Below is a copy of the homily I gave at Holy Trinity on Sunday evening. Hopefully we will sort audio and podcasting of these soon from the Holy Trinity website.
This has also been copied to the discussion area of the HT website for questions and discussion …. why not go there and have your say …
The bible reading for the day was Luke 4 : 14-21:
14 Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. 15 He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
I have an issue with how I live my life.
A life where, if I am totally honest with you, I find it hard to focus on the task in hand ….. my mind always shoots ahead.
What will happen next week? where will I be in 5 years? 10 years?
Will I still be in Greenwich?
Will I be at a cathedral again …. and what about being famous in the future….. well maybe not being famous … but being known. Known for doing something good … then maybe the Bishop will reward me! Maybe if I do something good that he will guarantee my post beyond the 3 years it has …..in the 2 years and 7 months I have left here what should i do….
What will my children be doing?
Where will I live? who will be my friends ….
Sometimes I think so far in the future I confuse myself and forget where I am.
I wake up with a start in meetings ….. and I’d like to say I’ve disguised it well ….. but I think people notice …. it’s in the stare!
As much as I revel in this …. I don’t actually like this side of my character …. but there seems to be nothing I can do about it!
I can limit it, I can ration it ….. but I always always …. always look for what is next!
It does not mean I am unhappy with where I am or what I am doing …. its just that I think I am always looking for what is next, for the next place to be, the next exciting thing to be involved in. It’s just how my brain works!
What frustrates me too is that I know where this behaviour comes from.
Which makes me so much more want to be able to stop being like this.
It comes from living with a mother that never allowed us to enjoy what we had
If we had toys out we were immediately told about tidying away and warned not to make a mess.
I grew up in weymouth, a seaside town …. a seaside town has sand.
I was not allowed to bring sand into the house … in any way, shape or form. So i spent hours on the beach thinking through strategies of how i would de-sand myself on the way home. This involved bizarre stuff like hanging upside down from trees, running against the wind, and other things I won’t mention
But of course I couldn’t get rid of the sand. Sand hides ….. it’s like it sticks in unknown places waiting to get you in trouble! Sand would always follow me home …. into every room, every space, every lightly treaded footprint!
Always thinking about what I was to do next.
Scared to enjoy too much what I happened to be doing through fear of what was around the corner
And as an adult
I can still think that way
Still think what horror or delight is around the corner
Struggle to live naturally in the moment
Struggle to enjoy what is happening right here and now
Unable to enjoy the moment
Incapable of fully enjoying today.
And yet today is where it is at
Today is the first teaching word that Christ utters in the bible
Jesus reads these words from Isaiah which announces both a fulfilment of prophecy and what Jesus is all about. These words come from Is 61, a servant song. If we take this literally the passage says Christ is God’s servant who brings into reality the longing and the hope of the poor, the oppressed and the imprisoned.
You see for people like me who live in the future …. or for others who live in the past …. we live in danger of totally missing the present … the now! We become oppressed and imprisoned to what went before or to what might be in the future. Our life is impoverished, small, and empty. We are absent to God, others, and even our selves. We are unavailable to those we love, to the needs of the world, and to the fullness of life that God offers.
Thats no way to live. Because Jesus offers us freedom …. a freedom to be ourselves, to be fully alive, the freedom to be fully christlike. That can only happen in the here and now … today!
We all come with different stuff that means we are the oppressed or the poor or the imprisoned. In the midst of these circumstances, when life gets really difficult, it is easy and tempting to run away, to get stuck in the past, or fixate on the future. Yet, Jesus comes to us today, here, now. He is not lost in our past or hidden in an unknown future. The only place we can meet Jesus is today, in this present moment, in whatever the circumstances of our life might be.
So … today, the age of God’s reign is here
Today we are church
today we are where God intended
today we are making a difference with God
today we are anointed
to hear the gospel
to have our brokenness healed
and to be set free to be ourselves.
Today ’s good news is that we are able to receive Jesus