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Sermon for the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity

11th Oct 2020


Sermon for the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity Year A

 

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4.5,6

 

It is a commonplace for us to hear of ‘St Pauls’ Letter to the Philippians’ or to the Colossians or the Corinthians. The second Reading of the Parish Eucharist is often called the ‘Epistle’ or ‘Letter’. We have to imagine St Paul communicating to the far flung early Christian community as he dictates long letters via a secretary, companion or scribe like Timothy.  His letters contain formal teaching, warning, moral instruction. They contain exhortation and greeting. We read Paul’s letters, even after two thousand years and their words leap out of the pages with passion and love. He begins his letter with a greeting : ‘My brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for’. It is so interesting that the kind and intimate letter greeting ‘Dear so and so’ has now been replaced with the impersonal and screechy ‘Hi!’ ‘Yours Faithfully’ with an emoji. Paul is ready always to convey the sense the there is such a thing as the Christian character, whose stamp and mark is mutual love, both of God and neighbour, and perseverance and bravery in the commitment to the life of Christian faith.

 

With the advent of the PC and the laptop, of Emails and of countless other instant message types, all characterised by their brevity, it has become a rare joy to receive a hand written letter. I remember our Post Office when I was a boy. It was a large modern and airy building, but along one bank of its long walls lay a whole row of ink pots set into the wipe-able Formica surfaces upon which were large framed mats of neat blotting paper. People would patiently dip pen to ink many times before a few lines had been written, but here was a kind of patient ceremony which is now lost to us.

 

I have here my grandmother’ Parker Pen. The fountain pen is at least 60 years old and it was used to write countless neat letters written in real ink on thick laid paper. The letter of course had to be stamped, enveloped and then hand posted. On applying for a university place, our headmaster gave us two pieces of advice – “Always write your letters in ink and not biro, and when at interview, always thank you interviewers for taking the time to see you! The giving and receiving of letters becomes an important part of the plot in old films and novels, and somehow an Email doesn’t quite measure up in terms of the quality and the beauty of these former communications. It is so pleasing to see a hand written letter as it raises its head above the junk mail.

 

St Paul’s letters are known for their beautiful greetings, which in this morning’s letter take up 29 lines of prose. From his letters we get a very real sense of St Paul as communicator and we realise that only twenty or so years after the death and resurrection of Christ, Paul’s Church is one in which mutual love abounds, in which there is a sense of real joy and confidence in believing, but equally the struggle and the determination to prevail. There is, too an abiding sense of the reality of God in Jesus Christ, and that he is ‘very near’. Then there is Paul’s fearless and powerful self-confidence and strength of leadership as he urges his followers to cast all worries aside and instead to offer prayers and supplications to God. This is echoed in the words of Teresa of Avila, whose saint’s day we commemorate today:

 

Let nothing disturb you,

Let nothing frighten you,

All things are passing away:

God never changes.

Patience obtains all things

Whoever has God lacks nothing;

God alone suffices.

 

The same intimate connection with St Paul’s followers is to be the intimate connection they are to maintain with their God. This is to be their strength. Above all they are to persevere and to prevail in and with what he calls ‘the peace of God which passes all understanding’, that strong inner peace which is the evidence of their personal connectedness with God rather than with the ‘passing’ things of this ‘fleeting’ world.

 

Of course it only human to find yourself preoccupied or worried about things. We are sometimes confronted with what seem like strong tests to our usual feeling that everything is more or less OK. This coronavirus has tested us very much and last week’s mental health week was all the more significant for the realities that coronavirus has brought, not least the strain it has placed on our capacity to cope. Shakespeare termed the famous phrase ‘the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to’, which is the legacy of pain and worry, whether by reason of ill health, loss, the disappointment of our hopes or the painful challenge to our complacencies, or of past sorrows. To all this we may admit, but for Paul’s corresponding call to ‘the higher Way’ where God is the peace which ‘passes  human understanding’. The move away from our own anxiety and into God’s peace. It’s all very tough, and not easy or consoling. But our correspondent Paul has been through it; is going through it in his cell in Philippi. His letter is known as a letter of exhortation, urging us all on to find our security in that which has already been established in us, the love of God, meted out through his humanity and the gathered church. In his gentle and beautiful cadences, every bit as mellifluous as Shakespeare’s, Paul’s final words of our letter section from Philippians reach their moving crescendo:

 

Finally, my beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is  pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and is there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of Peace be with you.

 

So much better than the very English ‘Yours sincerely!’

 

A similar prayer was gifted to me by an old Australian priest friend, long since dead and former Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome. It is simply a prayer to the loveliness and awesomeness of God. God is, in this prayer, as God is in the Letters of Paul, our truest and most loving correspondent.

 

 

 

 

 

+

 

O MYSTERY MOST BLESSED MOST HOLY

MOST MERCIFUL MOST LOVING MOST MIGHTY

MOST TRUE MOST HONOURABLE MOST BEAUTIFUL

UNFATHOMABLE ABYSS OF PEACE

UNUTTERABLE OCEAN OF LOVE

FOUNT OF BLESSING

GIVER OF AFFECTION

HOLY JOY

FATHER SON HOLY GHOST

ONE GOD IN THREE PERSONS

EVER TO BE WORSHIPPED AND ADORED

BE THOU TO US

RECTITUDE FORTITUDE BEATITUDE

REFRESHMENT LIGHT PEACE

THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.

AMEN.

 

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Sermon for the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity

4th Oct 2020


Sermon for the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity 2020 (Year A)

 

“…but this one thing I do : forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus”. Philippians 3.13,14.

 

Paul had good reason to want to forget. The conversion to Christ on the Road to Damascus was granted to the former man, Saul, who had been  instrumental in imprisoning and putting to death members of the early Christian community. But the so-called ‘forgetting’ which Paul recommends in Philippians does not involve the blanking out of past memory, even though by now Saul was a figure from the past. Rather, the ‘new man’ Paul makes the claim to a ‘good forgetting’. Past memory, perhaps full of guilt and anguish, was not to have the last word. The coming to Christ for Paul involved what the Greeks called ‘metanoia’ or, a complete change of heart, of motivation; a change in personal fortune with the advance of a powerful new working hope. And it was hard won. And if really won, then there could be no turning back. 

 

In the letter to the Philippians, Paul lays his life bare. He powerfully expresses his conversion in terms of loss and gain: “I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own, but one that comes through faith in Christ”. We, like Paul have our own powerful life narrative and within this narrative, lies a myriad of other narratives, some of which become crucial to our idea of who we are. These are our stories of significant meaning, perhaps involving roads down which we have experienced great trial and suffering, roads down which we have lived and loved most fully, roads along and through which we have made great mistakes and have emerged numb or wiser after the event, perhaps wounded and more attuned to the world around us. These are the narratives which have made us and brought us to where we are now. They are our baptisms of fire. And they are formative and important. Others may know better than we that these life stories have brought about real changes in us. In this we stand alongside St Paul and affirm his conversion to a new life. In this vein John Henry Newman could say

To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often. 

John Henry Newman 

 

Some six years, in 2014, a seventeen year old schoolgirl was called out of her chemistry class at Edgbaston School in Birmingham to be told that she had won the Nobel Peace Prize. She was the youngest Nobel Laureate ever, Malala Yousafzai. She was later offered a place at Oxford University, to read politics, philosophy and economics at Lady Margaret Hall. Malala Yousafzai, described in the press as a ‘child education activist’ had been shot in the head in her Pakistani home town by the Taliban whilst travelling on the school bus. She recovered, though with marked signs of her wounds, and afterwards spoke out for education and particularly in the cause of girls and against the way girls in Pakistan are denied educational advantages, and commonly reduced to slave status by their families, supported by a collusive political system. Malala has been a great presence and a great voice on the world scene. Her experiences and outspokenness are prophetic. Her voice has broken through the dictatorial voices and vested interests which would treat girls as commodities. Through her travails, Malala had found a new and confident and passionate voice and become a world renowned humanitarian. The voices of St Paul and Malala prove prophetic because they direct our attention both to the stark facts of our existence and the hope for a life transformed for all. 

 

As we approach our Annual General Meeting this afternoon I am minded that this church contains within it both a strong set of past narratives and an equally strong prophetic role in the present. By narratives I can already look back on fourteen years of ministry here and remember past members who have left their mark on this church in their own way and their own time. I find it particularly appropriate to remember those faithful ones who held things together when this church’s fortunes were at a low ebb and who were then able to hand on something which could be built upon. This church has grown and changed so much over these years and has been indebted to persons who have been here for decades as well as those who have come long for a shorter period and have left their mark. And so with the coming together of lives and of their giftedness the church grows and adapts and changes and develops extra layers of personality and character. The movement is very present and ever forward.

 

A prophetic church is one which fully inhabits its situation in life, and communicates a generous and vibrant spirituality. The Church speaks of the committed spiritual life as its proper grounding, and the lively antidote to doubt, fatalism and inhumanity. It believes and places trust in the possibilities of our common humanity in a committed Christian faith. In this, it begets new forms of energy and new expressions of hope. It’s no wonder that as we began to embrace the idea of a ‘church turned inside out’ here at Holy Cross, we have housed the moon in this place, we have welcomed 3,000 people in ten days at last year’s Bloomsbury Festival, we have completely refurbished our crypt, and in a time of lockdown and crisis we have actually increased our membership - impossible dreams 14 years ago…. We move forward perhaps in small increments but in great confidence ; and from their relative places in the past and present the voices of St Paul and the prophet Malala surely cheer us on…

 

 



Sermon for the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity

27th Sep 2020


A Sermon for Trinity 16   Year A

 

Be united in your convictions and united in your love, with a common purpose and a common mind. Philippians 2.3

 

 

Some time ago I attended two separate but complimentary events. The first was a Roman Catholic Mass in celebration of The Sisters of Mercy and for the anniversaries of the life vows of two of our sisters who work in the parish locally as ‘women at the well’. The second was a book launch. An old priest friend of mind has just published a book reflecting on a Christian mystical work named ‘The Cloud of Unknowing’ whose anonymous writer does not  mince words:

 

For I tell you this: one loving, blind desire for God alone is more valuable in itself, more pleasing to God and to the saints, more beneficial to your own growth, and more helpful to your friends, both living and dead, than anything else you could do.

 

Both parties expressed the need to balance an active with a contemplative life. This is to live the balanced inner life which can adapt to what the old prayer book called the ‘changes and chances of this fleeting world’. And in the medieval period there was a sudden upsurge in a movement toward this contemplative way, in which ordinary, active life includes, as part of ‘one loving blind desire for God’ the prayer of the heart. Figures such as Mother Julian of Norwich, Walter Hilton and Marjory Kempe were writing down their experiences of contemplative prayer in the emerging English language made popular by Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales. Their passion for God was earthed the in their everyday lives, that is in their ordinariness. Their piety was not otherworldly and affected. These were earthy figures and not plaster saints. Margery Kempe was plagued by sexual temptation and ran a brewery! The author of ‘The Cloud of Unknowing’ is clearly a ‘tough cookie’, Julian of Norwich has survived a life-threatening illness and the Last Rites of the Dead and had plenty of life wisdom.  It is to these people, honest in their view of themselves and yet rugged seekers after God, who startle us with their spiritual witness. Here is Margery Kempe:

 

She greeted the Vicar, asking him if she could—in the afternoon, when he had eaten—speak with him for an hour or two of the love of God. He, lifting up his hands and blessing himself, said, “Bless us! How could a woman occupy one or two hours with the love of our Lord? I shan’t eat a thing till I find out what you can say of our Lord God in the space of an hour.”

 

Through live experience, these very English mystics have passed on pieces of Christian wisdom hammered out of hard and struggling lives. Jesus refers to such individuals in this morning’s Gospel when he tells us that many surprising individuals are entering the Kingdom of God before the wise, the pious and the all-knowing. Our Christianity is always predicated on ordinary life, but we must wake up to the fact and the presence of God or deny Him.

 

This morning’s parable of the two brothers is the simplest and shortest of all parables. Jesus uses it to harangue the crowd of whom some have been apathetic followers, blind and stubborn in their unbelieving towards John the Baptist. He tells them, shockingly,  that tax-collectors and prostitutes will enter the Kingdom of Heaven before they do. Not only does Jesus say that the roots of their supposed faith have no depth. He declaims them in favour of rank sinners and outsiders. The meaning of the Incarnation, of Jesus coming in the flesh, is to make physical and plain the true purposes of his being as God in human form, and his is a wake-up call. The Christian calling is for us to become most truly alive. And to be truly alive is to be alive in the true likeness of God in what we are and what we are made to become. For we are God’s creatures, made in his own likeness; made to find our life’s true reconciliation in Him. We must not neglect such a gift! 

 

In Carl Jung's psychology, what he calls metanoia indicates a spontaneous attempt of the psyche to heal itself of unbearable conflict by melting down and then being reborn in a more adaptive form. This is the very issue that Jesus addresses in this small parable. Of the Christian calling to adapt to the ways of God’s love, to be open to the possibility of adaptation and change. The two brothers both reveal different parts of our nature – the one active and responsive and the other sluggish, and careless. Jesus awakens us to the possibility of contemplative communion with God for the transformation of our minds and hearts.

 

Today, there is more need than ever for us to live life which contains a contemplative element, so that life does not blow us apart. It is necessary for us to find our own still centre. ‘ In every human heart there is a God-shaped space’ said Cardinal Hume. There are many groups set up in London to help you to embrace that process. And I am most willing to put anyone interested into the way of these life-saving, contemplative, prayerful groups, which engage more closely with the Word of God and strive to be more responsive to what God may be saying in their lives. 

 

In this respect we either grow, we respond to God’s grace going before us in the ordinary and the everyday,  or not bother at all, in which case, as for the refusal of love,  a vital part of us actually dies…

 

 

 



Sermon for the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity

20th Sep 2020


Sermon for 15th Sunday after Trinity Year A

 

Christ will be glorified in my body, whether by my life or by my death.   Philippians 1.20. 

 

 

The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross has roots that go back as far as the fourth century. No less a person than St Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine was a woman ahead of her time. She made the great journey from Rome to The Holy Land, and had teams of people excavate the site of the little hill in Jerusalem, believed to be the place of crucifixion. Legend had it that three crosses were unearthed, and a large church was built over the sacred site. The Church of the Holy Sepulcre remains there to this day. The wonder of this piece of history is that The Emperor’s mother, three centuries after the death of Christ, should have been an such an ardent Christian and amazingly, an archaeologist. The larger point is something that we must admit. This is what theologians call ‘the scandal of particularity’ in relation to the life of Christ. He was born at a certain time and in a certain place. The same stones which surrounded Jesus two hundred centuries ago can still be seen and touched today. The same terrain and horizons, beckon, with the city of old Jerusalem sloping down toward the temple and the deep Kidron Valley, over which Christ wept over the city. The crucifixion has in a real sense, been unearthed.

 

The most shocking aspect of this ‘scandal of particularity’ is the means and manner of Jesus’ death on the cross. It really was like this, that the Lord of life should die should an ignominious death. How strange in a way that people wear the Cross, the instrument of human torture, around their necks. How odd it is today that you can reach the hill of Golgotha even by a short cut which leads you through a shop selling meat and spices, and trace old passages and which bring you to the roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulcre and then into to a small community of Ethiopian Orthodox monks, whose poor, bare cells inhabit the roof  space. The feeling of disclocation is very much with you as you trace these routes around what was once called Golgotha, and at the same time commune with the Christ of faith.

 

For Jonah in our first reading it is the dislocation of knowing that the being and the mind of God lies beyond anything he can possibly fathom and yet God is close and loving. It ill behoves us as Christians who call ourselves ‘Christian Church’ to suppose that we have somehow domesticated God, fixed Him or put him in a kind of box. For God shows Jonah is beyond any attempt we might make to place him, or identify him as a kind of Christian formula. And yet God is Jonah’s closest friend, because he knows him better than he knows himself and still holds out his love for him. Despite all human signs to the contrary, Jonah is the one whom God has chosen to love and to call. His calling is particular and sure.

 

This sense of powerful calling is taken up in the second reading from St Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. Paul is writing this letter from prison. In it he meditates upon his own life and death. The dislocation for him is the one which makes him feel that Christ has overcome the ancient superstition which separates life from death. The Incarnation is about our life and death. For Paul, to live is Christ and to die gain. But while this might seem high-flown rhetoric, Paul is realistic, resigned and philosophical about the life he must leave, with all its responsibilities and duties. His dislocation is presented as a dilemma which will not have its resolution in this world. This is echoed in Hamlet’s speech ‘…to be or not to be…?  

 

To die: to sleep;

No more; and by a sleep to say we end

The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wish'd.  William Shakespeare, Hamlet, 3.1

 

Our Holy Gospel tells of the workers in the vineyard who started work at different times but who each a paid a denarius. Here Jesus presents us with another part of the dislocation. This is the one in which the effect of our own calculated judgements about our status and worth is thwarted by the God who is other than what we might make him out to be. Rather like Jonah. We do not need to worry or fret about these things.  In the parable of the workers in the vineyard Jesus points the way, through the labyrinthine paths of the wanderings of the mind and heart and will, to Christ himself, and in being surely led to Christ and called into his service. 

 

Saint Teresa of Avila

(1515-1582)

 

Lines Written in Her Breviary

 

Let nothing disturb thee,

Nothing affright thee

All things are passing;

God never changeth;

Patient endurance

Attaineth to all things;

Who God possesseth

In nothing is wanting;

Alone God sufficeth.

                                                          H. W. Longfellow (translator).

 

For Paul in prison, this must mean that he is passionately and joyfully resigned to whatever life, or rather God, might have in store for him. For Jonah, this must mean he must continue to hold faith in the God who remains above and beyond anything or anyone that can be imagined. For both these men these are no mere factual observations. They emerge out of a faith which accepts the particulars of life while holding to the God who reveals himself to them through ‘the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to…’.

 

In the film, ‘Victoria and Abdul’, Queen Victoria befriends a Moslem servant, who brings to her life a refreshment and girlish joy so lacking in her court life and her duties as Queen Empress. In one scene she berates her existence as an old woman who is sick and sorrowful, anxious, power driven and saddened and depressed by life. What to do and where to turn? The servant Munshi Abdul reminds her that all these things are there, but they are as nothing to the call to not waste time in a depressive way, but to continue on our way obedient to the call of service, reaching beyond ourselves to find ourselves. This is what lies in the message of the Cross of Christ. Jesus is the One who went willingly unto death, passing through and beyond all the arguments that might have prevented him from achieving it. In his obedience to the Father’s will he makes the once and for all and vital disclosure of God’s love.  In turn this is a revelation of the kind of faith which is required of all of us. It must surely be a faith which can withstand the tests that both time and chance and dictate. It must be a faith which has not domesticated or put into a place of convenience that same God who is at one and the same time both known to us and yet importantly beyond our knowing. This is the place where we find the God of our beginning and our true end, our life and death. “Christ will be glorified in my body”, Paul says ….”….whether by my life or by my death”.

 

Let it be for us, too…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Sermon for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

13th Sep 2020


Sermon for Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross 2020

 

“We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus to live the good life as from the beginning he had meant us to live it”. Ephesians 2.10.

 

 

Schoolchildren from Argyle School have regularly visited this Church to learn about The Christian Faith. and they happen to be almost entirely Muslim. In this context it’s telling that our dedication to Christ’s Holy Cross is really so visible and emphatic. For the Cross is the one place, the one meaning and the one significance that separates Muslim and indeed Jewish understanding from the Christian one. The Cross of Christ is not saving for Jews and it’s scandalous for Muslims. Why after all should one who is proclaimed as Son of God die so ignominiously; what kind of a God is that? What can all this mean?

 

One boy some years ago looked up at the huge cross above me and very directly “How did he get there?!” We might reply, “Good question… “Yes… and why did it have to be like this?” The victory of the Cross is for Christians a strange victory that takes us into deep spiritual waters. For what is being proclaimed in the Cross is not so obvious to most of us. For many it shows the contradictory nature of the ‘good’ God. This brings us to the idea of the Cross as a kind of scandal : Whoever won a victory by such suffering and death? In order to respond to such a question we can follow the Bible passages set for us this morning and then by them, piece together an understanding. We will be following a route that encircles and embraces Christ’s own via dolorosa, his sorrowful way…A route that will show us why St Paul can say that we are ‘created in Christ’.

 

In our Old Testament reading we journey in the desert with the people of the Exodus, with Moses as their leader. The people have lost patience, even though God had promised through Moses that he would be faithful. God is not only interested in their fate, he is also engaged in it. But they are disgruntled and are given the sign of the fiery serpent set on a stand. A banner to lead them and to be with them, A sign of divine assurance and of healing against all evils. This same standard, the serpent entwined around a vertical staff, with the Cross of Jerusalem, attaches itself to the name badge of the St John’s Ambulance and is seen on our ambulances. The Cross is the preeminent sign for Christians, not just as emblematic of The Church but the sign which communicates the idea of the crucified Christ in one profound spiritual message – that you now have to lose your life in order to find it. To lose your life is in contradictory fashion to embrace those things which you cannot have or possess, especially immediate gratification and quick fixing. That your own suffering and failure, the holding on while so much remains unresolved or incomplete is a vital part of your spiritual journey and key to your spiritual maturing in Christ. The Jesus who laid down his life on the Cross gives us the living sign. It is to be etched into the Christian psyche and given expression in word and deed. This sign is the one given at Baptism. It is to be given expression in confidence and steadfastness;  in the Christian ‘holding on’. This poem, in our website from a former parish priest Fr John Ball, who was also a great poet. This is a poem asking God to help him keep going:

 

 

Orison

 

It is the holding together that is hard –
The resisting of the centrifugal forces
Acting on mind and heart
That break the tenuous links of thought and feeling.
And then there is the fear (which on black days
Transmutes itself into a dark seducer
Parodying hope) that the next revolution of the hand
Upon the sadly common clock
Will bring the final, the inoperable rupture,
and burst the dams of past
And present
And future pains.
It is the holding you must help us in:
We cannot enter heaven in fragments
The gates will not allow of that.
And you must give the means to keep it 
If you love us, as I fear you do.

 

Father John Ball, 
Parish Priest, Holy Cross Church,
1969-1977
.

 

 

The Cross helps us to hold on to those things which are vital for us just as Christ Himself held on to the very end. In this spiritual holding on we are embracing a more profound set of realities. We are living within the circumference of Christ’s deep, brave hope. 

 

St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians reminds the people that they were once without God and without hope. But he does not despair of them and declares before the Ephesian people that “we are God’s work of art” The Cross too is God’s work of art. Like many works of art it confronts us and it questions us. It will not always comfort us. It is not a work we would automatically place above ‘the mantlepiece of our minds’, but it does speak of those things which compose our own uncomfortable ‘facts of live’  which may confound and disturb us. St Paul is a passionate believer in the possibilities inherent in human nature  and he speaks against what my old spiritual director used to term ‘splitting’ - of human lives split off from their real source and so unable to thrive. He challenges them ‘…to live the good life as from the beginning as God had meant us to live it’. The Cross for Paul is life, hope and refreshment because it takes us to the place of our own true indwelling and healing. The Cross is past, present and future. We embrace the life of which it speaks even as St Paul now invites us into God’s household of faith and trust; a household we have in fact already come to inhabit.

 

Finally, our Gospel reading points us to the fact of the Cross as being the one sustained communication of the identity and purposes of God. Look at the Cross and you find that the God of love is the One who imparts that love from a place of necessary trial and suffering. This is the kind of love which takes us to the heart of our human being as we begin to recognise a way of knowing God in and with the trials we too must suffer. “We all have our crosses to bear” said one woman “And none of them are little ones”. The loving, willing compassionate sharing of pain and suffering proves healing and enables new life to emerge as if from nowhere. This is a profound mystery. If you and I are the sum total of all the loves we have shared and received, so too in Christ we are the sum total of all that that we have bravely born, of all that we have given and not known, of all that we have been - perhaps unrecognised by ourselves. In this lies the willingness to realise the creative potential of our vulnerability. This is to own ‘Christ in us; the hope of glory”. Col.1.27.

 

This Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross joyfully celebrates the Cross. We at Holy Cross are proud of our dedication; arguably the most  godly dedication of them all. The scandalous Cross has the power to hold us fast. Jesus Christ holds us fast as we trace the pattern of his life and suffering in our own lives and in the lives of others, for as St Paul reminds us “If we have become one with him in a death life his, we will surely become one in a Resurrection like his”.  Romans 6.3         

 

Amen.



 

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