Saturday, February 18, 2012

Homily for the Sunday next before Lent, Yr B: Mark 9:2-9 & 2 Corinthians 4:3-6

Remember, Jesus is the star of your show – not you.
That message, posted by a friend on twitter, is a pretty good paraphrase of what Paul is telling us in verse 5 of our epistle.
It might seem to be obvious...
As a slightly cheesy worship song puts it
It's all about you, Jesus...”
What we preach is not ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord

That must be the central purpose of all that we do as Church – whether, publicly as clergy – or as radical subversives among the laity.
That's what the Christian church IS...a body of people who can say with confidence “Jesus Christ is Lord” and live it was as well – for empty words mean nothing.

But to be honest, I'm not sure that I actually measure up to that most of the time...
I'm not the worst person you're likely to meet, but I'm a long way from proclaiming Jesus as Lord with everything that I do, everything that I am.

In the affluent west, it's quite easy to wander gently through life believing ourselves to be moderately good, decent people.
It's not that difficult to be largely kind when we know that we're secure, to offer moderate generosity when we are certain that our own needs will be met.
But when we think that those essentials might be under threat,it can be disturbing how easily we let go of our aspiration to unselfishness. 
We change into people who believe that “Charity begins at home”, people who clench our hands to hold onto what we believe we need, rather than opening them to share the blessings we have been given.
We forget to live as people transformed and transfigured by our obedience to the Great Commandment to love our neighbours as ourselves.
So, when people look at our lives, they see not a daily proclamation of Jesus as Lord but the same sort of anxious,half hearted generosity that they recognise in themselves.
It's small wonder that they don't flock to join us in following Christ, when we seem to be driven as much by fear as the most secular humanist adopted by the media...
When people look at us, for the most part they can't see past us.
They can't see Jesus.

But today is all about seeing Jesus.
Seeing him, as the disciples did, on the mountain of the Transfiguration.
Recognising him for the first time, hearing his identity and his mission confirmed
This is my son, the beloved..LISTEN TO HIM”
Seeing the humanity of his nature overwhelmed by the divine...the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

It's that light which must shine at the heart of the Church, and in our hearts too...
That light by which we must live
That light whose beauty transforms that when we look around us we can't help but see Jesus in our friends and neighbours, in the stranger at the check-out, in the druggies in the park.

It's a light that should shine through us that when people see us, they see quite clearly the One who is our Lord.

I know that most of the time that light is shaded in my life, all but obscured by, distorted by my own sins and failings, my own cowardice and shame.
Even as I try (and as I long) to be your slave for Jesus' sake - I mostly end up serving myself.
It just keeps that my words and my life fail to match up with depressing regularity.

But there's no need to despair.
Lent begins on Wednesday.
Another opportunity to look at who we are and who we want to be
To spring-clean hearts, minds and souls so that the Christ light can shine from us.
That can be difficult and painful – for it usually involves giving up things that are part of ourselves, things that we hold much closer than even the most stubborn addiction to it's good that we keep Lent together, as a community.
Together we can encourage and support one another – by word, by example, by prayer.
Together we can, by the grace of God, begin again to form ourselves into a community which proclaims by deeds that are louder than words that Jesus is Lord, that for us the Great Commandment of love is supreme.

Remember, Jesus is the star of your show – not you - and trust Him to complete the good work He has begun in you.

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