Christ coming like a shepherd, dividing the sheep from the goats
As these short days of lockdown two continue we have found that an important thing to do a couple of times a week is to head out for a walk on the Heath. Wellington boots on and waterproofs at the ready, the exercise, the opening up of the world beyond the limits of our home. We are lucky that it is relatively easy to do this. Of course, any family walk is often punctuated with the question of ‘where are we going?’ or ‘are we there yet? Both these questions highlight the need we have to know to have some vision of the end of what we are doing.
As a hiker I know the frustration of false summits, that is the moment you think you are almost at the top, only to find as you get over the next hump in the path, the summit is still far off. Knowing, therefore, where your horizon is, having an idea of how you will get there, can help you to enjoy the journey. Knowing where it is and how far off or how near it is, can help to make it possible to take in and enjoy the scenery along the way.
I know lockdown 2, with the colder weather along with the fact it has come so many months since this all began, has been very difficult mentally for many people. The past two weeks have had the good news of progress towards a number of vaccines. In many ways a light is becoming visible at the end of the tunnel. One of the scientists involved in vaccine development said this week: we have made the long trek to the bottom of the mountain making it possible for us to climb it in the coming months. For many this vision of a future with a vaccine, a horizon in our sights, will make living with the weeks in between much more palatable.
As the church prepares to enter Advent next Sunday, a season of reflection and preparation for the coming of Jesus at Christmas, today the Church marks Christ the King, giving us a vision of what it is we are waiting for. A horizon, we have over the last several weeks of parables of the kingdom, been developing a sight of.
In our Gospel passage Jesus speaks of himself, the Son of Man, coming in Glory, Christ the Victor, surrounded by angels, the King of heaven and earth. A king above all earthly dominions and powers. But we are also told, God’s kingship is after the model of the good shepherd, who knows each of his children by name and divides the goats from the sheep. This is the King who is concerned not in who can elevate him in his power. Jesus is not looking to draw out the people from any one nation, or of any one language. He is the King of compassion,
whose concern is for those who are hungry, or thirsty, those who were strangers, who were in need of clothes
those who were sick and in prison. And the vision of the kingdom which we can set our eyes upon, the horizon for which we hope, is the kingdom where people make war no more, where people are in pain no more, where people are oppressed no more. With that vision, that horizon, we are freed to live out our lives to the full, to flourish in the love of God.
With that horizon we are freed to be the people who care for those for whom our King has compassion. And to know that when we falter, when we fail, the God of compassion will see that we tried, that our faith was alive in the actions we took, so we can stand up and try again.
It’s not easy and for it we need prayer. Paul prays for the Ephesians, and for us, that we will receive the spirit of Wisdom, that Jesus will be revealed to us, that the power of Jesus’ resurrection, his overcoming of the suffering of the world, to be resurrected and raised to sit on a throne above all, will give us a certain vision of hope that will sustain us through the trials of our lives, and of this time.
So, scattered as we are, let look to Christ the King, our Shepherd, and pray that in our prayer he will gather us together as the Saints are gathered together from every nation, and in the fullness of time we will be gathered together before his throne to sing again Holy, holy, holy is the Lord, the God, The Almighty, who was and is and is to come. Hosanna in the Highest.
The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams
8.00am Morning Prayer in the lady chapel
10.00am Parish Eucharist with choir and Sunday School
Christian Meditation Wednesdays at 9.10am
Said Eucharist on Wednesdays at 11.00am
Monday through Thursday at 5.30pm
Please note that Public worship has been suspended, you can therefore participate in these services via Facebook live stream
John 20:19-end Thomas the TwinWeekly Services Sunday Mornings 8.00am Morning Prayer in the lady chapel10.00am Parish Eucharist with choir and Sunday School Weekday Services Christian Meditation Wednesdays at 9.10amSaid Eucharist on Wednesdays at 11.00amEvening...
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