Friday, 24 April 2009

Sermon 26/4/09

I may elaborate on this as I preach it, or I might keep it deliberately short and simple - but these are the notes:

Easter 3 1 John 3: 1-7 Luke 24: 36b – 48

There are many Easter stories we might be used to hearing or seeing on film or TV, and quite a lot of them seem to involve food and drink. Jesus eating the last supper with his friends, being offered wine as he hangs on the cross, the women with spices finding empty tomb as the sign of resurrection, and the moment when Jesus breaks bread and the disciples on the road to Emmaus recognize him.

But Luke tells us this odd story – Jesus appears to his friends and they are amazed but also a bit scared – they wonder if Jesus is just a ghost or if this is just wishful thinking. So Jesus eats a piece of cooked fish. Not very glamorous, is it? Not very exciting or ..well 'Bible-y' really.

Bread, wine - we're used to them as symbols rich with meaning and significance - but fish is just a bit of supper left over on someone's plate. But perhaps that's the point - Jesus is real: not a ghost, not an nice idea, real life, down-to-earth - back from the dead, but back - really!

The followers of Jesus have to learn that he is alive and will be with them always – but now in the flesh-and-blood way they’ve known for the last 3 years – but still really with them. They need to learn to look for God in the ordinary.
And so today, as modern-day followers of Jesus, we are still looking for God in the ordinary things: in water, in Ben’s young life, in a loving family.

These are ordinary – and also wonderful things: and God is here with us.

God’s love is ordinary because we can know God’s love in these real, everyday things we can see and hear & touch. But God’s love is also wonderful because it is this real life love which reaches out to touch everyone here. It is not just for Ben – it is for everyone: and it is real and amazing and deep and changes everything.

When Jesus ate that bit of fish he wanted his followers to know he is alive and with them and that his love is greater than death. So they don’t say 'oh: fish, right' but so they say 'wow: Jesus wonderful!'.

Jesus is alive: he is with us: and he calls us to follow him. He promises to be with us, and he shows us that his love for us is even stronger than death.

So everyone is welcome here – and everyone can eat and drink as a sign that God is with us. Thankfully we don’t have cold fish – but the bread and wine of communion. And in these ordinary and wonderful things – this bread & wine, the water of baptism and the life of Ben – God comes to us.


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