Monday 26 January 2015

Third Sunday after Epiphany - Br Andrew

Andre-Rublev's Saviour

Homily preached by Br Andrew at Blaxland on Sunday 25th January 2015 

11 Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God,
12   and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. For you repay to all according to their work.

The readings tie together rather well together this week, they all share the common element of expectancy standing tiptoe on the boards of judgement drawn nigh.

Hold that thought: today is our inaugural service here in Blaxland, like a mendicant friar our little community has been wandering down the mountainside and now we stand tiptoe upon the boards of excitement awaiting what the Lord has install for our Community here.

How do we see ourselves? As a rather disgruntled Jonah erstwhile of Whale city, a reluctant prophet who believed he knew the Lord would have mercy on Nineveh whether he prophesied against it or not? Well if we do why bother being here anyway?

God has no hands nor feet but ours nor a mouth with which to express himself and that is why down through the ages he has often called ordinary people such as Amos who was a sheep herder and a sycamore fig farmer to be his prophets; we might, for the sake of it go as far as to call them his ‘forerunners’, because Jonah was a forerunner. We are Forerunners, we go before.

Do we understand what Paul means by “I mean?” I have never been quite sure myself and sometimes, between you and me, neither does he. However we may understand Paul if we read him as that in knowing that in God’s time the end is but a hairs breadth away we must put all our effort into getting out the message of God’s impending judgement and the amazing and priceless gift of Salvation through Jesus’ death and resurrection available to all who will accept it.

Those who speak of Judgement are not generally favoured since we often wish to focus only on the mighty Love and mercy of God rather than the why. Why did Jesus have to die if not to save us from something?
The LORD said ‘Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.’

The wickedness of Israel and the world continued to rise up to God until in the latter days, the end times God sent His son  our Saviour Jesus into our World to die and to become the final atonement for sin the great fountain of God’s mercy welling up and overflowing, enough for everyone to drink of. We are his chosen ones called to carry his good news to those around us, and at home wherever we live.

The disciples Jesus called to help him were people similar to us, they had businesses or worked as fishermen in other’s businesses, they did not have the equivalent of a Jerusalem University B.Th., and we know they came when they were called rather than dithering about as often happens when we receive the call from God and don’t immediately like the idea of it.

This Calling came for them just after John the Baptist, the one called the Forerunner had been arrested and Jesus said that the  ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.

Jesus was walking along the shore of Lake Galilee where he knew he would find Simon, Andrew, James and John at their work, Simon and Andrew left their boats sitting there while James and John, who were mending nets left their father Zebedee with the hired men and they all followed him. Jesus invited them to come with him and he would make them fish for people.

Perhaps it was precisely because they were fishermen that Jesus called them since they had some idea of the wisdom of fishing, Piscine Psychology perhaps?

Gathering others to Christ just doesn’t happen, as we know, and we need to apply everyone’s skills and expertise. Jesus spent three years training his disciples to do with people what they had done with fish their whole working life.

How shall we begin?

This board we are standing on, is it a Diving board or a Board walk is evangelising more akin to swooping into town like a Mission, a Billy Graham visit such as the one in April-May 1978 which I attended with my family at the Randwick race Course. Many people gave their lives to Christ then and were introduced to local churches in their areas.
Jonah walked through the city of Nineveh as Jesus walked by Lake Galilee though it is Paul who was both the circuit preacher and the Missionary.
There is a role for both the hands on and the distance ministry, the full front on one off and the slow and steady presence.
We pray to God.