in heaven. Your Kingdom will come to the earth in its fullness, and You will reign on earth as you do in heaven. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”

14 The Christian Hope The Kingdom of God in Creation We look forward to the life of the world to come, when the Kingdom of God, now inaugurated, will come into its ultimate fullness in creation. We look forward to the life of the world to come, when the Kingdom of God, now inaugurated, will come into its ultimate fullness in creation. On that day: On that day: the dead will be bodily raised into the glorious transformed likeness of Jesus, into that new humanity Jesus was the first example of, the dead will be bodily raised into the glorious transformed likeness of Jesus, into that new humanity Jesus was the first example of, God will reign over God’s people in a new or transformed Creation, the “New Jerusalem” God will reign over God’s people in a new or transformed Creation, the “New Jerusalem”

15 The Christian Hope The Intermediate Stage of Heaven However, this final stage and ultimate destiny, bodily resurrection, and the life of the world to come is still in the future for everyone, living and dead. However, this final stage and ultimate destiny, bodily resurrection, and the life of the world to come is still in the future for everyone, living and dead. All of God’s people who have died (“the saints”) are therefore still in an intermediate state (“heaven”). All of God’s people who have died (“the saints”) are therefore still in an intermediate state (“heaven”).

16 The Christian Hope The Intermediate Stage of Heaven The New Testament is vague about what someone (a “saint”) is between death and bodily resurrection, but we may say that our “souls,” or that pattern that makes us unique entities, is remembered and sustained in life by God. The New Testament is vague about what someone (a “saint”) is between death and bodily resurrection, but we may say that our “souls,” or that pattern that makes us unique entities, is remembered and sustained in life by God.

17 The Christian Hope The Intermediate Stage of Heaven We can pray for and with the saints in heaven, because: We can pray for and with the saints in heaven, because: They, like us, still await the ultimate fulfillment of God’s purpose, the resurrection of the body and life in the new creation to come. They, like us, still await the ultimate fulfillment of God’s purpose, the resurrection of the body and life in the new creation to come. True prayer is an outflowing of love. We pray for them in order to share our love of them with God. Through prayer, we hold them up in our love before God’s presence. True prayer is an outflowing of love. We pray for them in order to share our love of them with God. Through prayer, we hold them up in our love before God’s presence.

18 The Christian Hope Resurrection of the Body Our ultimate destiny is not be a spirit in heaven, but embodied beings in a new Creation. “We are not apprentice angels, awaiting to be disencumbered of our fleshly habitation. Our hope is of resurrection of the body.” (Polkinghorne, p. 164) Bodily Resurrection does not mean a “resuscitation” or “reassembling” of our present structure. “In a very crude and inadequate analogy, the software running on our present hardware will be transferred to the hardware of the world to come.” (Polkinghorne, p. 164)

19 The Christian Hope Cosmic Redemption Will God trash the present creation and start anew, or will the new creation be a transformation, a redemption of the present creation? Where will the “material” of the new hardware come from? Surely the ‘matter’ of the world to come must be the transformed matter of this world. God will no more abandon the universe than he will abandon us. (Polkinghorne p. 164).

20 …the destiny of humanity and the destiny of the universe are together to find their fulfillment in a liberation from decay and futility... The picture of such a cosmic redemption, in which a resurrected humanity will participate, is both immensely thrilling and deeply mysterious.” - Polkinghorne, p. 164

21 The Christian Hope The Kingdom of God on Earth Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev. 21:1-4 NIV)

22 The Church Year

23 The Church Year Lex orandi, lex credendi Lex orandi, lex credendi Lex orandi, lex credendi The way you pray shapes what you believe The way you pray shapes what you believe Theology  Worship and Prayer Theology  Worship and Prayer Can we find the “Good News” of the Christian hope we have just outlined celebrated in the rhythms of our liturgical church year? Can we find the “Good News” of the Christian hope we have just outlined celebrated in the rhythms of our liturgical church year?

24 Advent Preparation for the Coming of Jesus 1. First Coming of Jesus Christmas

25 Advent Preparation for the Coming of Jesus 2. Second Coming of Jesus Four Weeks Long

26 Christmas Celebration of the Birth of Jesus The Incarnation, of God’s breaking into human history by the taking on of human form.

27 Christmas Celebration of the Birth of Jesus The transformation of Creation, of the new relationship (New Covenant, New Testament) between God and Human Beings

28 Christmas Celebration of the Birth of Jesus The inauguration of the Kingdom of God on earth

29 Epiphany Celebration of the beginning of the “making known” or revelation of Jesus the Christ, the Lord, to the World (The Visit of the Magi) Includes the Feast of the Presentation (Feb. 2) = Candlemas Day (from the Song of Simeon “A light to enlighten the nations”) The Song of Simeon. Lord, you now have set your servant free to go in peace as you have promised, For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, whom you have prepared for all the world to see A Light to enlighten the nations, and the glory of your people Israel.

30 Lent Preparation for the Passion and Death of Jesus As in the Creed, we jump from Jesus’ birth and childhood to his Passion and Death.

31 Holy Week The Last Supper, the Crucifixion and and Death of Jesus

32 Easter Celebration of the Resurrection 1. Jesus’ Resurrection, Jesus as the new Adam, the beginning of a new humanity

33 Easter Celebration of the Resurrection 2. Our hope of the resurrection of the body and life in the new creation where God will reign with God’s people

34 Easter Celebration of the Resurrection 2. Our hope of the consummation of God’s ultimate purposes for creation, the Kingdom of God on the Earth in its fullness

35 Easter Celebration of the Resurrection 2. Our hope of the consummation of God’s ultimate purposes for creation, the Kingdom of God on the Earth in its fullness There are 40 days from Easter Sunday to Ascension Day. Before his ascension to heaven, Jesus gives his disciples the Great Commission, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NRSV) Ascension Day (always on a Thursday)

36 Easter Celebration of the Resurrection 2. Our hope of the consummation of God’s ultimate purposes for creation, the Kingdom of God on the Earth in its fullness Ascension Day (always on a Thursday) From Friday after Ascension Day begin the nine days of prayer before Pentecost

37 Pentecost The coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church Pentecost is 7 weeks after Easter Sunday

38 Sundays after Pentecost We are called to reflect upon and join the on-going work of the Church to bring the Good News of Jesus, the Christ, the LORD, to ourselves, our neighbors, our community, our nation, and all the world.

39 Sundays after Pentecost We are called to reflect upon and join the on-going work of the Church to bring the Good News of Jesus, the Christ, the LORD, to ourselves, our neighbors, our community, our nation, and all the world. The journey of our lives, and the work of the Church, lies in that period of time when the Kingdom of God on earth is “Now,” but “Not Yet.” The work of the Church is to engage the structures of this world and transform them towards the new creation, to bring the Kingdom of God more fully into creation.

40 Sundays after Pentecost As we approach the end of the season, we remember and celebrate the saints in heaven (All Saints Day on Nov 1) We pray for and with them because we both still await the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come, where God will reign with God’s people.

41 Sundays after Pentecost As we approach the end of the season, we remember and celebrate the saints in heaven (All Saints Day on Nov 1) We pray for and with them because we both still await the Kingdom of God on Earth, which was inaugurated at the Incarnation, and which has not yet come to us in all its fullness

42 Sundays after Pentecost As we approach the end of the season, we remember and celebrate the saints in heaven (All Saints Day on Nov 1) We pray for and with them because we both still await the Kingdom of God on Earth, which was inaugurated at the Incarnation, and which has not yet come to us in all its fullness In Wright’s view, All Saints Day (Nov. 1) versus All Souls Day (Nov. 2) is a muddle, because there is no difference among God’s people after they die: all are saints in an intermediate state called “heaven”

43 Advent Finally, in Advent we prepare ourselves for the second coming of Jesus, the consummation of God’s purposes for creation, the Kingdom of God on Earth in its fullness, when God will finally reign with God’s resurrected people in a new and transformed Creation, and where “every knee shall bow … and every tongue shall give praise to God.” (Romans 14:11 NRSV)

44 Advent At the same time we remember and prepare anew for the first coming of Jesus, God’s breaking into creation by the taking on of human form, inaugurating the Kingdom of God on earth and signaling the initial transformation of creation.

45 The Church Year The Feast of Christ the King In 1925, Pope Pius XI inaugurated the Feast of Christ the King to highlight the Church’s responsibility in this world: In 1925, Pope Pius XI inaugurated the Feast of Christ the King to highlight the Church’s responsibility in this world: To work for social justice To work for social justice To work for peace. To work for peace. Originally the last Sunday in October. Originally the last Sunday in October. In 1970, the Roman Catholic Church moved the feast day to the Sunday before Advent. In 1970, the Roman Catholic Church moved the feast day to the Sunday before Advent.

46 Feast of Christ the King Last Sunday before Advent

47 The Church Year The Feast of Christ the King In the 1990’s, the feast was adopted as a regular part of the liturgical calendars of Anglican churches. In the 1990’s, the feast was adopted as a regular part of the liturgical calendars of Anglican churches.

48 The Church Year The Problem of Feast of Christ the King Wright feels the position of the feast as the last Sunday of the Church year messes up the flow of the Church Calendar. Wright feels the position of the feast as the last Sunday of the Church year messes up the flow of the Church Calendar. It may create the incorrect impression that Christ will become King at the end of time. It may create the incorrect impression that Christ will become King at the end of time. But Jesus was LORD and king at his birth. The inauguration of the Kingdom of God on earth occurred at Jesus’ birth (the Incarnation) and was fully revealed through the Resurrection and Ascension. But Jesus was LORD and king at his birth. The inauguration of the Kingdom of God on earth occurred at Jesus’ birth (the Incarnation) and was fully revealed through the Resurrection and Ascension. Easter is the triumphant season of Christ the King! Easter is the triumphant season of Christ the King!

49 The Church Year The Problem of Feast of Christ the King If the Feast is intended as a celebration of Christ the King reigning over God’s resurrected people in the new creation to come, the New Jerusalem, then it messes up the dimension of Advent as the preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus and the reign of Christ the King over the new Creation. If the Feast is intended as a celebration of Christ the King reigning over God’s resurrected people in the new creation to come, the New Jerusalem, then it messes up the dimension of Advent as the preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus and the reign of Christ the King over the new Creation. It is confusing to celebrate Jesus reigning over God’s resurrected people in the New Creation one Sunday, and then start preparing for it the following week with the beginning of Advent. It is confusing to celebrate Jesus reigning over God’s resurrected people in the New Creation one Sunday, and then start preparing for it the following week with the beginning of Advent.


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