Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sermon for Trinity Sunday

And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

I remember in the earliest days of my conversion,
everything all floaty and light,
when the promise of God’s life bought purpose, understanding, and clarity to everything.


I remember even after that initial excitement realising “All this AND eternal life!”

It was a joyous discovery, to know that God had somehow found me in all my mess and uselessness. And further to that, I was going to be able to be with him forever.

In this time, I was devouring the scriptures.
I read John several times, I slowly read through Luke, and Mark was like a flash and a rush.

And then there was Matthew.
Somewhere along the line, I had picked up a prejudice against Matthew’s gospel.
It was the church’s gospel.
It struck me as the most boring and ordinary.
I avoided it.

When I did eventually read Matthew, all my prejudices were confirmed.
It did seem dull compared with Luke or John.
Until the last line.
Yes, there were bits that were awesome, but the last line.

And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world

There, all the promise I had felt was spoken by Jesus to all who ever have believed in him,
who ever guided by the Holy Spirit have been able to proclaim Jesus is Lord!

I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

I knew then I would never be alone.

The words were true.
I could hear Jesus speak them to the disciples. .
I could hear him speak them to me.
The words bypass our brain and go directly to our spirit, they enliven us with hope and life.
They are the truth.

And they are quite a promise.

I am with you always, to the end of the age.

No one else can say this and it be truth.

I love my wife, but the best I can say to her is I will be with most of the time,
but there will be times when I am not around.
Like when I am at the shop and you are at home.
Like when I am at church and you are the market.

And as Jesus says to the Sadducees in Matthew 22:
For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
And I can’t say I will be with you to the end of the age.
I can say I will be with you until I die, or I’ll be with until you die,
but other than that I can’t say anything.

So I can’t say this. I might want to, I might think it, but I can’t say it and it be true.
Only Jesus can say this:
I am with you always, to the end of the age.
He is the only person who ever has or will exist that can say this.
He said it to the disciples before he ascended, and those words are spoken to us.

Think of what that means.

It is the promise that God will always be with us.
And not just us here today.
He will be here with those who come after us.

It is to all those who will ever follow him.

There is great comfort in this.

We should all feel reassured and safe by this promise.

And in feeling such a way, we need not worry.

We need not fret over the future of the church.
Jesus tells us he will be with us to the end of the age.
The church will continue.

Again, we need not be afraid.

We need to take Jesus at his word.

We have the people and the gifts we need for the work of this parish.
What that work is, and how our parish will look is not for us to worry about.

It is up to us to release ourselves from what was, and enter into what will be.
This means letting go.

It means entering into a period of time where we don’t know what is going to happen,
when we aren’t in control of what is going to happen,
Where we can’t guarantee we will even agree with what is going to happen.

But knowing that Jesus will be with us.
Knowing he will continue to be here with those who come after us.
Knowing the Holy Spirit will be inspiring those for God’s glory.

And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

After the prayers, there will be a time for the laying on of hands and anointing with oil. Everyone is welcome to come forward to receive healing.
If you would rather not, that is fine too.
I ask that while this happens,
we all pray for the healing of our parish, our relationships, our bodies and our minds.

Know that you can be healed, and that Jesus is with us, now and forever.

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