Tuesday, August 5

Sermon for the 8th Sunday after Pentecost


Now when Jesus heard this…

What did Jesus hear? That John the Baptist was murdered. Jesus’ cousin, the one who baptized him, quite probably Jesus’ mentor was dead. Someone close to Jesus was killed for teaching similar things to what Jesus taught. It probably didn’t take the knowledge of God for Jesus to predict his own death at this point. We also know Jesus was not above mourning. Given all this, who would not need to withdraw to a deserted place by themselves?
But the place he got to wasn’t deserted. He saw the great crowd, and found himself moved with compassion for them. We’re at a crucial point in this story now. A point where Jesus’ dual nature can keep us from seeing all that is happening here.

Undoubtedly, the love of God is in operation here. All love comes from God, ultimately. But before you conclude that it is only because Jesus was God that he could overcome his grief and love the crowd, be aware of this. There are times when God’s love for one of Her children will flow through you, love bigger and more powerful than your personal love. And maybe that’s what the human nature of Jesus experienced here; unexpected compassion, compassion that altered his plans.

Another possibility is that Jesus’ reflections on the future helped him to see a crowd that soon might not have any leaders left that can see what he sees. How long does he even have left to be with these people? Of course why Jesus was moved by compassion is all supposition, what we do know is that Jesus acted on that compassion.

The original Greek word translated as compassion literally translates as being moved in the inward parts. Some translations use the word pity rather than compassion. The word pity has bad connotations for us today; usually connotations of superiority and inferiority. Not to suggest that God isn’t superior to us, but the incarnation tells us God wants to be close to us, to be with us. Compassion means to “suffer with” there’s a sense of solidarity in the word that pity is lacking for us today. And compassion isn’t necessarily just an interior experience. Compassion is also a word used to name a spiritual discipline. When used in that case it implies moved into action. 
And so Jesus heals the sick in the crowd. He acts on the compassion he finds instead of the solitude he sought.

Now, I often put myself into the place of the disciples when I reflect on a Gospel story, and sometimes give them more of a break than the text implies. When the disciples say, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves." I like to think in part they are trying to get Jesus the solitude he originally sought. I might add the words, “You’ve done enough for them now, it’s time for you to get the rest you need.”
And on some level maybe Jesus partially agreed with my hypothetical words because after he tells them he’s not going to send the crowd away, he says “YOU give them something to eat."

To which the disciples respond by telling him about their own lack of resources for this situation. "We have nothing but…” Their glass is half empty; possibly their hearts too. Some of them may have known John as well and had their own processing to do.

And Jesus tells them to bring him what they do have. And Jesus looks up to heaven and blesses the resources available, whether his disciples think they are enough or not.

I want to call your attention to the looking up to heaven part. Really just to point out that even Jesus makes embodied gestures when he prays. And that is one way we can reorient ourselves to the task at hand when we think it’s beyond us. Because our bodies sometimes know what our conscious mind does not, and can redirect our minds appropriately.

The crowd in this story had no clue about the emotional resources that were spent for them, a crowd that big wouldn’t likely even know how limited the material resources were when the disciples began feeding them. Yet all were filled.

And the word all would include Jesus and the disciples. They too were filled by this. Now before we conclude with a clich├ęd use of the quote from acts, “It is better to give than receive,” I want to bring to mind what prompted these acts of generosity; compassion; God’s Love.

I do not believe that self-sacrifice is an end in and of itself. What we didn’t read tonight was the paragraph immediately following this story. Where he does dismiss the crowds and sends the disciples off and has his alone time. It’s necessary.

There will be times when you find yourself depleted and you lift what you have up to God and there is nothing moving within you. It’s important to honor that.

There will be other times, however, when despite your lack of resources, you will find yourself moved; perhaps because it’s important to you, perhaps because you feel the importance of the situation to God. That is the time to take your resources to God and ask for the strength to use those resources and act.

Don’t worry how little you think you’ll accomplish. More may happen than you expect.

Just this past week a taskforce I’m associated with accomplished something spectacular. Though many people don’t know about it or fully understand it. Basically, a subcommittee of lawyers were trying to get the Insurance Board of Illinois to spell out specifically what the Affordable Care Act meant when it said Insurance companies couldn’t discriminate against people based on gender identity. There was some resistance to the specifics we were asking for because that would be seen as “interpreting law” not enforcing it. Much to my surprise, most of what we wanted specified ended up in the final document.

And I announced this victory in a trans* activist group, so that those affected will know about it. I was met with disappointment that it didn’t go far enough. Honestly at first I was miffed, but then I realized they had no way of knowing what went on behind the scenes, of how hard people worked to get as far as we did, farther than we hoped. And the critics have a point. Yet some people will be “filled” by this. People who are suffering, who I personally have “suffered with,” will get some relief.

Our text tells us the crowd was filled, not that it was grateful. Acting from compassion isn’t about seeking reward; whether the reward is accomplishment or gratitude or self-satisfaction. Not that those things are bad, or if you experience them it cheapens your actions.

Nor is acting out of compassion about doing the right thing, being good or moral, it’s about letting love guide your actions. If love is guiding your actions, then you are up to the task.

Trust God and trust when God moves your inward parts.

Sunday, July 27

The Kingdom of God is Hidden: Sermon For the 17th Sunday Ordinary Time:


Have you understood?  The disciples are quite confident, in their understanding.  Yet, oddly the parables Jesus tells here are in part about the inability to fully comprehend and grasp the Kingdom of God.  By contrast, Solomon as he is about to take the throne of the Kingdom of Israel, sees he lacks understanding and is in need of God’s wisdom.  Solomon, doesn’t simply seek conventional wisdom but an understanding that comes from God.  The parables Jesus tells speak of the wisdom of the Kingdom of God as like those things we can’t see and may not predict.  The kingdom of God is this great risk this gamble to obtain what is hidden but invaluable.

Part of the argument for the baptism of infants and those who have yet to gain the ability to assent to the faith as outlined in the Creed and to the story of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, is that God’s wisdom and the kingdom of God our beyond everyone’s comprehension and ability to grasp. 

Our passage in Romans is a difficult passage to comprehend.  On one hand it almost seems to say that nothing bad will happen to believers, or that apparently bad things aren’t really bad in the grand scheme of things.  But if this is what Paul is saying then what of this encouragement that whatever befalls us it can’t mean that we are beyond the care and the protection of God, beyond God’s love.

There is a mystery here,  the Spirit intercedes along with Christ on our behalf yet this doesn’t prevent calamity, or health problems, or being mistreated etc.  Yet, we can be assured that it will all work together for good and God’s purposes. 

What is going on here is perspective. The perspective we are called to is to see from the hidden works of God in our midst.  We are to see God’s real at work in our world like the yeast,  like the hidden treasure, a treasure and store house that has both what is old and new at the same time.

Paul is speaking form the point of view of the crucified and risen Christ who is Jesus of Nazareth and the Son the Word of God.

What is being worked out is the slow and hidden transformation of the world, what is according  To God’s purposes and what is good for us is this unknown, incomprehensible work of God in the world.  God’s action in the world works like yeast and seeds and plants, and is like a treasure hidden whose value is unknown until one attains it and finds it is beyond price and value.  It is the hidden love of God, not our life circumstances from which we are to see the world.

It is different  wisdom than conventional wisdom, we must be schooled in this wisdom, and so schooled when we become masters and Ph.D’s, so to speak, in this hidden wisdom of God, we become like someone who has a treasury of what is both old and new.  We are to see things for their true value, not based on circumstance whether it is old or new. 

The world tells us that our circumstances are the most important thing, that our wealth, our prestige, our health tell us who we are.  Paul and Christ says that true value, even the true value of God’s work in the world, the Kingdom of heaven remains hidden, unbidden often unnoticed and unappreciated, yet it is what makes the world livable.  We are to see ourselves from this hidden perspective that isn't dictated by circumstance of false values.  So that we can say with confidence that we are Christ’s and held in the palm of God’s hand.  God works silently, under the surface free of the tyranny of circumstance and daily cares.


The point of all this is not to leave the world as it is, but to transform it like yeast transforms dough, like a seed planted that becomes a tree exponentially larger than it’s seed.  It’s not that what happens to us doesn’t matter, but that what can be found underneath the surface is so much more astounding and beyond imagination that there is no comparison, and God isn't thwarted by circumstance, the Resurrection of Christ shows that, the incarnation shows that.  God has you, God loves you, God is at work in you and the world, nothing not the worst calamity not the hugest success will change this reality.  We are called to rest and live in that matrix, the mystery of the unknown hidden beyond value workings of God in the world.  We are called to enter into this astounding risk, to risk it all to get what lies hidden beneath the surface.

Sunday, July 20

Our Next Worship Serice will be Sunday July 27th

On Sunday July 27th we will worship at the New Digs, the apartment of the Community of the Holy Trinity 5 pm.
The service of worship will be a Vespers with Eucharist, and there will be a baptism.

Sunday, July 6

Next Worship Service Sunday July 13

No worship today.
We have begun our new pattern of meeting every other Sunday.
We next meet Sunday July 13th.
Visit our Facebook Event page for details and location.
We are no longer worshiping at Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Sunday, June 29

Sermon for the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost


I know a lot of people who will stop listening to anyone the minute the word sin is used. And that is hardly the only word in this passage from Paul that will turn folks off. Let’s tackle these words though and try to get past the connotations that have been attached to them and see if we can hear some of the profound things Paul is saying to us today.

For many sin is seen as a list of forbidden behaviors. The trouble is, the same behavior can bring death or life. Let’s take an activity that isn’t usually on such a list; working hard for example. Workaholics use work to avoid their lives, to not deal with something they need to deal with, to escape responsibility for their life outside of work, killing any life they have and becoming mere drones in the workforce.  In contrast, people who may have struggled with depression or despair and could not find motivation in their lives, are suddenly given inspiration and they throw themselves into work, reviving them to life.

And far too often sin is talked about with no mention of grace at all. Notice that Paul is not doing that here. Without grace, the word sin becomes a weapon. It is used to control others behaviors, combined with threats of hell. It is used to shame people, to get them to feel horrid about themselves. It is used to remove all hope from people, to the point that even hearing the word drives them deep into self-loathing (or reactionary anger.) I know people who believe they are such sinners that they can’t approach God, can’t even enter a church. I know people who have been driven to atheism by a belief of their inevitable eternity in hell.

Note, though, how Paul uses the word shame in today’s passage; he speaks of the THINGS of which we now are ashamed. He does not say you should be ashamed of yourself. And honestly, unless you’ve been driven into such a deep victim mentality that you can’t see your part in anything, or unless you’re a sociopath, then there are things that you know in your heart that you’ve done wrong. And those are the things Paul is talking about – not the things others have told you you’ve done wrong. Do remember that time and time again Jesus tells us it’s our own sins we need to worry about, not the sins of others. It’s ultimately your own conscience you have to listen to. Or as Paul puts it elsewhere “the law God has written in your own heart.”

And isn’t listening to what others tell you you’ve done wrong and not what God has told your heart; isn’t that the reason why Paul confronted Peter? Peter, who we are told in Acts received a vision from the Lord telling him the right thing to do was to eat with gentiles, stopped listening to his own heart and started doing what the representatives from Jerusalem said he should do. For fear of them, Paul says in Galatians, but I’d suggest due to shame which did not come from Peter’s own conscience. I mean, Peter didn’t do humility very well, so often in the Gospels panicking, doubting or going straight into self-denigration. He seems particularly vulnerable to shame, even before the denial weighed so heavily on his heart. But when he is on fire with the spirit, connected to it, channeling what God wants to say through him, he can reach thousands of hearts!

Another of our challenging words today is righteousness. For many, righteousness has similar connotations to pious these days. One dictionary definition I’ve come across for pious is “making a hypocritical display of virtue.” I think this is due to thinking of righteousness as someone’s character rather than a process. One translation of today’s passage uses “being right with God” rather than the word righteousness. Being right with God is where authentic virtue comes from. Being virtuous doesn’t get you right with God. We can’t win God’s favor. We don’t earn God’s love.    

In the previous chapter of Romans, Paul tells us that “God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.” Paul is talking about that reality, that we don’t get the free gift of grace because we’ve been virtuous. The gift comes despite our sin. That’s where the question “well, can’t we still sin then?” comes from.

When Paul tells us the wages of sin is death, I believe he is pointing out to us that any punishment we receive is from the sin itself, our actions have consequences. And also from the trouble we find in our own conscience. The punishment is not from God, it is from the thing itself. From God we receive a free gift. The question is how do we respond to this gift?

Can people admit to being wrong? Yes. Can people aspire to being right with God? I’d hope so. But can people embrace being obedient slaves? Obedience and slave are by far the most difficult words in this passage. Even Paul is a bit uncomfortable with them. He gives us the caveat, “I am speaking in human terms here.”

Anyone who has had to deal with an out of control addiction, though, can tell you about slavery and bondage in spiritual terms. Slavery to sin is a phenomenon. And it is a death sentence.
“No one’s gonna tell me what I’ve got to do!” is, I think, a popular understanding of the USA’s concept of freedom. Obedience IS slavery in the minds of many. I also think tied to that is the idea that one only obeys when they are told to do something they don’t want to do. It is doing something against one’s will.

And haven’t we abolished slavery for good reason? Haven’t we established that this is a wrong and terrible thing? Hasn’t it become anathema? Wouldn’t even thinking of ourselves as slaves be degradation of the worst kind? 

In reading and re-reading this passage, I’m convinced Paul is NOT using obedience in a non-consensual sense here.  It’s a free choice made by people who want to do something. He’s speaking to adults who have been baptized as adults. The preparation of baptism is the form of teaching to which they were entrusted. “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” They have made a commitment to Christ that amounts (in human terms) to voluntary slavery, they have claimed (as Paul puts it in Galatians,) “it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.”

As I said in the beginning of tonight’s sermon, the same activity can bring death or life. There are people who identify as love addicts or co-dependents. In such cases, people find themselves loosing themselves in another person. They try to get from a fallible human what they can only get from God. Losing one’s self in one’s lover, giving them all your power is ultimately annihilation, a death of the soul. Loosing oneself in God becomes a source of self-discovery, one finds out who one really is. One comes to life, maybe for the very first time.

We must make this choice free of shame. We must do this returning love we have already been given. Not grasping for love we think we don’t already have. We must believe we are loved and loveable! That our faults can be the very thing God can use for the best. As Paul discovered when he begged God to have one of his own faults removed. God refused, telling him “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” And remember what Peter could do when he surrendered to the Holy Spirit!

In closing, let’s turn to our Gospel. “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” It’s one of those moments in the synoptic Gospels that Jesus is speaking as he does so often in John. It’s a reminder of what we are ultimately seeking. Not merely being right with God, but union with God! The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. The gift of tapping into the origin of life, and the sustaining life force itself!

Sunday, June 8

As the Spirit Chooses: Sermon for Pentecost

Acts 2:1-21 - Psalm 104:24-34, 35b - 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13 - John 7:37-39

Today we celebrate the birth of the Church, the day the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and disciples gathered in the upper room, with manifestations of sound, and fire, and various languages spoken.
It is a common practice, and in years past we have done this here at Reconciler, for the gospel or the acts passage to be read in different Languages.  This highlights one aspect of the meaning of Pentecost, that what God was doing in Jesus Christ was something for all, that in God becoming a Jew, God was coming near to all humanity, and God wished to meet us in our linguistic and cultural diversity.  Each heard the Good news of God’s wonderful works in their own language.  The universal aspect of this day. 

What I wish to focus on today is the meaning and nature of the Spirit being in us and empowering us, for the purpose of manifesting and witnessing to what God began and continues to do in Jesus Christ, that is to focus on how the Holy Spirit is needed for us to be the Body of Christ. 

The Spirit descends and gives utterance.  The Holy Spirit when it descended made possible what was otherwise possible that the disciples of Jesus spoke in languages they didn’t know so that people could hear from God in a way familiar to them.

The holy spirit came upon the firs disciples and birthed the Church through making possible something the disciples on their own couldn't have done.

There was a trend for a while in in some congregations and promoted by denominational leadership for members of congregations to undergo a Spiritual gift assessment.  These assessments where supposed to tell one what was the gift of the Spirit, or “spiritual gift” one had.  Those who promoted this appealed to this passage in Corinthians.  I think the intentions of these assessments were in the right place.  As Christians this aspect of the Christian life is often underdeveloped, the Holy Spirit and having an awareness of the power of the Spirit in one’s daily life or interaction with other Christians and in worship has been often lacking.
However, my recollection is that these assessments weren’t much different from a personality test.  That is what they evaluated wasn’t something Spiritual meaning of the holy Spirit, but matching up one’s personality with the various list of Gifts of the Holy Spirit listed in various places in Paul’s writing.

The idea was that one’s gift from the Spirit would fit with who you were, it wasn't something one needed to drum up, and it wouldn't contradict your own inner inclinations and abilities. 

Yet, this view doesn’t quite agree with what we find in the Acts account of the day of Pentecost, the point the being that filled with the Spirit and given the gift of speaking other languages was something Galilean Jews would have had no ability or inclination to begin speaking in all these (to them) foreign languages.  Also, in our Corinthian’s passage Paul’s emphasis isn’t on some heightening of the native abilities of the Christian, but Paul’s emphasis is on the will and action of the Holy Spirit.  The point is that what one is given one is base on the will and empowerment of the Holy Spirit and not on inclination or native ability.

The only indication of some consideration of the person is that the spirit gives to each individually. There is a specificity in the gifting but its relation or non-relation to native abilities isn’t in view, rather what we are lead to understand both in terms of Acts and Corinthians is that the gift we receive from the holy Spirit don’t come from us or our will or desire but from the will and desire of the Spirit. So, if one is wondering what gifting from the Holy Spirit is, you will be looking for that which comes beyond yourself.

But that isn’t all.  Paul is also using the idea of spiritual gifts to speak of unity and diversity of the Church the Body of Christ.  In this sense a Spiritual Gift is that which binds you to other members of the Body of Christ.  Spiritual giftedness is the means of the unity in diversity of the Church.  The gift you have from the Spirit is that which you serve and which binds you to other members of the body of Christ.  Your giftedness is part of your being brought into the body of Christ through Baptism.

This was the good thing about those assessments they  sought to get people to think of their connection and service to the Body of Christ, and its local manifestation in their local congregation.

Yet also, this giftedness is about giving witness to what God inaugurated in Jesus Christ.  Or to put it another way The spirit and the gifts from the Spirit empower us and bind us together as the body of Christ. This spiritual reality of the Body of Christ is also the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ. 

The gift s of the spirit allow us to function as the Body of Christ, a unity like all biological bodies that is also a diversity.  It is this Spiritual unity in diversity of the gifts that shows the world what the age to come will be like. 

What gift have you received from the Spirit? What do you find in the presence of other members of the Body of Christ, which binds you to them and also serves other members of the Body in a way that is both unique to you and gives life to you, other members of the Body and the world?


If you are sitting with this and fearful that maybe you’ve missed out or that you are spiritual enough. Don’t worry.  Rest in that you have the Holy Spirit. Ask God and the Spirit to reveal to you this gift that you have been given.  Wait on God, be still. You don’t drum it up, and be prepared for the unexpected.  This is from the Holy Spirit, the gift will be something that is both you and yet beyond yourself and which takes you beyond who you think you are.  Be open to whatever the Spirit will bring you, be open to the movement of the Spirit that is like the wind that you know through its effects in you but don’t know where it is coming from or where it is going. Wait upon God and see where in your desires and in your hear flows life that doesn’t come from you but gives you life and enlivens those around you.  The spirit has come, it rest upon each us, maybe not in visible flame, but the Spirit through Baptism has rested upon each of us, and the Spirit has given you a gift that isn’t for you alone for you but for the Body of Christ and so from each of us may flow a stream of living water for the life of the world. Amen

Wednesday, May 7

Third Sunday of Easter: Finding our way in the Liturgy

We are in the season of Easter; in celebration we enter this mystery:  Christ is risen from the Dead, and death has no more dominion over us.  How can this be?  What does this mean?  We like Cleopas and his companion may still have some questions, we’ve heard the witnesses, but the claims being made about Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus Christ, and the Resurrection don’t add up. We know death is still a reality; people we love are those among the dead to whom Christ is supposed to have brought life. Death, suffering, and injustice (the Cross) loom large, and we perhaps can’t quite escape the despair.  Distant and near there are instances of suffering, oppression, and injustice before which we remain powerless. 
The mystery is unfolded for us in the scriptures and Gospel stories we hear in the season of Easter. In Lent we heard stories that prepared us to receive again the way of the Cross.  In Easter we do the same as we view the mystery of our faith from the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus Christ. 
Last week we were encouraged in our faith. We were encouraged that even though we aren’t among those who saw Jesus Christ risen bodily from the dead, with the wounds still in his hands, feet, and side, we are still counted with those who first saw Jesus of Nazareth alive again. We are somehow closer to Jesus Christ, than those who saw him, more blessed. 
In the story of Cleopas and his companion on the way to Emmaus we get a glimpse of why we are blessed, and how we are like Thomas. Two disciples not numbered among the Twelve Apostles but among those who followed Jesus and the Twelve], are discouraged. They are leaving Jerusalem, they are despondent not sure yet what to make of Jesus death, and the events that we celebrated from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.  They are in grief and shock.  As is common among the stories of Jesus’ appearances after the resurrection, they don’t initially recognize him.  And when Jesus begins to ask them questions they think he must be the most clueless and unconnected person in Jerusalem.  How is it possible that this person could have been in Jerusalem and totally missed the commotion of the last week, the social media sites were a buzz about all these events in Jerusalem. 
Strangely Jesus doesn’t speak to the events by sharing shock and outrage over the mob mentality, nor puzzlement at the strange and empty tomb (that is he isn’t focused on the power of death, but speaks from Scriptures, the Torah and the Prophets.  This stranger begins to explain the spiritual and mystical meaning of these events from the religious texts.  The meaning of the events needs God’s revelation.  It is God’s revelation in the scriptures of the Torah and the Prophets that unfolds the meaning of the relationship between death, injustice, and the empty tomb. From God’s self-revelation we learn the meaning of Jesus of Nazareth and his suffering, death, and Resurrection.
Yet it isn’t simply in the Scriptures that we come to understand the mystery but in the hospitality of a shared meal. Jesus pretends to be journeying on but the two disciples insist he join them at supper.   Jesus of Nazareth joins them and as bread is blessed and broken to be given to them to eat by this stranger, this rabbi, tthey recognize him and in that moment Jesus departs from their sight.  Blessed are those who do not see but believe.  These two disciples return to the upper room where the Twelve Apostles and others are gathered to report that Jesus of Nazareth was revealed to them in the breaking of the bread, that is the Eucharist, holy communion, the Lords supper.  The mystery of faith is Christ in our midst as stranger, teacher, guest, and host. 
We enact each week this story of the way to Emmaus.  Each liturgy we celebrate is that journey. We walk it again and again.  We come from the world puzzled, with questions, overwhelmed by the power of death and injustice in our world, and God in Jesus Christ comes to us and walks with us, and says see here this is what underlies all this, this is the meaning of the incarnation, the suffering, the death, and the Resurrection.
Let’s begin again to contemplate this mystery hearing Peter’s sermon and Peter’s letter to those who have believed and been baptized, that is to us.
Peter’s sermon on Pentecost, can be misunderstood in many ways. Two of which I want to focus.  first misunderstanding is seeing the “repentance” Peter enjoins his hearers on that first Pentecost as being to repent from the actions that lead to Jesus’s crucifixion.  True they are cut to the heart by Peter’s revelation that the one crucified is Lord and Messiah.  However, what Peter’s sermon is seeking to elicit is a move from one reality to another.  The metanoia, the change of mind, that comes in repentance, is from identifying as those who subject to death inflict death, to those who identify with the one who underwent death for the sake of all. Repentance here is to go from a certain and clear identity, to a loss of identity, by being joined with Christ in baptism, to receive a gift, of the Holy Spirit and of life.  This giving up on identity saves from a corrupt or crooked generation.  But why?  Here is the second misunderstanding.  We can see this talk about a corrupt or crooked generation as a moralistic escape from what isn’t pure.  But that makes no sense for in becoming one with Christ we identify with the one who became accursed, who is by definition impure.  Purity, moralistic or ritualistic, has no place in this salvation.  In repentance and baptism we don’t become pure, we become inspired with life. To escape a corrupt generation is to escape a dead end, to be freed from a trap.  We remove ourselves from those following a meandering and crooked path, which has no destination.  Through repentance and Baptism we no longer meander to our deaths.
This understanding of being saved from a crooked generation fits with the words we hear in 1 Peter when it says that we have been ransomed from the futile ways of our ancestors.  The paths of humanity without Christ, lead us nowhere. Merely human reasoning and tradition aren’t so much immoral as without ultimate purpose.  That is they are incapable of lead to us into true life.
But we are perhaps left with an unsettling question; does Christianity lead us away from death? Have not Christians been dying from the time of Christ’s ascension and  the day Pentecost until now?  Think of St Stephen the first martyr.
Here we need to hear again the words of Jesus of the necessity of the suffering and death of the Messiah and , of Peter’s insistence on our identification in Baptism with that death, with this one who died.  By death Christ beat down death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life. If in this age we still see death, it is because the present generation and age of the cosmos is a futile, pointless, dead end.  Yet living in the tomb of this age when we pass through death with Christ, we are in the age that is to come, we are in the eighth day we have passed through death.
Like Christ we too still die, yet not in futility.  We no longer meander to death, but know the truth about death, that deaths dominion has no hold on life, because life entered death and brought life to us who are in the jaws of death.  Thus for us to die is to live.  This is the mystery of the way of the cross, not that this age and generation dominated by death will become the age to come, but that in the midst of a death dealing age and generation in Christ we have life and are saved from the futility of our death. We are no longer of this meandering generation, but are Christ, the first born of a new creation, the first fruits of that age to come. 
This is what we taste; this is what we have in this liturgy and in the breaking of the bread. Here we have life and banquette. Here we have God in our midst, life itself sustaining us in this age that is passing away.  Amen.