Hopelessness against Unsurmountable Odds

by May 17, 2020Sermons

John 14:15-21

‘You will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.’

When I was 17 I spent a summer travelling around Canada running vacation bible camps for primary aged children. Because I was young, I learned early on that I couldn’t rely on my own brilliance, even if I couldn’t admit it to anybody else, 
I admitted it to myself and to God.

We were put up by the parishes we went to serve, and worked among them for a week. The last day in each place was a Sunday, at the end of which we packed up our things and went to the next parish where we would have to set up for the following day. We learned to rely on each other and to rely on God. It was an intensity of ministry I had never done before, though I’d been involved in my church as long as I can remember. I had a sense from a young age of the divine, of the nature of God’s love form me, but working out of that love in service, helps to bring us in tune with God.

It demands that we call on God’s Spirit to help us. To bring us into a oneness with God. It helps us to recognise God’s grace and power in sustaining us and empowering us.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit to the disciples. So that we and they wouldn’t be alone, that we will dwell with Christ and Christ will dwell in us, and that as such, by the love of God, 
we will do what Christ commands us to do. On Thursday we will remember the Ascension, 40 days after the resurrection, only 42 days since the disciples felt that bereft loss at the crucifixion, and Jesus goes again. He does what he can to remind them – they are not alone.  

It is so easy for us to set ourselves up as idols, to trust in our own ability to overcome things. Through our brilliance, or our money, or our technology. But then we get hit with a national pandemic, and what keeps us going each day, what sustains us in the face of our grief and sorrow. The thing I have found so important is to each day sit in silence, or prayer, or listening to a Jesuit podcast. Just 10 minutes to remind me that I am not alone, and to ask the Holy Spirit to fill me.

In our lesson from Acts Paul stands before a large stone called the Aeropagus in Athens, a city full of temples and altars to Gods made by human hands. And Paul speaks of the God of all Creation, the one who made us, not who was made by us. The God who loves us and sustains us. And through whose love we are motivated to go out and love others according to his command.
A God who appoints as his judge one who knows the challenges we face and who has been resurrected,
so that his judgement will be merciful and will restore us. 

In Peter’s letter he points out that we need not fear what others fear, rather we can have a certain hope that things will be made well and that by the love of Christ, not by anything we can do, we are brought into right relationship with God.

So be encouraged, know you are loved, call on the Holy Spirit and be prepared to do what you are called to do.

The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams

 

 

 

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Sunday Mornings

8.00am Morning Prayer in the lady chapel
10.00am Parish Eucharist with choir and Sunday School

Weekday Services

Christian Meditation Wednesdays at 9.10am
Said Eucharist on Wednesdays at 11.00am
Evening Prayer
Monday through Thursday at 5.30pm

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