Sermon for Sunday 18th November 2018

Published on Tue, 20 Nov 2018 14:10
Rainbow Notes

Rainbow Notes of the Sermon for Sunday 18th November: Giles Goddard

This time last year I was in Borneo: today I was in Bako National Park. It was a journey to get there; I had to take a bus and then wait until the tide came in, and then a boat. The park centre is in the depths of the forest, by a long, wide beach. The next day I went for a 10 mile walk through the forest, accompanied by the hoots and whistles and screeches of birds and insects and tree frogs: and proboscis monkeys…

            It was quite a journey, and was also part of a bigger journey – a journey of discovery. Journeys have aims, don’t they: so, what was I aiming for during this time in Borneo. What was  my intention?

            I think – I know – I was trying to deepen my understanding of creation: becoming better at loving: and learn more about reliance on God. Learn how to be closer to God, whoever or whatever I mean by that word… It was challenging, at times, and beautiful, at times –

            Now, here we are a year later. Coming to the end of the liturgical year – next Sunday is Christ the King, the last Sunday of the year. We’ve been on a journey together, through Christmas, Lent, Easter, Pentecost – a year ago we introduced the Rule of Life – it’s been challenging, at times, and beautiful, at times.

            But I think I’ve made a mistake. Because when I introduced the Rule of Life, I didn’t ask: where is this journey of ours – of yours – leading? Where are we heading? Where are you heading?

            I spent Friday and yesterday in Salisbury, at the Muslim Institute’s Winter Gathering – a conference attended by 70 mainly Muslims of all ages. The theme of the Gathering was – futures – we had sessions on how the world is changing – on the advance of robots, on how human relationships are changing, and of course on climate change. It was in some ways a conference of hope, but in many others it was quite frightening: quite depressing. Are the end times coming? Is today’s Gospel about to be fulfilled?

            We are on a journey, together, in this challenging time. Where are we heading? Where are you heading? What is your deepest desire? Why do you come to church? Have a think, now, for a minute or so. I won’t ask you to tell me, don’t worry – but it would be good to know..

            Perhaps, like me, you’d like to deepen your understanding of creation. To become better at loving. Understanding more about reliance on God. Or perhaps you thought of that great passage at the end of Deuteronomy: I have set before you blessings and curses, life and death. Choose life!

            Hebrews 10:19 Therefore, my friends,* since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, 20by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

            All journeys have staging posts, milestones. We have some coming up – Daniel and Oskar’s baptisms, Philip, Shanon, Oisin and Cedric’s confirmation on Saturday at 4pm at Southwark Cathedral. The Quiet Day on December 1st. Christ the King next Sunday – Rainbow Sunday!

            We are on a journey together. I think that what we need is nothing less than a paradigm shift: we have to learn, very deeply, what it means to be dependent on one another, dependent on God. So, in these frightening times, let’s journey together.

            Hebrews 10 23Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, 25not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.


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