Only a short sermon for the 8am (Mothering Sunday being marked at the main services - and I'm not preaching)
Numbers 21: 4-9
John 3: 14-21
The story from Numbers is a strange one to our ears.
The people of God, wandering for 40 years have many times when they grumble to Moses about their fate. On this occasion , they are punished for it – God sends poisonous snakes & then provides a cure through the symbol of the very thing that has caused them harm.
John, in his gospel, has Jesus refer to this story, when he speaks of his own ‘being lifted up’. John’s gospel is full of signs which reveal who Jesus truly is and what his mission is: this is one of those signs – the sign of being lifted up.
This could refer to Jesus’ crucifixion – being literally lifted up on the cross. Then that symbol of the very thing which causes people harm – evil and suffering an death – becomes the cure for humanity. When Jesus dies he transforms death and we need no longer be afraid.
Or ‘being lifted up’ might be a reference to Jesus resurrection and ascension through the power of God – elevating humanity’s sights from the squalor of earth ot the beauty and glory of heaven.
And here at this communion we see Christ lifted up – as we offer bread and wine with the sacrifice of our praise. Sickened by our failure to be God’s true people, we see Christ lifted up – and our failure is wiped away by his great love for us.
Let us celebrate Christ – cure for all our sickness.
Thanks be to God. Amen