This Sunday is the last day of the church’s liturgical year. The liturgical year runs from the beginning of Advent (which starts next week) to Christ the King or Reign of Christ Sunday which is the week before Advent.
So, things change next week and this is our last week of exploring what it means to be living out the covenant that we’ve spent time with over the last couple of months. As last week, our reading comes from the prophets and is one of poetry and story. The lectionary that we follow – the Narrative Lectionary – has a very specific order for our readings today.
We begin in Isaiah chapter 36 with the Assyrian army threatening to destroy Jerusalem and then into chapter 37 when the prophet Isaiah is consulted about what to do. We then move back to nearly the beginning of the book of Isaiah to chapter 2 where we read the poetry that concludes with the well-known “they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more.” This poetry from chapter 2 gives us some glimpses as to what the world could be like if we just lived out the covenant God wants with us.
Imagine what it could look like today. There would not be the cloud of anxiety surrounding us around Russia and the Ukraine, or any other place that is being threatened or involved in war. The whole of this section from chapter 2 also gives us insight as to just what the reign of Christ, the reign of God could look like. This is the world we strive towards, and unfortunately it can feel very far away at times.
As we take time to baptise and welcome little Maxwell into our family here today – not that he hasn’t been welcomed already – we can also catch a glimpse of just what the reign of Christ could look like. The hope and promise of infant baptism remind us of the presence of Christ in the world and in our lives. Even when we take it for granted, God is at work in us, in our families, in our church and in the wider world. It is easy to forget God’s presence at times as we hear, see and experience all that goes on in the world. The propaganda that surrounds politics, the rumours that mean we can’t actually discern what is truthful and what is not all make it hard to hear and see the love of Christ in our midst.
What is the rumour we might get caught up in?
What is the rumour that the church needs to speak?
Well to begin with I wouldn’t call it a rumour I’d call it fact, and the fact is that we can be a light to those around us as we share the love of Christ with all. Not a rumour, but something to be shouted from the rooftops.