Walking in Hope

Text: Ephesians 4:17-5:2
Draft of Sermon

From Pentecost (50 days after Easter) until the first Sunday of Advent (4 Sundays before Christmas) the church is in what used to be call ordinary time. Others labeled it the time of the church. I offhandedly call it the green season. That is because the color that is on the altar for the entire season is green. By Advent you are ready for the blues or purples and then the whites and reds of the festival season. The thought that ties them all together is that now is the time of grace. The tree is green now.

One of the features of the lectionary (the assigned readings (and introits, prayers and psalms)) during the green season is a straight reading of some of the epistle lessons. This year one of those letters we read is Ephesians. This sermon is the fifth in the series (started July 15th). If I was to put a subtitle on the Letter to the Ephesians is would be Walking in Hope. Much of the earlier letter and sermons hung on the Hope portion. The lesson this week turns to walk the walking look like.

And Paul treats the walking in two ways: 1) what a false walk looks like (Paul would say, “walking how the gentiles do”) and 2) what walking in the Spirit looks like. Paul is very clear and this should be a great help to Christians today when so many are saying walk in many different directions. Anytime you are talking about what a Christian walk looks like it runs the risk of being turned into a law. But it is exactly the sickness of the time that calls for the explicitness. In any explication of how we should live there is an element of the law. If we are honest examining ourselves, we know when we don’t measure up. Even Christians need that to drive us toward and remind us of our hope – the gospel of Jesus Christ. The walk breaks us. And when the walk breaks us, when we die to the that walk on our own, is when Jesus is able to replace the heavy yoke and give us his light one.