Midnight Mass Sermon

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

 9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

How do you see faith?

St John saw it like a word, like a song. And this song, this rhythm has been playing since the dawn of time, it is a song that moves us, and people throughout the ages have heard this rhythm and played along with it… and when we do something mean or we gossip or we steal or we lie, it is discordant… and when we see something kind or loving, it lifts our souls because the person is playing the song, the song that is within our soul. And it can be that people who say they have no religion play to the sound of the song, and others who are very religious confuse us because they seem to be hitting all the wrong notes…. And the song just keeps on playing.

All through the Bible the will of God is like a breath and in this passage John doesn’t refer to Jesus and God’s Son but instead the “Word”, Jesus is like God’s breath. That is how intimate God and Jesus are related. I see “The Word” as God’s breath, God’s intention, God’s song, God personified.

The passage then tells us that in the Word was life and light and the light shines in the darkness…  I see this as the song playing, the rhythm of God being there, whether others are playing it or not… it resonates through everything.. through us…

Now John the Baptist came as a witness to the light… and that is the same for us. Our job is to try to listen to the song and to try to play in tune, even if we aren’t joined by others.. we need to keep playing. And we are the priesthood of all believers – each of us has a priestly duty to try to listen as best we can for the song, listen for God, look for the light and then to order our lives to that rhythm.

It is my belief that we are most “ourselves” when we are in tune with God. We are Children of God – it isn’t that we have to repress our personalities, or put a Christian mask on… when we are most in tune with God we are most ourselves. I don’t think that when we are in tune with God we are all clones of Jesus either, we are all created differently, unique, each like a different instrument in the orchestra, playing our little bit as best we can…

And so what is darkness? I believe that it is the places in our communities, in our families and in our hearts where that tune doesn’t seem to reach. It isn’t the odd wrong note, more it is the places where fear or hatred or hopelessness dominate. But we have hope – we need to keep playing the song.. and we have hope – in the words of St John “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it” or in the words of Desmund Tutu:

 

Goodness is stronger than evil;

love is stronger than hate;

light is stronger than darkness;

life is stronger than death;

victory is ours through God who loves us.

Amen

All Welcome to Christmas Services in this Parish!

P1020463A vicar is reported in the Telegraph as describing people who go to church only at Christmas as hypocrites.  Well, I don’t agree!

People come to church at different times for different reasons and I see absolutely no reason not to welcome them – indeed I see every reason to welcome them.  Our role is to help people encounter God, and move forwards in their faith – whether that be at Christmas and Easter or a Wedding or Funeral.

So if you are in our parish come on in – you will receive a warm welcome.