4th June 2017
Revd. Cheryl Collins
Sometimes a poem or a story can give us a picture. Sometimes we have to trust that our words can be taken up and used to create that picture in hearts and minds, whether we feel they are adequate or not. Sometimes we have to let go and trust God.
In the beginning was love, a love so vast and all consuming that even though love continuously flowed between Father, Son and Spirit, still love yearned for more to love and so created a universe to love.
At the heart of love is relationship, that gift in which I carry your heart within me, I carry it in my heart and you carry me in your heart. That relationship is most easily understood by us as the relationship between a parent and a child. And between the Father and the Son there is an unbreakable bond of love.
The Father loves and trusts the Son with going to the far country to rescue all that the Father created in love and bring us safe home. The Son stands in the love of the Father as the rock on which his whole identity is built- you are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased. Safe in that love, and trusting utterly in the Father, the Son can give himself completely so that the Father can invite all that is created into that relationship of never ending mutual love and trust.
But we do not know who we are.
Sometimes we resist our identity as beloved Sons and Daughters, we want to believe we made ourselves by our own abilities and actions.
Sometimes we struggle to believe our identity, we feel overwhelmed by sadness or a sense of our own unworthiness and with a sense of the impossibility of the task we strive to deserve the gift, which is already ours.
So the Father sends the Spirit, prodigally overflowing with the Father’s love and power into the far country of a rebellious and hurting world to draw creation back into the embrace of the Father and the Son.
The day of Pentecost was celebrated by the Jewish people as a memorial of covenant renewal, celebrating the bringing together of a group of insignificant tribes to become the people of God.
Once we were not a people, now the people of God.
On the Pentecost we celebrate today, covenant renewal turned into new covenant. The prodigal Spirit of God came to the fearful and lost disciples and made them the first fruits of God’s kingdom people.
Today, God says how the world is now it not the last word on how God created the world to be, there is more, more healing, more hope, more life, more love and we are given the first fruits of this to enjoy and to share.
Today, God empowers the disciples to move from fear to freedom.
Today, God empowers them to move from secrecy to sharing.
Today, God declares that the day of the Lord is a day of salvation not of condemnation.
Today, God shows us the truth about Godself, about Jesus, about the world and about ourselves.
Today, God exposes the world’s definitions of sin, righteousness and judgement and says that they are NOT God’s definitions.
Today, God calls all peoples to be one in Christ.
Today, God invites us to keep choosing for God, to keep remembering who we are in Christ, beloved children, sharing in the relationship between Father and Son.
Today, God says you are my beloved Sons and Daughters, not one of you is expendable, exploitable or treatable as an object.
Today, God says as my children you have everything you need, you do not need to treat objects as God.
Today, God says that as my children you share in all the gifts that love brings, the gifts that reconcile and renew and bind us together in love, making that love a reality.
Today, God says that we are the place where God’s glory is present.
Through the power of the Spirit we can be part of bringing God’s future into the present as agents of change and compassion.
Today, God invites us to keep saying ‘Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in us the fire of your love.’
Today, God offers us the intimacy of living in the Spirit of Christ so we can walk in the Spirit. That is, so that we can participate in the life of Christ in our own lives.
Today, God’s Spirit invites us to dream dreams and to walk forward into the new future that God is preparing for us, to be part of the new future that God is creating for our world.
God says to the weary and broken, lean on me and let my love make you whole. God says to the cautious and fearful, holding tight to their old way of living, let go and let my Spirit blow where it will.
Today, God says don’t worry because you are Anglicans, I won’t lead you to make a spectacle of yourself and cause you embarrassment, I just want you to experience my life in all its fullness.
The glory of God is life fully lived.
St. Augustine said ‘Solvitur ambulando’ it is solved by walking. We can only discover more if we keep on walking, keep on being ready to take the next step.
‘God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.’ was the last song of King David.
To open the book of our hearts is to let ourselves by formed by God, to practice spiritual disciplines that help us create space in our lives where God can continue to transform us.
Where God can help us more fully experience ourselves as beloved Sons and Daughters, where God can help us live into the fullness of life as God’s creative agents of change and compassion.
Where our hearts can be touched as we open them in prayer.
Where our desires can be ordered in holiness as we let God be our heart’s one desire.
Where our hearts can overflow with compassion as we see the world and everyone in it as God’s beloved too.
Where in studying God’s words to us through the Bible, we let God speak truth into our lives.
Where life in the Spirit helps us point as signposts to God’s new way of living, to live out God’s mission of reconciliation.
Where connecting all our lives up to God makes eternal life here and now in our lives, overflowing into the lives of those around us.
We are called and loved by God the Father and kept safe in Jesus Christ, may we follow the Spirit’s steps and be led in the dance of God’s love.
Today and every day, God invites us to come to God’s table.
Come to the table because we are hungry.
Come to the table because we have needs, we are fragile and beautiful, we are human.
Come to the table so that we can stop doing, stop trying, stop hiding behind our masks.
Come to the table so that God may nourish us, give us food for the journey.
Allow God to meet your needs, this is not a place where you have to pretend not to have needs, where you have to keep going faster, going bigger, going without, powering on through.
God’s table is a place of safety, a place of rest, a place of humanity, where we are allowed to be as fragile as we feel.
The table is the beating heart of our life together, the centre, the sustainer of life and health.
Come to the table.