Saturday, 4 July 2009

Baptism sermon notes

This is one sermon (the shorter one) - I will also post the other - the first page is the same, but then they diverge!

God is speaking (Ezekiel 2:1-5 Mark 6:1-13)

I wonder if any of us here would say that God has spoken to us?
Perhaps it would feel strange to admit that (does God still speak to people?) – or dangerous (people might think we were mad) – or just not ‘us’ somehow (that whole booming voice out of the clouds thing).

The reading we heard from Ezekiel talks about God speaking to him – but he’s in the Old Testament, so you expect that sort of thing more. In the bit we read today, Ezekiel says ‘I heard a voice’ – but this isn’t the only way God speaks to Ezekiel, and maybe some of the other ways seem nearer to our own lives.
The very first time Ezekiel is in touch with God, he sees something – a storm coming, then as he continues to look he sees a wheel in the storm, ( you might know the song ‘Ezekiel saw the wheel…”) and as he looks again he sees the glory of God – he is amazed by what he sees and is convinced that God is present in it.

Ezekiel continues to see things and hear things – and sometimes what he hears is described as the voice of God and sometimes he says ‘the Word of the Lord came to me’ which seems to be more an inner conviction that he knows what God wants him to do.

So even for Ezekiel there are different ways of God speaking to him. Directly and indirectly – in what he sees and what he hears.

And then Ezekiel himself is sent to be a prophet – someone who speaks to people on God’s behalf – who speaks out for God.
So how do we hear God speak to us?

Perhaps in the birth of a child. This is a miracle by any definition of the word. A new person, an emerging individual, a blessing to the family and to the world.
It is quite right that we come to give thanks for Henry’s life today and to baptize him as a sign of the love God has for him – a love that will be there for him and will be ready to speak to him throughout his life.

Perhaps through this very act of baptism God will speak to us. The good news of God’s love for Henry is also the good news of God’s love for each of us. God’s love has blessed Ange & Jeff through the birth of Henry and they are responding to God’s love in their own baptism today.

Perhaps God will speak to us through the Gospel reading we already heard. People who knew Jesus best – the people of his own village – were at first confused ‘How could this son of Mary be the one through whom God has come to us?’. Yet as Jesus continued to teach and heal more and more people came to see that this was God become human, God incarnate, God with us.
Jesus sent his followers out to speak to others, to spread the good news of God’s love: like Ezekiel they were prophets, speaking out to others on God’s behalf.

And Jesus tells his followers to share bread and wine & to allow those gifts to speak to them of the love of God in the giving of Jesus’ body and blood - his dying and rising in love for all of us.

God is speaking – are we listening? Amen

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