Sunday, 17 March 2013
My Auntie Freda, (Godmother) is an avid reader of this blog, so my mum and dad tell me. When I was on the phone the other day I was told that it appeared my sermons had not been posted for a while. Well this does seem to be the case so I will try make ammends. Perhaps appropriately here is today's sermon... it all about busy ness...!!!!
Lent 5 Lerwick 2013 Yr C
Today it all becomes a little more personal. God is declaring in the Old Testament reading that he is about to do something new, he tells us that we should not remember the former things for something new (and by definition new) is going to begin.
I wonder what it is like to held secure and then to be let free. I wonder what it must feel like to be held in prison and then to be released?
It is perhaps no wonder that prisoners find this moment quite daunting and scary. How will we manage, will we make a mess of it over again as we slip back so effortlessly into the old ways, the ways we know.
Today Passiontide begins, we begin to face the cross face to face and realise our own part in it. Our own part in the suffering, not just of Christ, but even of ourselves.
Is God about to do something new, can he make something new happen in us, or are we going to slip back into the ways we are so familiar with?
There is little doubt that the Olympics last year inspired many of us. The tenacity and courage of the athletes to enter the games alone never mind to succeed and win medals was immense. We heard stories of a lifetime of dedication and perseverance. It is no wonder that Paul uses a sporting analogy, when he is talking about the efforts needed to be a believer, the efforts he says are needed to stand alongside Christ in his sufferings so that we can also share the resurrection. It was a life and death scenario for him.
Paul speaks of pressing on to make it his own…. It is a single minded approach, a focused and solitary task. But also a costly journey.
The gospel for today takes us back to the home of Mary and Martha. Mary once again shows us the way as I silence the room is filled with the fragrance of the simple act of contemplation. Like Mary and Martha today we seem to have a choice. We can busy ourselves or we can be still. It comes natural to be busy, but less natural to be still. Our praying can be similar, we can even busy ourselves in prayer and miss the object of the desire completely.
Soren Kierkegaard wrote about prayer in these words “Prayer does not change God, it changes the person who prays” yet our attitude has so long been that we are trying to gain the attention of God when we are praying. We rarely see it as silence and waiting. As gazing and being held.
We see it in the life of Jesus frequently, and it was reflected in the early years with many seeking solitude in the desert, being with God in silence and expecting something new to happen was what the life of prayer was all about.
It is surprising that we habitually react as if being busy is the right choice.
Stephen Cherry has highlighted this reaction this lent by urging the church to react against the need to proclaim business as the good way. He has challenged many to re think their attitude to living as if it was better to be able to prove that every moment of a working day was crammed with activity.
We are invited to be still in the presence of God, to hear God speaking in the silence of our lives, but we give him little opportunity, as we busy him out or talk over him.
Let us be more still