Sermon notes – Sunday July 22nd, 2018
8 after Trinity – Year B
Making the two one – One Body – One Direction
Return after trip to UK – doubly jet lagged!
Where am I? What time is it? Profoundly Dislocated and Disoriented
Out of touch with existence – those things which properly locate us in the world – Tim and Space
End of June this year – Fb posts celebrating Anniversaries – a place in time. Profoundly ordinary, except, they were from folk celebrating the 20th anniversary of their ordination . . . And this I found troubling -indeed I always have.
England – two colleagues celebration services for 40 years of ordained ministry – whilst a curate – the Revd John Vipond – 70 years!
But no one celebrating the years since their baptism . . . That which Unites all Christians – their baptism. gives us a Place – in One Body. The celebration of that which divides??
Church docs – you’d think they had this right – but no. GSTHW16 clergy care – “being under Holy Orders in an ecclesiastical office is a claim by God on the whole of the life of ordained persons. Ordination changes the relationship between the ordained person, God and the rest of the body of Christ. Through ordination they enter a place of responsibility within the Church that is accountable to God.”
This had me screaming, NO!! Baptism does this!! Not ordination
Oh for the day when the church makes as much fuss over a baptism as it does over an ordination . . .
We believe in the priesthood of all believers – this goes back to Exodus – first the people are declared to be ‘a kingdom of priests’, Then you have the specific priestly order within Israel, the Aaronic priesthood – which reveals the character of the whole people. But we have at once elevated the ministry of the ordained Over the whole body – and minimised baptism . . . to the cost of us all
St Paul – For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. – Jew and Gentile – Jews Clean – Gentiles unclean. Two classes – out of them he makes a Holy Temple, his One body.
The separation of lay and ordained is contrary to God’s work in Christ
The difference has been exacerbated in our lifetime by liturgical changes, in the shape of the Eucharist
Before going to the UK we were exploring this true nature of Space and the flow of Gods Grace, from Goe, through the people of God who look to him for Life itself – and then out into the world. This was modelled at the Eucharist. The liturgical shape embodied the spiritual reality – everyone face East. East towards the Sun, that which in the Creation speaks to us of the eternal.
At baptism, you faced west to renounce the devil and all his works, and then you faced East towards the rising Sun, to be oriented to God, that God might have a total claim on your life
At the Eucharist we have the great thanksgiving – offered to ??? God! By??? the whole people of God!! We are to be directed all of us to God – but back in the last century, the clergy started to face the people – put another way, the Church in the West turned in on itself. We faced one another, and it is perhaps no surprise that the rapid decline in the life of the church dates from around the same time . . .
Rather we should all face the same way – towards that Life that is the bread from heaven, with which the LORD feeds his people.
Time and space are Created Realities, they are given us to embody the KoG amongst ourselves in our worship. They Matter, because they are part of the Creation which St Paul says “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.” So supremely the invisible Logos, the Word of God, takes on flesh, the unseen becomes seen, the eternal shares in our temporality – and thus all creation is revealed as a manifestation of His glory
Last time, I recounted how we were a people Eternally oriented – towards the Father in our life together – and so oriented as eternal within time, so also in space – we turn together to God in worship