Tag Archives: Fourth Sunday after Epiphany

Fourth Sunday of Ordinary TIme (Year A, 30 January 2011)

Who gets it?

Micah 6.1-8
Matthew 5.1-12

Johnny’s mother looked out the window and noticed him ‘playing church’ with their cat. The cat was sitting quietly and he was preaching to it. She smiled and went about her work.

A while later she heard loud meowing and hissing and ran back to the open window to see Johnny baptising the cat in a tub of water.

She called out, ‘Johnny, stop that! The cat’s afraid of water!’

Johnny looked up at her and said, ‘He should have thought about that before he joined my church.’

Welcome S, and as you’ve already found out: the water’s fine!

In an age when fewer people seem to be part of a worshipping community Sunday by Sunday, the churches are tempted to emphasise how fine the water is. The message may be only about positive things: the peace and joy that is found in Christ, the healing of our souls that is possible—and we rightly emphasise those things. But sometimes we do it in a way that distorts the message of Jesus.

Douglas John Hall has said that the message the churches present

is a positiveness that is phony and ridiculous: a bright and happy message that has all the depth of a singing commercial.

We do have a positive message, of course. The peace and hope that our faith gives sustains us through the ups and downs of life.

And we shouldn’t lose confidence. I heard of a synod meeting in which people were bemoaning the state of the church. Someone was saying, ‘What have we got to offer anyway?’

An older minister stood and spoke. ‘What have we got to offer? What have we got to offer? Eternal bloody life, that’s what we’ve got to offer!’ Continue reading

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