Sermon, 23 August 2015
Sermon Trinity 12
Readings: Psalm 84, Ephesians 6, 10-20 & John 6, 56-59
Well it has to be said that today’s psalm is majestic; language at its best and most beautiful. Language capable of lifting our spirits and taking us into a different realm. In religious terms today’s readings, and especially the Psalm, evoke a sense of transcendence, taking us out of the realm of the ordinary, mundane and day-to-day.
Let’s just consider some of the verses from the Psalm:
How lovely is your dwelling place O Lord of hosts
My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord
Happy are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion
For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in tents of wickedness
As parents have suggested to their offspring throughout the generations: ‘they just don’t write lyrics like that any more.’
And yet, the psalmist really is the lyricist ‘par excellence!’ And, surely if the wisdom of the psalmist is to be believed surely no one would reject such a divine and holy perspective?
And yet the Gospel reading tells us that many do.
The difficulty is perhaps not in the words themselves, for they are truly transcendent, but in Jesus’ assertion the way to the ‘dwelling place’ – eternal life – is through Jesus. Jesus is the ‘word’ of God as expressed in the Psalm. You see those who rejected Jesus simply could not, no would not, accept that he was, and is, the revelation of God in human form.
And I suspect that part of the reason, at least, is that religious folk both back then and now are far happier constructing God in their image. Yes, people of faith are happy to accept the metaphor as God as the ‘bread of life,’ perhaps even Jesus as the ‘bread of life,’ but many, many people aren’t content with simply receiving their ‘daily bread,’ as a pure gift (grace), they also want to be the master baker! But, as Jesus constantly reminds us throughout the bread of life readings it is the Father who is the Master Baker; not us.
In the Gospel reading Peter gives us some words to really live by: ‘Lord to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.
And that is the understanding we must get to. We must firstly believe, in order that we might come to know Jesus, not just in the here and now, but for all eternity.
Perhaps during the course of the week you might like to utter these words quietly to yourself, see if you can engrave them on your heart: ‘Lord to whom can we go, you have the words of eternal life.’ And, then you might like to add ‘Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ, King of Endless Glory.’
They might just be the most transformative words you ever utter! Amen.
Rev. Andrew Lightbown
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