Monday, 28 June 2010

Not preaching, but listening!

This weekend I will be at the United Reformed Church General Assembly and therefore not preaching.
The lectionary readings are:
2 Kings 5:1-14
Galatians 6:(1-6), 7-16
Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

and I think I see a thread running through of simplicity. True simplicity is life-enhancing, liberating, God-given.
I think we have a tendency in non-conformist circles to "push" simplicity (of worship, of churches, of lifestyle) in a way which can seem life-denying: as if beauty of form or worship-space or language was somehow wrong and sinful. As if we should deny ourselves 'nice' things to be near the kingdom.
Our readings show how we can get it wrong about 'things', but I think we have to work out for ourselves how to get it right.

Naaman wants to be made well with grand gesture & ceremony: but he learns that God can work in the unimpressive little trickle that is the Jordan. (Just as God can speak in the unimpressive little slave-girl who tells Naaman where to go).

Paul is keen that the Galatians don't attend only to the flesh and forget the spirit.

Jesus warns the ones he sends out not to be held back by trying to carry too much stuff.

Yet we are people of flesh as well as spirit. And God's presence is mediated to us in the 'stuff' of life, of other people, ultimately of Jesus. How we relate to the material without becoming materialist is a fascinating subject - and I hope those who will be preaching will come up with some fascinating answers!
Until next week...

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