The Luminous Space Podcast is a work of Luminous Anglican. Learning to be still, live fully, & reflect the Great Light of the world. Hosted by Fr. Chad E. Jarnagin. We gather in Downtown Franklin (408 Church St.) at 4PM each Sunday.
The Luminous Space Podcast | Everything Else
The Rev. Chad E. Jarnagin
Everything Else (is God’s)
The gospel reading today says ‘Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s’... but perhaps the hinge of this passage is understated... “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Maybe Jesus is saying, everything else is God’s? This is a portion of what we mean when we say God in all things... and all things in God.
The term Jesus is Lord, was and is a political statement. In the context of Matthew, it was meant to say, Caesar wasn’t their Lord, but governor... Christians during this time were violently persecuted. They didn’t simply have inconveniences as a people... they had to navigate true persecution.
Eventually, when the leaders of the Jews shouted ‘We have no King but Caesar!’, they reveal a radical division in their own minds between the hopes they place in God and their recourse to political power. In response, Caesar (in the person of Pilate) orders a sign to be put above the dying Jesus. It reads ‘King of the Jews’. The imperial power of Caesar ruled the ancient world. It counts for nothing now. At the time of his execution Jesus was virtually unknown. Yet the Resurrection revealed him to be the Incarnation of God. As the real Christ, long awaited by Israel, he counts for everything now.
Against this background, the instruction, ‘Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s’ warns us about getting our priorities wrong... or misplaced. Even sincere Christians with the best of intentions, it seems, can be drawn to its false allure... and it is fleeting...
1 The Lord is king; let the peoples tremble!
He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake! 2 The Lord is great in Zion;
he is exalted over all the peoples.
3 Let them praise your great and awesome name.
Holy is he!
Be reminded where our hope is: Do not misplace hope, influence, and power.
5 Extol the Lord our God; worship at his footstool. Holy is he!
Be reminded that you are a citizen of the Kingdom of God first and foremost.
7 He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud; they kept his decrees,
and the statutes that he gave them.
8 O Lord our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
9 Extol the Lord our God,
and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy.
Anything less than the Creator is simply less... smaller. God grant us the perspective of all things you have created, and we among them. We are yours and you are holy. AMEN.
Luminous Space Podcast | Feast Of Peace
Feast of Peace | The Rev. Chad E. Jarnagin
22 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants[a] to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them.
7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants,
‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”
We all follow patterns. Patterns for getting up & going to bed. Traffic patterns... flight patterns... Social patterns... receiving an invitation and then going to an event. Even the Church follows patterns. We are a community of fasting and feasting. In the gospels, we see the patterns of provision for our souls.
In parables, Jesus means them to create awareness of a bigger picture so that everyone can understand...
Here, this King had a banquet thrown for his son, when he invited the first group of people, they were probably highly esteemed, popular within this community... but they declined the invitation. Then when the King asked for his troops to go invite anyone to the banquet, many turned up. They had a unique chance to go to a feast, a celebration party. Perhaps by fear... or maybe for the invitation itself.
They knew who it was for and they dressed up. Basically, they understood what needed to happen in order to go to this wedding banquet; except for this one guy. We don’t know his story but we know he accepted the invitation. He knew he would be fed and would probably have a great time... but was unprepared.
This parable seems to be revealing the first group of people to be indifferent or apathetic to the invitation... or maybe they didn’t respect the king and family? Regardless, apathy leaves us on the outside of opportunity... and indifference can leave us lifeless when beauty and adventure are to be experienced.
God loves us for who we are, wherever we are. However unprepared we are. When we live devoted lives where God’s goodness is reflected, that is not simply consuming the things of God... A sacramental way of life. God in all things and all things in God.
Just as we can have a peace that passes all understanding, God wants us to share 'joys that pass our understanding'. This is good / great news.
Indifference, willfulness, and carelessness have a unique power on us to misplace our joy... our peace. May we be mindful and aware of the opportunities around us to engage in the otherness of life. Maybe saying yes to a simple feast leads to something bigger... or an awareness that life is a feast itself.
My parting thought: Prayer as resistance. Pray and release apathy and indifference... open to patterns of joy and opportunity. Perhaps pray for a heightened awareness of good news around
The Luminous Space Podcast | Belief > Judgment
Belief > Judgment | The Rev. Chad E. Jarnagin
Matthew 21:23-32 (NRSV)
23 When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24 Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
28 “What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. 30 The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.
Pharisaism isn’t a term we use very often, but it is a thing. It means to make a value judgment on someone else based on one’s own assumed “secure” position.
We are constantly doing this today. We signal our virtues and values... we judge one another doing the signaling... and in doing so signal our own... it is just exhausting.
Here in this text of Matthew, Jesus is being judged again by religious leaders - This time on who’s authority he speaks, who’s authority is he doing these miracles... he’s making the religious leaders incredibly uneasy... and in return, beginning to make the empire uneasy. He is speaking implications of revolution... which could prompt a revolt against the leadership.
Jesus eventually gets to the point of saying: “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.
Jesus isn’t judging their value... he is however, stating that the belief of these prostitutes and tax collectors was enough to include them into his Kingdom... ahead of these religious leaders of the day.
The hinge here is belief. Judgement and belief. Two different ways of living.
To have bold position on the Way of Jesus is to have humility... and in that humility, have belief and awareness that our value is solely in Christ alone.
The Luminous Space Podcast | Who Do You Say I Am?
The Rev. Chad E. Jarnagin | Who Do You Say I Am?
Matthew 16:13-20 (NRSV)
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
This portion of the Gospel was Matthew was written shortly after a failed Jewish revolt against Rome, in the wake of the destruction of the Temple and devastation of Jerusalem. This is the context in which the meaning of Jesus as Messiah was being worked out.
These people weren’t all that different from us today. We’re in an identity crisis… trying desperately to figure out who to believe , how to believe. Like many from this text, we’re looking in the wrong places, looking to the wrong people for our identity.
Jesus asks “who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Jesus eventually asks, “who do you say I am?” He’s saying, yeah… I’ve heard who everyone else says… what do you believe?
A few weeks back in the lectionary, when the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, and Peter said, “if it is you, Lord, call to me… and Jesus said, ‘come’… after sinking, Jesus helps him back in the boat and Peter says “surely you are the Son of God”. Peter confesses “You are the Christ”. It is in our process & experience, where we sometimes have less & less faith only to find more and more faith.
When we confess “You are the Christ!”, putting life back to order - asking for true shalom (everything in its place flourishing as God intends). Regardless of who the world tries to say that Jesus (or God) is, by confessing each week, we are confessing like Peter, “You are the Son of God”… our communion raises our awareness of who Christ is. The less familiar we are, the more distorted our view of Jesus. No wonder why most culture doesn’t know who Jesus is… We must remember that Christianity is not American. Our identity is in who we believe Jesus to be… and embody that Way.
The subversiveness of the Kingdom, again with “20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.” In the tension of the day, Christ didn’t want this heat, yet. It wasn’t time… Today, who do we say he is? Whatever that is for us, it isn’t a hijacked narrative. When all seems lost, hidden, confused, or chaotic… Maybe we start with “God with us.” Abiding in this will lead us to our answer of “who we say he is”.
Breaking Of The Bread
Breaking of Bread | Fr. Chad E. Jarnagin
Luke 24:13-35 (ESV)
On the Road to Emmaus
13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
They do not recognize Jesus straight away… but it wasn’t b/c he was wearing a mask or cloak… they walk with him along the road for quite some time, assuming he is just another traveler. Their moment of recognition only comes when they suddenly see the way he breaks the bread for their meal.
We may be like the disciples on the road to Emmaus who don't recognize Jesus... until he breaks the bread at the meal.
Did our hearts not burn when he was speaking with us? But, then KNEW when he broke the bread - then, they could see him. At the Eucharist, this celebration of Thanksgiving… this embodiment of communion is no accident or a simple religious act of historical relevance… it’s because he is known in the breaking of the bread.
The Road to Emmaus alerts us to the possibility that the presence of Christ in the world can also be experienced in ordinary life… even in isolation - suddenly, and surprisingly, as He is revealed to us and events of the everyday - a meal. Often this will be in unexpected places, or even, as Mother Theresa memorably said, in ‘his most distressing disguise’.
35 Then they told what had happened on the road,
Peace Be With You
Peace Be With You | Rev. Chad E. Jarnagin
John 20:19-31 (NRSV)
Jesus Appears to the Disciples
19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
Jesus and Thomas
24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
The Purpose of This Book
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
Easter Sunday was last Sunday, but Easter isn’t over, it has just begun. Eastertide or the Great 50 Days of Easter goes until Pentecost. We’ll follow the gospels during this time together. It is always interesting to walk through this time looking at the disciples and how they responded to the resurrection of Jesus. For obvious reasons, it was unlike anything any of them had ever experienced
Trauma changes us… for worse at first… but over time, as we begin to heal and reframe, restore, and reshape our new realities, we will realize that the trauma that was once painful and horrifying… slowly begins to reveal something new, something good, beautiful, and healthy. Along the process is disbelief… hurt, doubt… maybe dread… anxiety. But eventually, our root system begins to work again… life begins to flow and even flourish once more.
What are Jesus’ first words to them, as usual? “Peace be with you”… as if to say, guys, settle down, this is really happening… don’t run, don’t freak out… it is me… again, “peace be with you”…
It’s interesting to think of our human condition in the light of this passage… in the light of our own realities. We can’t just push through our trauma… we have to patiently and intentionally navigate it. To begin to heal, we must receive the peace being offered to us… as Christ offered his friends when he magically appeared to them for the first time after his burial.
“The resurrection is not an alien power breaking into God’s world,” but that it reveals a deeper reality that has always been there, a spiritual reality. We do not see it because we are totally consumed by seeing with our nearsighted eyes and the eye of the mind… instead of with a spirit-sightedness. We need to open up in ourselves and in one another the eye of the soul. “We fix our eyes not on what is seen,” writes St. Paul, “but on what is unseen.” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
NT Wright said something like, “the message of Easter is
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Fr. Chad Jarnigan is a giver of good gifts in these episodes. I’ve found myself strengthened by his words many times, but even more so by the artful soul behind them. I highly recommend this podcast.
Thoughtful and Restful
I’m enjoying these thoughtful meditation-like homilies. They help to set a pace of narrative that moves through a study of Scripture, commentary, and reflection.