Difference between revisions of "Sermon for October 17th, 2021"

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But first, some historical context.
 
But first, some historical context.
  
In the year 1534, King Henry the 8th of England broke away from the medieval Catholic church, though primarily for political and not religious reasons.  Upon Henry's death, his son Edward became king at the age of nine.  Unlike his father, Edward was a true believer in reformed teachings, and endeavored to make England a truly protestant nation.  But in 1553, at the age of 15, Edward became gravely ill, and his death was widely anticipated.  The next in line to the throne was his older sister, Mary, a devout Catholic.  Fearing that all his efforts at reform would be lost, Edward  drew up a plan which removed Mary from the line of succession and designated his protestant cousin, Jane Grey,  as the heir to his throne.   
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In the year 1534, King Henry VIII of England broke away from the medieval Catholic church, though primarily for political and not religious reasons.  Upon Henry's death, his son Edward became king at the age of nine.  Unlike his father, Edward was a true believer in reformed teachings, and endeavored to make England a truly protestant nation.  But in 1553, at the age of 15, Edward became gravely ill, and his death was widely anticipated.  The next in line to the throne was his older sister, Mary, a devout Catholic.  Fearing that all his efforts at reform would be lost, Edward  drew up a plan which removed Mary from the line of succession and designated his protestant cousin, Jane Grey,  as the heir to his throne.   
  
Who was Jane Grey?
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Who then, was Jane Grey? I'm so glad you asked.  Jane was the great granddaughter of King Henry VII, and the daughter of the Duke of Suffolk--a supporter and close advisor to Henry VIII.  Her father was a devout protestant, and so Jane was raised in the protestant faith, and at a young age, she corresponded with Heinrich Bullinger, the Swiss reformer and successor to Ulrich Zwingli, whom we talked about last Sunday.  Unusual for her time, Jane was given a first rate humanist education, and was fluent in Latin, Greek, Italian, and Hebrew.  She eagerly devoured the works of Plato, as well as the teachings of Martin Luther and other protestant reformers.

Revision as of 15:29, 16 October 2021

Matthew 10:16-22 & 32-39

16 “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. 19 When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22 and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

32 “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. 34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.

37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

Lady Jane Grey: The Nine Day Queen

If I were putting together a list of the most difficult, uncomfortable, least-often-preached upon parts of the Bible, today's scripture passage would come out somewhere near the top of that list. I think that's because we really like meek and mild Jesus; peaceful, loving Jesus who healed people, did miracles, and spoke kind words to outcasts. And we don't quite know what to do with doom-and-gloom Jesus; Jesus who says you're going to be betrayed, flogged, hated, and killed, most likely by your own family; Jesus who says I didn't come to bring peace, I came to bring a sword, or in other words, division, strife, and death.

But believe it or not, these words have actually provided great comfort and encouragement to countless generations of Christians in the past. To the early Christians who first read these words not long after Matthew wrote them, the division and strife was already a reality. Rejection, persecution and execution for being identified as a Christian were very real in the Roman Empire of the first and second centuries.

And so to hear Jesus say that when your family has betrayed you on account of me, when your country has arrested you on account of me, when you lose your life on account of me--know that this is expected, and know that I will still claim you, I will still stand up for you before God, I will give you new life even after death--these words were a great reassurance. And they are probably hard for most us to identify with today.

But 15 centuries after the time of Christ, for those who first identified as Protestants and Presbyterians, these words suddenly became very meaningful once more.

For the past few weeks, we've been examining the lives and witness of our ancestors in the faith. We began with the most well-known reformer of all, Martin Luther, but are now considering some lesser known, less recognized heroes of the Reformation. And today, we're going to talk about the very first Protestant Queen: Lady Jane Grey, who was the queen of England for just nine days. She is not often listed among the ranks of the reformers, but she ought to be. Her life, her brief reign, and her tragic death paved the way for the eventual embrace and spread of the protestant faith in England, and subsequently, in the United States of America.

But first, some historical context.

In the year 1534, King Henry VIII of England broke away from the medieval Catholic church, though primarily for political and not religious reasons. Upon Henry's death, his son Edward became king at the age of nine. Unlike his father, Edward was a true believer in reformed teachings, and endeavored to make England a truly protestant nation. But in 1553, at the age of 15, Edward became gravely ill, and his death was widely anticipated. The next in line to the throne was his older sister, Mary, a devout Catholic. Fearing that all his efforts at reform would be lost, Edward drew up a plan which removed Mary from the line of succession and designated his protestant cousin, Jane Grey, as the heir to his throne.

Who then, was Jane Grey? I'm so glad you asked. Jane was the great granddaughter of King Henry VII, and the daughter of the Duke of Suffolk--a supporter and close advisor to Henry VIII. Her father was a devout protestant, and so Jane was raised in the protestant faith, and at a young age, she corresponded with Heinrich Bullinger, the Swiss reformer and successor to Ulrich Zwingli, whom we talked about last Sunday. Unusual for her time, Jane was given a first rate humanist education, and was fluent in Latin, Greek, Italian, and Hebrew. She eagerly devoured the works of Plato, as well as the teachings of Martin Luther and other protestant reformers.