Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hi, it's cold!

My grandfather is seriously ill so we're specially praying for him right now. It doesn't seem possible having had such a great time with him and the rest of the family earlier this month for his 90th birthday.

The leadership team recently had some positive time away in Oxford for 2 days grappling with where God is leading us as a parish. Some good outcomes though, not least of all, quality time with Hitesh (bless 'im!)

Anyway, here is a version of what I preached on Sunday. Oh and by the way, remember that this Sunday the services are at 8am and 10.30am which is 30mins later than usual!


A year has passed since we held Fan the Flame, our teaching mission week here at Holy Trinity. Fan the Flame provided an opportunity to discover more about Christianity, the nuts and bolts of what Christians believe, and it gave many of us the opportunity to re-examine what the central tenets of our faith, but more importantly I believe it included the opportunity for a very real encounter with the Living and Loving God. FTF was very important because astonishingly we can become over familiar with God over years of faithful worship, taking Him for granted, and in those cases the Creator of the Universe becomes nothing short of a concept, a word in the liturgy, an unknowable quantity shrouded in mystery.

As some of you might recall we looked at 4 key topics over the evenings of the FTF week which were Baptism and Grace, the Cross and Reconciliation, Resurrection and Healing, and the Eucharist and Thanksgiving. There was nothing revolutionary as such in what we learned over those nights as these are the great themes in the story of the life of the Church. What was revolutionary was what God did that week but also what he has done subsequently in and amongst us.

I believe that during FTF God drew the attention of each of us to a spiritual foundation that he laid in each of us at baptism - a foundation for our whole lives that remains unchanging and lasting. On it are built firmly those four evening themes of grace, reconciliation, healing and thanksgiving - which are in many way the qualities of Christian lifestyle, but I suspect that if we are really honest, these core values had been buried very deeply in each one of us for far too long.

If there was a point to Fan the Flame, it was to do with what the Church recalls today. For Pentecost, whilst being the birthday of the church, was not about God doing something new. The coming of Holy Spirit is the fulfillment of the promises of God made way back in history.

The scriptures tell us that, you can tell if something is of God, by the fruit that it bears. I am no gardener, but I do understand the principle - if we look after the plants and trees in our garden (sun and rain aside) - they will thrive. The fruit that FTF has borne seems good - 4 home study groups, a book discussion group, a number attending Finding the Way.

There are also some excellent new initiatives soon to be underway with the inauguration of a Pastoral Visiting Team, the training up of 2 people to take Holy Communion out to the sick and housebound. If that weren’t enough, I sense that we are now a church with a renewed sense of God-given purpose and vision, a church who is beginning to see it’s life rooted in God’s mission, a church prepared to share her faith in word and action, a church where we are individually beginning to answer God’s call ourselves in new ways. This sermon is starting to sound more and more like my Vicar’s report for the AGM! The DCC and I are genuinely excited at what God is doing amongst us, but all of this is coming about not because of it’s newness or how exciting it is, but simply due to our willingness corporately and individually to say ‘yes’ when Jesus says ‘follow me.’

Friends, what we remember today happening in that upper room, has also begun to happen amongst us. The coming of the spirit on those first disciples of Jesus transformed their lives and revolutionized their faith. From a group of followers came a group of leaders of the church by the spirit. From a group of listeners and learners came speakers and evangelists and teachers by the spirit. The Holy Spirit has transformed lives here is similar ways and you will have your own stories to tell. Don Evans and Beverley Platten’s stories...

The Holy Spirit did not run out on that first Pentecost. Jesus promised that the spirit would witness to Him, testifying to him and all that he had done said and taught, but the Spirit as Comforter would also stir the disciples to testify to what they themselves have seen and heard. As Paraclete, he will do for the disciples all that Jesus has done, not condemning the world but offering it salvation through them, calling people to examine their actions and lives and have them judged and transformed according to God’s standards. The Holy Spirit does not just transform bread and wine into the body and blood of christ at the Eucharist - he changes lives today.

FTF was in some sense just the catalyst to fulfilling thezs promises of God here. Over the last year I see a church becoming more and more confident that it is loved by God, and more and more confident in her faith in Him. The coming of God’s Holy Spirit on those first disciples transformed them from being frightened behind locked doors, to becoming a community of living faith, a family with values and responsibilities which we are called to share.

Today as we look back, Paul offers us a challenge. Having received God’s spirit at baptism, and had our faith renewed during FTF we must not slip back ito our old ways. Through faith and the spirit we are not just a gathering of people but a family of faith - young and old - brothers and sisters with Jesus with one father in heaven. This is not just true of our worship here on Sunday but our socialising together. The word family refers to the Christian family - all of us. We gather as family though for a reason, and here is the real challenge, we gather to be glorified by God by faith through the power of the spirit. We are a family to revel the glory of God. This means that the way we behave with one another, the things we do, the things we say, the way we handle conflict must reflect the glory of God and honouring to him.

Friends, the Holy Spirit did not run out on that first Pentecost, nor did it stop this time last year. Jesus promised that the spirit would witness to Him, testifying to him and all that he had done said and taught, but the Spirit as Comforter would also stir the disciples to testify to what they themselves have seen and heard. Friends God is stirring us still.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Herewith a version of a sermon that I preached on Ascension Day in Biggleswade. It was good to be back if not a little odd. It was lovely to see some familiar faces and there was a real sense in a way of being at home - amongst friends. Jo Gurney even missed Emmerdale to come - now there is commitment... :-)


Today Jesus returns to the glory of the Father, taking our humanity with him. What that means is that our human nature and God's nature are not opposites. The Ascension assures us that our destiny too is to become divine.The difficulty is that most of the time we see ourselves as the German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche did as ‘human all too human, ‘ broken, weak and failing. Yet, today of all days we are encouraged with those first disciples to look up, and as Christ disappears from sight, to remember that as Jesus fully God returns to be with his father in heaven, he also returns as Jesus fully human. The Ascension is about seeing humanity from God’s perspective of history - humanity that is human, gloriously human!

In the Eastern Orthodox tradition this is one of the normal ways of talking about faith - as St Athanasius put it ‘God became man so man can become God.’ Divinity is what humanity is for. It’s our destiny, and we needn’t be shy of saying so. It is the point of this living relationship with God that we’re called into called faith. If you doubt me, go and read your Bible thoroughly! There’s an important passage in John chapter 10 where Jesus is arguing with the Pharisees. They want to stone him because he has called himself God’s son. And his answer is very interesting. He quotes Psalm 82 at them, where God says, ‘I have called you all gods, even though you die as men’. ‘Look’, says Jesus, ‘if God calls all people gods, even though they are mortal, why do you want to stone me for saying something that’s potentially true of you as well? If only you’ll let me in, you can realise your destiny too, and become children of God yourselves. That’s what you’re made for’.

As far as the Bible is concerned, the trouble is not that we are too human, we are not human enough. If we were fully human, as God made us to be, then by definition we’d be divine as well, just as Jesus was fully human and fully divine - Son of Man and Son of God. Because God made us in his image, it's when we are most human, most truly ourselves, that we are most truly like him. It's a sign of the church's failure that to many people outside, Christianity doesn't seem to make you more human but less. Jesus talked about faith ‘giving you life more abundantly’, but it often doesn’t look that way. If anything, people suspect that Christianity narrows life down, takes the fun out of it, and de-humanizes you with a lot of unnecessary hang-ups and hypocrisies.

Speaking of Jesus, St Augustine wrote: “You ascended from before our eyes. We turned back grieving, only to find you in our hearts.” In other words, if we’re looking for Jesus, our faith tells us his presence will be discovered in our humanity, in each other. Discovering Christ in each other can take a leap of faith to say the least! But if we’re looking for Jesus, our faith tells us his presence will be discovered in service to those in greatest need. Mother Teresa talked about her work and how important the contemplative life was as she said: “First we meditate on Jesus, then we go out and look for him in disguise.”

In the Gospels it's clear that the humanity of Jesus was rich and full. He was open to every kind and class of person, and he allowed
others to be themselves. He didn't narrow life down; he enriched it and enhanced it. His kind of holiness didn't raise barriers, it broke them down, to the extent that because of the company he kept,
he was accused of being a womaniser and a drunkard. He managed to make people feel at home who would feel completely out of place in our churches today: all the people on the margins, all the disreputable people gathered around him, because he saw past the labels and simply took them for what they were: human beings, brothers and sisters made in the image of God.

There’s a lovely passage in the diary of Thomas Merton, where he describes an experience he once had of suddenly seeing the divine in people. He writes:
I was in Louisville, Kentucky, in the shopping precinct, when I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people around me, even though they were complete strangers. It felt like waking from a dream. It was as if I could see the secret beauty in their hearts, the deep self where sin and ego can't reach, the core of their reality, the person that each is in God's eyes. Ofcourse I couldn't say it. You can’t go up to people and tell them they’re walking around shining like the sun. But if only they could see themselves as they truly are … If only we could all see each other that way all the time. I suppose the problem would be that we'd fall down and worship each other.

A real Christian church is one that shares that vision and does what Jesus did: accepts us as we are, but sees the potential in each of us, and helps us grow into that divine self that we already are in God’s sight. Karl Marx, of all people, once remarked that the Church ought to be the ‘heart of a heartless world’, a place where we can discover and accept one another as real human beings, with
all our wounds and complications, and can then begin to grow together into something more.

The real Church of Christ is not an exclusive club for the religiously and morally respectable that you must qualify to enter. On the contrary, the one qualification for entry is knowing you can’t qualify. The real Church is a free hospital for damaged souls, looking to be healed by love, and growing by love to become more human, not less - and in the process becoming divine.

Back to St. Augustine, who talked about our lives lived in this tension between humanity and divinity and offered this advice: “Let us sing alleluia here on earth, while we still live in anxiety so that we may sing it one day in heaven in full security. God’s praises are sung both there and here. But here they are sung in anxiety, there in security; here they are sung by those destined to die, there by those destined to live forever; here they are sung in hope, there in hope’s fulfillment; here they are sung by wayfarers, there by those living in their own country. So then let us sing now, not in order to enjoy a life of leisure, but in order to lighten our labors.”

You should sing as wayfarers do sing, but continue your journey sing then, but keep going.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sorry no updates for a while.

This is due to all sorts of things including ministering to Reg Beacon in his dying days. It was a real privilidge to be so closely involved in supporting the family through what has been a very hard time. I have deliberately held back though since to allow the 'dust to settle' a bit.

We were up in Edinburgh this las weekend as it has been my Grandfather's 90th birthday. Great time was had by all - especially by him! I t was wonderful to be together with other members of the family as we don't very often mostly due to disatnce...

There are several sermons to update here. Firstly come Vicky Johnson from Westcott House who preached (extremely well I hasten to add) on Vocations Sunday. Then the sermon I preached at Reg's funeral. Finally comes my sermon from the Sunday before last.

I will try not to leave it so long with another update!


Vicky Johnson Vocations Sunday Sermon
Holy Trinity Church, Leverstock Green, St. Albans Diocese
Sunday 29th April 2007, 10am

Jesus said ‘My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me’. Have you ever heard God’s voice? Can you hear God calling you? Listening to God, is perhaps something we all find a bit difficult… I know, that for a long time, I thought I was listening, but somehow, I wasn’t really hearing what God was saying.

I thought I, knew myself better, than God did. I set out on a particular path, with a particular plan and I thought that this was sufficient to silence the nagging feeling that God was calling me to do something else. Basically, I wanted a quiet life! I have to say, that the last thing I expected, was to be training for ordained ministry, the last thing I expected to become, was a vicar in the Church of England. Even now, two months before my ordination in Manchester Cathedral,
it all feels like a bit of a suprise.

I bet you’re wondering if I had one of those big, life changing experiences - with lights and flashes and perhaps a deep voice booming out ‘It could be you’! Well, I’m sorry to say that it was all perhaps rather ordinary and boring in comparison. I know some of you might find this hard to believe, but until a couple of years ago I was a scientist. I know what you’re thinking, ‘scientist’ eh? ….lack of social skills, doing dodgy experiments, white coat, safety goggles. This could be a bit of a boring sermon!

More specifically I was, what you might call, a biochemist of sorts. ‘Even worse’ you might be thinking! I don’t even know what the word ‘biochemist’ means! Well, I worked in a laboratory, and I was researching the mechanisms underlying human cancer. Lots of looking down microscopes, and playing about with liquid nitrogen and DNA!

And I have to say, that I hoped one day to discover something useful which might alleviate suffering in some small way.
All this was, to be honest, a bit of a conversation stopper at parties, but I loved my job, and I thought this was what God was calling me to do. But as time went by, I had this little nagging feeling, which wouldn’t go away. It all began I suppose, when I was little more than a teenager.

I remember going to church with my brother, and sister. We sang in the choir. My mum and dad were not regular church goers, but for some reason.. sent all three of us off to church every Sunday morning, with 50p for the collection plate,
which usually ended up being spent on sweets and ice creams on the way home. One day, during a very ordinary Sunday morning service, I remember hearing the priest reading the Eucharistic prayer, and for some reason, those words Jesus said when he broke bread and shared wine, suddenly seemed to be speaking to me. At that moment, I was somehow, in my head, in my voice, speaking the words with him, and they felt right, and natural and holy. I didn’t know what it meant, I had no intention or thought of becoming a priest myself, mainly because I wanted to be a forensic scientist or a police woman,
and in addition at that time, women, yet alone girls, were unable to be ordained. So I conveniently forgot all that had happened, and buried it away somewhere deep where it wouldn’t disturb me again.

Years later, after my studies, I began working in Manchester as a scientist. But I didn’t forget God! I was part of a local congregation, I still sang in the choir, I helped at church fetes, I was on the PCC and even went to Deanery Synod! Sad but true!

I also went along rather reluctantly, to what was called a vocations group, in the parish. It was simply a space where anyone could go to explore what God might be calling them to do in their life of discipleship. That little nagging feeling was bugging me again! It was an amazing group and an intensely humbling experience. Here among such people of faith, I could no longer ignore God’s call. There were people exploring how they could better serve the community perhaps as a churchwarden, or musician, or bereavement counselor, -there was a woman thinking about how God was acting in her life,
as she and her husband tried to begin a family together, -there was someone who felt their job needed to change,
and ended up working in some of the most deprived parts of the city, to ensure that local children would get a good start in life, -there were people exploring how they could live out their Christian life more fully in their employment situation as a nurse, teacher or social worker… how they were caring for relatives, and what it meant to them, -there was woman exploring where God could be found in the midst of her own terminal illness. I felt God was calling me to be a priest, and despite my reluctance to even acknowledge it myself, God seemed to know me, better than I did.

Because everyone around me was trusting where God was leading them and being so courageous and brave, I had to be too.
I had to listen to Christ’s voice and follow where it was leading me. I must confess my first reaction was to ignore it,
to run away, to hide. I pretended that it hadn’t really happened. I mean, I couldn’t possibly be a priest because I was scientist,
I was doing well, had a good job, I was too young, didn’t know enough, wasn’t holy enough. Of course, all those things were true, and probably still are. Coming up with excuses is a very human response to God’s call. A brief glance through the Scriptures tells us that much: Jeremiah was too young, Moses was too scared, Isaiah was a man of unclean lips, and Jonah just didn’t feel like it. And yet they discovered, as I did, and as I’m sure many of you have, that God is nothing if not persistent.

Someone once told me that God’s call is like an itch that won’t go away. There comes a point when you just have to scratch! If God truly is calling us, we will have no peace until we turn and follow him.

So in the end, I kept on knocking at the doors to ordination, and those doors kept on opening before me. After a great deal of arguing with God, I eventually handed in my resignation at work and began training at theological college in Cambridge,
and now I face the next stage of the adventure and have stopped trying to tell God what to do. Which I have to say, is not an easy option, but a necessary one!

I still get it all wrong, and make mistakes, but I know I just have to keep on following where God is leading me. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.” Hearing, being known, following. These are things which mark out a Christian vocation. Yet we ought to be just a little careful here. All too often the word “vocation” gets treated as another word for “ordination”, for being a priest. The line of thinking goes something like this: “I know I’m not called to be a priest. Therefore I don’t have a vocation.” Well none of us get off the hook that easily! As Christians, we, all of us here today, have a vocation.

As Christians we are all called to live out our lives in response to Christ’s life, his death and his resurrection. As Christians we all have a calling to belong to the priesthood of all believers. For each of us, this calling involves constantly trying to become a person, who reflects something of the life of Christ. Our primary calling is to represent Christ in the world, and to see and hear Christ in the lives of other people. Being a priest, or a vicar or a curate or any other kind of minister, is one way of doing this. BUt It is not the only way.

There are many ways to serve God, many ways of responding to his love for us in Christ. Discerning God’s will in our lives, is an important, and a holy task for each and every one of us. And yet there is still more to do…because this does not only apply to us as individuals, but also to the communities of which we are a part. We must see Vocations Sunday, as a reminder,
that the Church itself has a vocation, and is called to hear God’s voice and follow where it leads. This afterall what the Church’s mission to the world really is.

This morning, I want to encourage you all to spend some time thinking about your own vocation, about God’s will in your life. Talk to each other about where God is in your life and in the life of this community, listen to each others stories about how the Holy Spirit is working in and through you. Be attentive in worship and listen out for God speaking to you through the scriptures, through the eucharist, through music and through community. Spend some time reading the Bible together and listen to God’s word might God be speaking to you through what you read? Listen to your community outside these walls– might God be speaking to you through them? Might God be speaking to you through your work, your family or your friends?
Listen to God through prayer. Ask God to reveal his will to you. Ask to hear his voice, and then ask to be given the grace and the strength to follow him.

Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.” Lest we think that vocation is a nice, comfortable thing, where a wise old shepherd gathers up his fluffy sheep and all is happy and contented, let me end by saying this.
Following God’s will for us isn’t always an easy path and I think we all probably understand that. Every time we pray the Lord‘s Prayer, we say to God, “Your will be done”. It’s worth remembering that when Jesus prayed these words in the Garden of Gethsemane, he ended up on the Cross. Vocation, God’s call in our lives, does not promise to be easy or comfortable,
or even free from pain. But it does promise to be the means by which we find our fulfillment, as bearers of Christ’s light and love in this world and where we live out a resurrection faith.

Our vocation and our mission, whatever it might be, springs from that place where we realise we are fully known and unconditionally loved by God. Our vocation and our mission springs from the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and
brings us all to a new life, Our vocation and our mission springs from God’s call and our desire to follow him. I am constantly asking myself how I can respond to that call. How will you respond?


Now I am wearied of the day; all my ardent desires shall gladly succumb to the starry night like a sleepy child.
Hands, stop all your work; brow, forget all your thoughts; all my being now yearns to sink into sleep.
And the unchained spirit wishes to fly up freely into night's magic sphere and to remain there forever.
We have willingly and joyfully walked hand in hand; now let us rest from our wanderings through the silent land.

Those words come from Strauss’s ‘Four Last Songs’, music and words which were very dear to Reg, and in some ways they are so poignant. Yet those of who have had the privilege of knowing Reg know that today he is not headed for ‘night’s magic sky’ but a place with God in heaven.

Faced with the prospect of his own death, Jesus reassures his disciples - do not let you hearts be troubled, believe in God & believe in me. The faith of the Beacon family is strong, Reg’s own faith was quiet but sure, but faith does not take away the sadness and sting of death. What faith in God at times like this does, is remind us that death is not the end.

Christian faith assures us of a renewed relationship with God and an understanding of what life is truly about - through the ministry and teaching of Jesus. This relationship extends into eternity through faith. But faith is not some sort of insurance policy, but a relationship of love, just the way that God intended.

God’s love extends to all, not just to those of us who call ourselves Christians. St Paul reminds us that nothing we encounter in life can separate us from God’s love, not even death itself. God’s heart of love, his house with many rooms, is large enough to welcome us all. It is Jesus who extends that welcome to us and prepares a place there for us through his death and resurrection if each of us place our faith in him.

Reg placed his faith in him. He knew that faith in Christ was the way to a relationship with God that would last; he knew that Christ’s teaching was true; he knew that the life that Christ offered him was not just available to him beyond the grave, but day by day. It is this faith that has equipped and shaped the Reg over the years whether as an army officer, work colleague, Church Warden, Parish Trust secretary, or fete organiser, father, grandfather or friend.

Strauss continues: ‘...Now you appear in all your finery, shining brilliantly like a miracle before me. You recognize me once more, you tenderly embrace me; all my limbs tremble at your glorious presence! ‘ Reg knew the presence of God with him especially at the end. I had the privilege of ministering to him on the Monday before he died and we prayed, talked, and shared Communion together. He was physically a shadow of his former self, but as I prepared to go, a peace came over his tired face and he looked at me clearly in the eye, and I knew that he was ready to be tenderly embraced by the God he loved.

Jesus’ words therefore are for us today - be sad, but do not be troubled or afraid - for whilst we will miss him terribly - by faith Reg today appears before God’s glorious presence in all his finery, shining brilliantly like a miracle. Amen.


‘..True love begins by demanding what is just in the relations of those who love....

Let us not tire of preaching love, it is the force that will overcome the world. Let us not tire of preaching love. Though we see that waves of violence succeed in drowning the fire of Christian love, love must win out, it is the only thing that can...’

Those words are Oscar Romero’s, more words of his feature on one of this year’s Christian Aid week posters. He was born in a small village in El Salvador in 1917. Ordained priest, he was known as a quiet and unassuming pastor. By 1977, amidst the political and social turmoil suffered by his country, he was therefore seen as a neutral choice to be its Archbishop. Courageously, however, he began to speak out against violence and his homilies supported the demands of the poor for economic and social justice. He refused to be silenced and continued to preach even under threat of assassination. On 24th March 1980, whilst presiding at Mass, Archbishop Romero was assassinated by a gunman.

Friends, Archbishop Romero is right, that our love, driven by our faith in God must affect the whole of our lives and shape the way we live - a faith that is a hallmark and that is visible in how we live amongst others and how we react to them.

So it seems strange in a way for us to be transported back to the upper room and the last supper in this morning’s Gospel reading. Yet these words of Jesus’, first spoken to frightened disciples just before his death, are underlining this idea of a faith that defines our life in community after the resurrection and ascension, after Jesus has gone away.

The gospel begins at supper, a gathered group of friends - chatter, noise, banter. Jesus knows that his time is near. Such is his love for this raggle taggle band that he removes his clothes, picks up a bowl and towel and washes their feet. Walking in open sandals on dusty or muddy roads made everyone’s feet dirty. A good host would always provide water to wash his guests’ feet, and sometimes even have a servant on hand to do it. However, so menial a task was never carried out by male servants - always by women, children or non-Jews. But as so often the case with Jesus, the normal order of things is reversed, Jesus does for us what no-one else is prepared to do for each other. Like someone nursing a dying spouse for whom the most basic tasks are an act of love, so in the same way Jesus kneels at his disciples feet.

Having begun with this visual aid, Jesus then outlines this hallmark of Christian life further and more plainly, his disciples are to follow his example of love and care. However as he looks round at his friends he sees Peter who will deny him and Judas who will betray him, so he warns them of this coming betrayal - Judas leaves and goes out into the night of loneliness and disappointment.
Now Judas has gone out and it is night, but paradoxically the hour of darkness is also the hour of greatest blinding glory. It is hard to comprehend how death and suffering on the cross can bring glory to God and salvation to the world. Jesus knows that his coming death and departure will be a great shock for his disciples but he stresses right at the start that he on his way to glory.

Knowing that he is going away, Jesus is intent on leaving his disciples with a new way of living without him physically present - so implores them to love as he has loved them. Sounds easy. I wonder if the disciples thought so too, but I am sure that the penny dropped as they cast their minds back to earlier in the evening. Jesus demonstrated his love for them by washing their feet - they should love like that... PAUSE. Jesus means the sort of love that selfishness usually prevents, not the sort that responds to a demand, but the sort that responds to Jesus’ “as I have loved you” and “God so loved the world that he gave his only son”, and he loved the disciples to the extreme of washing their feet and dying for them.

St. Jerome tells a story of John the Gospel and Epistle writer, in old age reduced to simply repeating ‘my little children, love one another.’ Yet this is the heart of the Gospel - so simple yet so difficult to live out. This is the hallmark, the defining faith visible in our lives that Jesus calls us to strive for and I pray we will continue to rediscover. Such extreme love is the hallmark of Christian life, the way by which others will know that in Jesus’ words “you are my disciples.” In the centuries of poverty and persecution which followed Jesus resurrection, this was the one characteristic that people could not ignore as those first Christians opened up their homes to the poor and needy ‘see how these Christians love one another’ wrote the roman historian Tertullian.

My friends, this morning God reminds us that his love for each of us is compassionate, intense, and unconditional. God’s love is boundless. This love of God boldly declares that all people —every person—is God’s favorite. This love makes no distinction among people. It does not judge. It does not make comparisons between one person and another.

Henry Nouwen writes, ‘I am convinced that many of my emotional problems would melt as snow in the sun, if I could let the truth of God’s motherly non-comparing love permeate my heart...’

This morning in Leverstock Green, God turns his face toward each of us. The NOs of shame; of guilt; of lack of self worth; of depression, are now swallowed up in the person of Christ. These NOs are rejected. And we all become God’s YES. We are accepted, shame-free and guilt-free. And we are now included with all our foibles and frailties.

This loving God sees each of us as his favorite; that He is not comparing us with someone else—God loves each of us and wants to have a relationship with us.

We are not in the darkness of the night like those first frightened disciples, but we are living in the light of Easter and of the risen Christ. Together with him, let us love. Amen.


Phew! :-)