You are the salt and light of the world, so do something!

1 Corinthians 2.1-12, Matthew 5.13-20

The worlds a strange place right now. Nothing new in that you may say but these past few weeks, perhaps even month have made the world, our society,  even stranger and worrying than usual. We have the debates over what is  going to happen with Brexit, a new President of the US who making  executive orders which are apparently unconstitutional and the disquieting  reaction of middle Eastern countries to them. Although Boris Johnson said  Trump’s bark is worse than his bite, we all know he who barks loudest is  the most influential in his society. The resulting international protest  marches reflect that quieter voices will be heard as disaffection with eventsdeepen.  

So, here we are, in church as followers of Christ praying for peace, reconciliation and love. Where do we stand in this face of civil unease and  disturbing events? What does the scripture have to say to us?  

As I read through the readings I saw how easy it would be to pull out the linethe rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish and create a sermon based  upon trusting in God so don’worry, He’s in control. Yet this would be a  hollow message because, although in essence this is true, the message of  Christ is effectively cheapened.  

Looking deeper into the passage, we see Paul is speaking to the church of Corinthian about the divisions among them because they relied too much  upon following the wisdom of men rather than the wisdom of God. They  thought all theirs shows of spirituality, of following the right rules and  attending the right meetings made them safe, indeed, saved them from God’s judgement. They had, in effect, perfected the spiritual law by following the  loudest leader with the most convincing wisdom. Paul says no, this isn’t the  way of Christ because true wisdom is Gods, and can only be taught by the  Spirit. As Paul speaks he is demonstrating the power of the spirit to work  through him by stating his fear of speaking to them for he knows the wisdom  of God is counter intuitive to the wisdom of men and their observance of  religious rituals is hollow rhetoric. Their good news had become misleading  fake news.  

In Matthew, Jesus says Dzunless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”. In other words, it is not enough to know the law but to act in love. Love is the ultimate measure of following Christ, not the outward signs of spirituality.  

Going to church is good, yes, but only if the desire to go is born out an authentic, holy reverence, for the spirit of God to work within us and moves us as God’s people to advocate for those being treated unfairly, to speak for those whose voices are being silenced, and to help those caught in poverty. That’s the true power and Spirit of God’s wisdom. To be in God and love unconditionally like God, giving selflessly through serving others.

We do this by being salt and light in the world as our reading from Matthew tells us. Salt flavours, light illuminates. The good news of Christ brings a new flavour, a new light of hope into a world soured by darkness. This is our calling to bring God’s justice and liberation to our communities, whom like Pavlov’s dog, salivate on hearing another bell tolling the demise of life and liberty.

The worship God calls for is for us to serve our communities in love. We are called to no longer just defend the faith, for being defensive builds barriers, walls around us and them. Defending seeks to maintain previous gains which is ultimately a losing battle. Playing the offensive through nonviolent direct action campaigns continually escalates demands for liberty and justice to the point where small voices can no longer be denied to be heard.

When we are in God’s light, what will we do, how will we share the love of Jesus, the light of the world in concrete, material ways? Can we become so dissatisfied with selfish, status quo Christian spirituality that has no impact on society that we feel moved to do something? True worship of God deepens our relationship with God but also includes social witness and
justice as we are empowered by God, through the power of the Holy Spirit to act in love. God’s love is a driving force that inspires us to take action and risks to build communities and speak out. God’s love sustains us through difficult decisions and painful moments. But most of all God’s love unites all who are broken, disillusioned and betrayed by the world’s consumerism and politics. God’s  rule brings a kingdom of hope, peace and wisdom that can never be destroyed or corrupted. When we open ourselves to live under God’s rule, when our hearts are full of his love, how can we not share with
others the good news of Jesus? 

Take a step back

HT EP Psalm 119.81-96*, Isaiah 33.13-22, John 3.22-36. 28th August 2016

 

Last Thursday evening I had the wonderful opportunity to meet two young people to discuss their wedding in November. I could tell they were very much in love and completely comfortable with each other. Weddings are times for celebration. They celebrate two people coming together in the presence of God to confirm their commitment to one another. They are surrounded by their family and friends. Some are bridesmaids, flower girls and of course there is the best man. More

Remembering to thank God

HT BCP 8am 2 Kings 5.9-16, Psalm 118.1-9, Galatians 5.16-24, Luke 17.11-19 Homily 28th August 2016

If we had hymns in this service I would have chosen Great is thy faithfulness as it has the lovely refrain which reads More

The Christian faith is augmented reality. Pokemon Go shows us how!

Luke 12.32-40 10:30am Family service with baptism. HT 7th August

Puppet Ben talks about; His mobile phone – playing Pokemon go. Gotta catch them all. What is Pokemon go? What is augmented reality? Involves lots of walking. Catching Pokemon (small animals) with a Pokeball. Ben is prepared for his journey; water, Pokeballs, batteries. Where will the journey take him?! More

Expecting God to turn up: A service about Healing.

James 5:13-16, Luke 7:2-10 Healing service Morning HT 31st July 2016

When you come to church, do you come with an expectation that God will turn up? After all, Matthew 18:20 scripture does say that when two or three are gather, there I will be also. Also in 1 Cor 5:4 Paul talks about the “power of our Lord Jesus” being present when Christians are “assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus”.
But what expectations should we have? Do we expect to feel a buzz of excitement or thrill? Do we expect to sense a deep peace, of comfort from the traumas of our daily lives? Or perhaps we don’t expect God to do anything at all but hope he might be there?! More

Learn from the past

HT 8am 24th July 2016: Hosea 11.1-11, Colossians 3.1-11, Luke 12.13-21

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. You may have heard this quote before and in this time of unnerving flux and change, it is a wonder whether lessons have been learned from the past at all. Yet this was Pauls message to the people of Corinth. Paul, by alluding to the time of exodus was warning the people of becoming too complacent in their faith by relying on their spiritual experiences and adherence to the sacraments. They boasted that they were safe from God’s destruction by relying on God-given means of grace and experience rather than on God himself. More

Set fire to those Todo lists!

HT 8am Luke 10.38-42 Amos 8.1-12, or Colossians 1.15-28  16th July 2016

But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’

I don’t know about you but it seems the older I get the more I need to keep lists of things I need to do.  Life gets soo busy doesn’t it?  And the busier life is the harder it is to remember everything. Demands from family, friends, work and, dare I say, church!  My to-do list is never ending with things to buy, places to go and people to meet.  I wonder if you have similar lists of things to do? More

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