Monday, August 08, 2022

Evensong sermon for Trinity 8 2022


Hmmn. Easy to say but looking at the world today I find myself thinking....

It isn’t supposed to be this way…

There’s the climate crisis

The cost of living crisis

The pandemic, food banks, mass shootings, beggars...

There are lonely souls shut up behind closed doors, not knowing if it’s safe to come back out, others not daring to come in,  uncertain whether they’ll be welcomed or rejected.

There are children – CHILDREN for God’s sake – locked up in detention centres or entrusted to tiny boats crossing a stormy sea...

It's really not great is it 

Nothing like the world I imagined when growing up, not even the world into which I confidently bore my children.

It’s certainly not the world that we read about in the great kingdom prophecies of Isaiah, in the teaching of Jesus or indeed in any of the aspirational passages of Scripture.

It isn’t supposed to be this way…

So – what are we to do?

Confronted by the pain and disillusion of here and now – how should we respond, as people of faith?

My first reaction, I must admit, owes less to faith than to fear. I want to gather those I love around me and circle the wagons...If the world has all gone wrong, I want to protect them if I can, or at least huddle together as we face the worst. There’s a lot of metaphorical huddling that goes on as we listen to the news day by day – but into this experience of anxiety, fear, even despair, Isaiah speaks

I will trust and not be afraid.

Oh my!

Thats an act of will I might not be able to manage....because right now

Fear seems perfectly rational to me!

But I’m here to preach the gospel and am reminded of some wise advice, that in preaching, the task is always to celebrate what God is doing rather than to struggle with the demands and failures of life here and now.

So – what IS God doing – that might, somehow, be enough to encourage us not to be afraid?

You could say its a question of priorities. 

Isaiah seems very excited about all that he looks forward to when God does act,in terms of Gods people being established in peace and freedom...but  his trust will be bought at the expense of others for whom the land is also home so even here we can't relax into uncomplicated joy

Yes God does great things, but there's no guarantee of an easy ride. Paul points this out too, with his praise of solidarity in suffering

And his contention that to be confronted with insuperable difficulties,  even to face a sentence of death, is the route to perfect dependence on God.

We were so unbearably, utterly crushed that we despaired of life itself that we would rely not on ourselves but on God

My sympathy if that doesn't make you feel much better. Me neither yet....Trust is a choice we can make if we raise our eyes from the present struggles to see God's bigger picture...finally in God's dealings the answer is always YES

That’s extraordinary – and transformative, if we can but recognise it.

You see, what we believe about the future absolutely shapes how we live in the present.

We remain conscious of that sense that “it’s not supposed to be this way” - but instead of allowing that to halt us in our tracks, frozen in futility, we affirm that this is not our permanent home, not our eternal destiny.

We look forward to the day when the Lord is strength sing and salvation and so

we press on towards it as best we can...sometimes confident of the terrain, more often stumbling, having no idea where we are heading or how we will get there….simply keeping going in a long obedience to God’s call.

“Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly”

Keep moving forward faithfully, step by step.

Sometimes, our faith may not bring us all that we hoped for.

We try to trust God, to place in his hands our needs and those of the people we love – but things don’t pan out as we’d expected.

Lament, cry to God acjnowledge your fear (sometim3s you just cant fight it) but nonetheless keep trusting.

God’s got this.


Have faith.

Look forward

This isn't the end of the story....but the final word of that story will be Yes

Yes to healing

Yes to hope

Yes to light and life and love 

I stake my all on that.

Behold God is my salvation I will trust....