Year A: Easter 4 - Acts 2.42-end; 1 Peter 2.19-end; John 10.1-10
May I speak in the name of the living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Today is known as ‘Good Shepherd’ Sunday, when the Gospel reading offers us one of the images of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. In particular, it contains the memorable saying that he came so that his flock ‘may have life, and have it abundantly’.
Fr Philip suggested to me that, as this is also the Sunday on which our Annual Parochial Church Meeting takes place and I have now been here for nearly a year, it would be a good point for me to reflect on and share some perceptions about the particular ‘charism’ of St Matthew’s.
Alleluiah! Christ is risen. He is risen indeed, alleluiah!
How long we have been waiting to say those words. We have literally been in quarantine
for the last six weeks. That after all is what forty days and forty night are - quarantine!.
For this period of time Alleluiah has been struck from our vocabulary. In the Middle
Ages the Sarum Use liturgy instructed that a chorister should be whipped out of the
cathedral on Ash Wednesday to symbolise the Alleluiah being whipped out of the
liturgy. There were times when I was Precentor of Salisbury when I thought seriously
about reintroducing that ancient tradition.
This is where life begins;
this is where the church begins;
this is where you and I and the world around us begins again.
Here in the darkness (you must close your eyes and imagine the
darkness!) - in the darkness, the emptiness and the silence -
before any candle was lit we gathered together. We had nothing, -
all our success, our status, our prestige, our respect and position
in the community, have been stripped away. Like the Lord we saw
crucified yesterday we stand naked. Ecce Homo : Behold the Man
said Pontius Pilate, as he presented the Christ to the multitude.
Homo in Latin but Adam in Hebrew - Behold Man. Here we
behold ourselves - humankind - stripped of our pretension -
revealed as we truly are.
‘Men of Galilee, why are you standing around looking at the sky?’
Acts 1. 6-14
Laudabo Nomen Domini
It had certainly been a strange couple of months…actually, it had been a strange couple of years, but it had been just a few weeks since Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion, and burial, followed by the disciples’ flight to their upper room hideout and then the women’s unbelievable message: ‘He is alive. He is risen. We have seen him.’ And soon the men saw him too…
Ezekiel 36:24-28; Acts 1:6-14; St John 17:1-11
Laudabo Nomen Domini
“Men of Galilee, why are you standing around looking at the sky?”
It had certainly been a strange couple of months…actually, it had been a strange couple of years, but it had been just a few weeks since Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion, and burial, followed by the disciples’ flight to their upper room hideout and then the women’s unbelievable message: “He is alive. He is risen. We have seen him.” And soon the men saw him too…
Acts 7:55-60; 1 Peter 2:2-10; St John 14:1-14
Laudabo Nomen Domini
“If you have tasted that the Lord is good ….. Come to him, a living stone ….. and like living stones let yourselves be built into a spiritual house”.
In the name of the living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
In the world of politics, at election meetings and annual general meetings, someone is usually given a rather difficult job to do. He is called the warm-up man. It’s a role that I thought I had, with relief, left far behind me in my distant past. And that was so until Father Philip invited me to preach this Sunday, adding in his gentle, subtle way the rider: “I do hope you might be able to link your sermon to the church AGM which is taking place immediately after this service”.
Jeremiah 31: 1-6, Acts 10: 34-43, John 20: 1-18
I have a friend from early school days whom I still see from time to time. She is a devout and practicing Jew – and matters related to Jewish and Christian faith often come into conversations.
I remember one such conversation several years ago – and at one point she said to me: “But surely, Louis, you do not believe in a resuscitated corpse.” I immediately replied, “No of course not…. But neither does the Christian faith. My friend replied: “Well that is the way at least some Christians speak of the Resurrection”.