9 after Trinity

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Readings

1 Kings 19.9-18
Romans 10.5-15
Matthew 14.22-33

Sermon

In our readings from the Matthew and 1 Kings we see Jesus and God appearing in an unexpected way.

Before my role as a mission enabler I spent 14 years lifeguarding… in l l of that time I have never seen someone walk on water…I have seen kids running really fast with their legs spinning around like a looney toons cartoon character running off the edge of a cliff before that expected fall, but never have I seen some one walk on water and yet in our gospel, we have the unexpected…Jesus striding across the water, flesh and bone, a physical object too heavy to remain above water, walking across it to the disciples in the boat….just pause, think about that moment. The figure walking across the water, doing the impossible, the unexpected. What would you make of that moment? Would you be joyful? Would you be fearful?

And in our reading from Kings, Elijah fresh from the momentous faith building moment where God sends fire from the heavens to burn up the wet sacrifice in front all of the prophets of Baal and priming the nation that God is the One True GOD, from there we see Elijah tired, dejected hiding in a cave . And the God that so loudly and visibly displayed his power through the fire, speaks to Elijah, but not in the rock crushing wind nor in the power of the earthquake, nor in the consuming fire…but God spoke to Elijah in the gentle whisper. What would you make of that moment? Would you be ready to hear the whisper of God?

Two biblical moments where God demonstrates that he can move in unexpected ways. He is not just a normal God.

At the moment we are living in ‘unprecedented’ times and while this fact cannot be proved I think it would be fair to say that never in the history of the English language has the term unprecedented been used so much and so widely, Due to the devastation coronavirus has had on the world in which we live, the normal day to day lives we have known for years and decades has been rocked to its core. Many of us have been forced to slow down or to even stop. We may have entered into a lockdown mentality, where the world has got smaller, limited to just those we have seen on zoom, or those we have been living with. The world is not as it once was, but yet as lockdown lifts, We are poised and ready to jump or be flung into a ‘new normal.’

And I wonder where God is amongst all of this…

…I know that God is the God of all things. God is the god of normal, but he is also the God of extra-ordinary, the creator of the Malverns and craftsman of the Wyre forest. This is not just a normal God.

My wife and I are very blessed to parent two lovely, yet slightly spirited children. We love each uniquely and tended to both of their specific needs, not just in love and food, but also recognising that our children had very different personalities, our eldest, our daughter loves animals…she has opened for own ‘pretendy animal vet doctor shop’ where exotic animals are treated for all sorts of ailments, crocodiles have baddy toes bandaged, kookaburras are given honey and lemon to help them regain their laugh, and turtles are given tickles to help them feel less shy and to stop hiding in their shells. However our son, the younger, loves trucks and diggers, splashing them through mud pits, zooming around corners and chuck-chucka-chucka-ing them up the walls. Both children have quirks and passions that need to be individually approached, valued and nurtured. We as parents can’t force our son to love animals the way our daughter does, nor can we make our daughter love trucks the way our son does. But yet they share a passion for aviation, be it planes, helicopters or a lost helium balloon flowing across the sky. They both stop, stare, smile and wave. While each child is different they still share common interests.

This I think is a little metaphor for church during this time. We have our pre-covid established services and yet many churches during-covid will have to had to adjust and adopt new ways of ‘being church’. Both ways are valid yet both ways are different and yet they share the common ground both should be missionary serving the community.

As lockdown lifts, our post-covid church landscape may look different, there is opportunity to nurture and develop both the pre and the during covid church to bring in new blend of post-covid churches where different missional expressions of the Christian faith are practiced.

Our readings showed us a God that worked in unexpected ways. And I believe that that he is still moving in an unexpected and unprecedented ways.  The church and its Christians need to follow God into the unexpected, listening to the voice that whispers and following the feet that walk upon the waves.

And I think as I start to reflect, plan and pray, slowly moving myself of out a lockdown mentality, maybe just maybe, God is whispering to me, Be brave, be bold, for I know the plans I have for you, they are plans for adventure and plans to bring you and your world into a full life.’

And I wonder what he is whispering to you…


Page last updated: 15th September 2020 9:47 AM
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