Summary: Reacceptance of a fallen and forgiven Christian into the faith is not an option.
Sermon – “Here Is Your Brother”
Scripture: Luke 7:36-50
‘Tis the season for parties. They might be parties which people look forward to all year, or they might be parties that we dread. It might be a large work-related party where the political thing to do is show up, or it might be a large family gathering. Whatever type of party it is, it seems that the larger the party, the more chance there is that there will be someone attending the party which I call an “Irregular Person.” The Christmas season seems to bring “Irregular People” out of the woodwork! When I talk about “Irregular People” I’m saying nothing about their gastro-intestinal tract. That would be too easy! When I’m talking about “Irregular People,” I’m talking about someone who cannot be avoided; someone who will be at everything you go to; and someone who always makes life miserable for you when you are at the same function together! This person might be a close work associate that grates on your nerves; or he or she might be a close relative: a parent, an in-law, a brother, sister, or cousin. It doesn’t matter who this person is. It’s just enough to say that this person will be there and you or I would rather not have anything to do with them. That’s because they’re “irregular!”
“Irregular People” are everywhere spreading their own particular irregularity wherever they go. It’s tough to deal with because it seems that each of us has a touch of irregularity within us as well!
As we have been going through C.S. Lewis’ enchanted land of talking animals and of Aslan, the Lion and Son of the Emperor across the eastern sea, we’ve seen that Narnia had been in the grasp of the White Witch and she made it to be a place of “always winter and never Christmas.” We also saw that she wasn’t pleased to learn that four children (two sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve) had come into the land which she held in her frozen grasp. She knew the ancient prophecy which foretold that when four human children came into Narnia her icy clutches would be loosened and Aslan would be on the move and would appear to take her place. Then we saw that in order to insure that didn’t happen, she enticed Edmund, the youngest of the brothers, with Turkish Delight, a confection that sweetened his tooth and tightened her grasp on him. He was about to give over his three siblings to her with the empty promise of never-ending supply of Turkish Delight and the promise of a throne.
When Edmund finally came to his senses and he returned to the protection of Aslan the others weren’t accepting. He had turned traitor and was even willing to give up the other three for his own selfish ambitions!
It’s hard to know what to do with someone like that. The Ancient Church had problems with Christians who had denounced their faith and offered the pinch of incense on the Emperor’s altar to save their skins from execution. When the age of persecution was over and the Emperor himself became a follower of Christ, those who had given in to the tyranny of persecution wanted to return to the fold. The church was left with the problem of what to do with them. Should they be readmitted into the faith without consequence while other fought and sailed bloody seas and when they had so easily turned on their fellow brothers and sisters in the faith? We shouldn’t be too quick to judge them when we have no idea how we might respond in just such a situation. We have never been forced to make a decision between our belief in Christ and our own lives. That’s the tyranny of persecution and why the devil has not given up using that tactic and why it works so well! True persecution is not whether or not a store employee will wish us a “Merry Christmas” instead of saying “Happy holidays.” That’s nothing more than a minor inconvenience. True persecution comes when unbelievers force you to choose between your faith or your family; your faith or your job; your faith or your very life!
In Lewis’ story Edmund had to face that very question: would he give up his siblings into the hands of the White Witch or face terrible consequences? But when he chose the path of righteousness and it came time for him to meet Aslan, Lewis quotes the great Lion as saying to the other three siblings: “Here is your brother and – there is no need to talk to him about what is past.” Because he was repentant Aslan was reintroducing Edmund to his brother and two sisters but in their meeting him they saw him as nothing more than an “Irregular Person;” a traitor, and someone who wasn’t trustworthy.