Exodus 17. 1-7
A reading from A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life – William Law (1686-1761)
William Law was born in Kings Cliff in 1686 educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge and after ordination as Deacon, he became a Fellow of the College in 1711. When George I came to the throne in 1714, William declined to take the Oath of Allegiance – being a member of the non-Juror party who believed that the anointed but deposed, James II and his heirs should occupy the throne. He lost his Fellowship but was made a priest in 1728 and published several influential books. He returned to his home town of King’s Cliffe, Northamptonshire in 1740 where he led a life of devotion, simplicity and caring for the poor.
In the non-biblical reading from his book ‘A Serious Call to a devout and Holy Life’, William refers to ‘the Common Good’. This is a phrase we more readily associate with Catholic Social Teaching rather than with Protestant England in the 18th century.
But I think it is represented in both the Catholic and Protestant traditions because the Common Good is central to what it means to commit ourselves to one another – the theme of this sermon and next Wednesday’s Lent Group.
Overview: “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it.” (Ps 24:1) How to Save the World - in 12 minutes…
Is our Commitment to the World simply a matter of recycling bottles, saving the rain forests and bathing with a friend? Of international agitation with Amnesty, Oxfam or Save the Children? Is it nearer to home with Barnardos, Food Banks or Payday Lending? All are laudable.
From Genesis’s “Fill the earth and subdue it” to Revelation’s consumption of the earth in a ball of fire, Christians are called into a specific stewardship of God’s creation.
First Reading | Genesis 2.15-17, 3.1-7 The Holy Gospel | St Matthew 4. 1-11
Look at our Bible readings today: the story of the fall and Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. How do we know about either? There were no observers of either event; can you imagine Adam and Eve telling Cain and Abel the story of their downfall? Or Jesus confiding in the disciples what happened to him out there in the wilderness? So what do we have? A just so story which explains why we live in a less that perfect world, and a story which, while it may very well contain an element of truth presents us with the unedifying spectacle of Jesus and Satan quoting scripture at each other.
Presented with such unpromising material can we do other than question our commitment to scripture?
Only last week, Andy, Robin’s son, found the following message addressed to me on Robin’s computer, on his idea of what I can say to begin my reflection at this service. It was headed:
“Robin has asked me to make his farewells to you.”
We were for a brief period of time, colleagues at the Priory School, Lewes, where he – following his years of overseas service – started off as the most junior member of staff, but, within a year, he had become Deputy Head of Upper School where he was responsible for the discipline of the 5th and 6th forms of what was then a giant mixed comprehensive co-educational school, and, in addition to teaching ‘O’ and ‘A’ Level subjects an devising acceptable and informative assemblies, had direct responsibility for the welfare of several hundred boys.
All this he loved – but it was not really ‘him’.
Good morning, everyone!
Thank you, Andrew, Alison and Mary for inviting me to say a few words about the late Robin Crawford.
I have known Robin since 1963, the year I entered Secondary School. He was the Headmaster of the school, Navrongo School, having taken over shortly after it was inaugurated in 1960.