antigua sun_edited-1On Sunday at 18:01 I spoke about the woman was released from being crippled from Luke 13 … twice! Once in the morning at Christ Church East Greenwich and then again in the evening at 18:01 at HTGP. Due to holidays and time off I had written my homily/talk/sermon before going away as I was returning to the parish the day before speaking.

I always challenge myself when speaking to find something new, some new approach to what I have read in the Gospel text. I was approaching the story this time from a viewpoint of staring at feet as symbolic of being self obsessed. A problem with writing so far in advance is that inevitably stuff happens in the world which can’t be ignored. While I stuck to plan with the CC congregation in the morning with the HTGP ‘crowd’, the people I have got to know better, I could not ignore the worlds news.

I had prepared a talk on the crippled woman. How being so bent over she had become in her own world, bemused by what was happening around her. I had planned to speak about how she never even noticed Jesus but was released by him. I had wanted to ask what we are being bent double by, I was wanting to ask what is it that causes us to stare at our feet  and be so self absorbed in our own world that we don’t notice or take it what is going on around us.

I was planning to ask those questions until my various screens were filled with the image of Omran Dagneesh. The image of innocence and bewilderment caused me to cry. The image of a child silent amid screaming mayhem erupting all around him filled me with such sadness, but with a sadness that cried out ‘we must stop this!’

Syria has been in the news a long time and I am shamed to say that I had become desensitised to the news. While people are being bombed each day and the image of Omran is a daily occurrence for people there … we cannot allow ourselves the luxury of switching channels and forgetting.

On Sunday I had to speak about Omran Dagneesh. I had to ask the question of what we, as HTGP, could do. We all agreed that we cannot just stand by and do nothing any longer.

On Sunday evening I guess I went back to a more ‘trad’ interpretation of the gospel story. The woman, like Omran, was totally bemused. The woman, like Omran, was crippled and in pain from a reaction to her environment. The woman, like Omran, was broken, trapped and needing lifting out of that situation.

But … the woman, unlike Omran, was released by Christ.

I don’t know what we as HTGP can do. Loads of charities want money. WE can easily write a cheque but that does not seem enough. I don’t want to write a cheque (though I have) because I want to do something that costs me. It is quite easy to send money and feel our job is done.

We have contacted a few charities working in the area to see how we can support. We are waiting to see how that might pan out. If anyone has suggestions or links please let us know. What we do know, though, is that as Christ’s hands and feet … an interpretation of the gospel story for us is that we need to attempt to be like Jesus and help to release those who need releasing.

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