Sermon: Flesh and Spirit

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Sermon 6 April 2014 St Mary’s Whitby

Ezek 37:1-14,Ps 130, Rom 8:6-11, John 11:1-45

Today’s readings all deal in some aspect with life and death, with flesh and the spirit.

I like watching medical programmes on TV, and one of my current favourites is ’24 hours in A and E’. I was watching this last week, where someone had been wheeled into Resus, when I noticed the sign for the Resus department on the wall. R.E.S.U.S. It’s only one letter away from Jesus. This got me thinking – is Jesus our Resus?

In our culture we are so frightened of death, and our medical protocol often involves lots of technology to prolong life – the image of the paddles charging up, the doctor calling clear! as the patient’s heart is shocked into life is very familiar from our TV dramas. (I’m thinking maybe I watch too much TV?)

There is a finality about physical death that we all rail against, wanting life to be resuscitated no matter what the intervention.

No one wants to think that physical death is the end of the story, and every society and religion over many thousands of years has had some sort of understanding that life goes on after physical death. Continue reading

Sermon: The one who sent Him is true

John 7:1- 30
The One who sent Him is true.
Today’s gospel comes from the part of the passion story where the action is really speeding up. If it had music, like a film, maybe we would hear the high violin notes of psycho, underpinned by the low bass rumbles of Jaws! The tension is getting high – in our story Jesus wants to go tot he temple to take part in the Festival of the Booths, and is criticised for showing his face in public, when it is widely known that he is a wanted man.
The main problem for those who saw him was confusion – they knew he claimed to be the messiah, and many did in fact believe this. But others knew his background, and couldn’t believe that the authorities would acknowledge him to be Messiah. Still others found it hard to believe that the authorities would believe in Jesus, and wondered why they didn’t arrest him there and then.
There are two audiences for Jesus’ teaching – the pilgrims who would come from out of town for the festival, and may not have known about Jesus’ notoriety, and the local people, who knew exactly who he was. When they heckle him, saying they know who he is, Jesus turns it on its head when he agrees that they do indeed know him, but then he points out that they don’t know the one who sent him. Telling the people that the one who sent him is true is hinting at God being his source. Jesus is still not clear, rather allowing his words to resonate in his hearers’ hearts. ‘The one who sent me is true.” That is a phrase that would stay with the hearers long after the events of the week to come. Let it stay with you too, that the one who sent Jesus to the earth is the truth.