Monthly Archives: February 2018

Treasure in clay jars

Readings
2 Corinthians 4.3–6
Mark 9.2–9

It is not indeed as risen, exalted, living, divine, but as crucified, that this Jesus Christ is distinguished unmistakably from the many risen, exalted, living gods and deified founders of religion, from the Caesars, geniuses, and heroes of world history.

Hans Küng, On Being a Christian

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I want to tell you a couple of stories about my family today. Firstly, one of our sons. Karen and I took each of our kids on a plane trip when they had finished primary school and were entering high school. We thought it would be a good experience for them, and in those days you could get a ‘mystery flight’ for $100 to places like Sydney and Melbourne. It was a way of filling empty seats.

I remember taking one son who was just entranced as he was looking out above the clouds and onto the ground below. He just kept saying ‘Wow!’. I don’t know how many times he said ‘Wow!’, but it never got old for him or me. It’s one of my favourite memories, up there above the clouds with nothing but innocent pleasure.

It was a lovely time, but it didn’t teach me about the Transfiguration of Jesus. Preachers often talk about the experience of the disciples as a Wow! kind of time, a time to be in the presence of Christ who is revealed as God’s Son. A time to be amazed at Jesus, shining like the sun.

But do you remember a couple of weeks ago, we heard about the time Jesus spoke with authority in the synagogue in Capernaum and people were amazed? Jesus didn’t want their amazement. He wanted their faith.

So let me turn from the clouds and bring you back to earth, where we do learn what faith is. Let me tell you about my dad. Dad died of cancer just over 27 years ago. He was only 59.

Our relationship was fine,  but I have to say that when I lost my heart to Christ in my teens, a strange barrier developed between us.

Dad was initially hostile to my Christian involvement, and then neutral, and finally it was obvious he was proud of the way I knew my bible and went to church.

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Filed under church year, Grief and loss, sermon

In the Service of Christ

Reading
Mark 1.29–39

Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can. — John Wesley

…to know Christ is to have served the poor, to have felt the indebtedness of the very gift of life that animates such service, yet also to have received the identity of Jesus back afresh in the process. — Sarah Coakley, ‘The Identity of the Risen Jesus: Finding Jesus Christ in the Poor’ (in Gaventa and Hays, Seeking the Identity of Jesus: A Pilgrimage (Kindle Location 3576). Kindle Edition.

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Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a fever, and as soon as Jesus arrived, he was told about her. He went to her, took her by the hand, and helped her up. The fever left her, and she began to wait on them.

There’s something tricky about this, something just a little awkward for our contemporary sensibilities. Jesus heals Simon Peter’s mother-in-law—no,  healing a mother in law is not the problem—and straightaway she starts to wait on them. She immediately busies herself getting food onto the table.

And she has just been sick with a fever! Why doesn’t she take it easy, and convalesce? Now that’s a very good question!

Peter’s mother in law didn’t need to take it easy; she was instantly healed by Jesus. Made fully better. Maybe she felt better than she ever had before. No convalescence was needed at all.

But why did she serve them?

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Filed under Baptism, RCL, sermon