Sunday, August 20, 2017

Why bother with this sermon?

Sermon for the Tenth Sunday after Trinity

It was a late night and it’s still dark and cold when the alarm goes off. The warmth of the duvet and the fact that you’ve got yourself into a nice comfortable position mean that the alarm is not the most welcome guest, as a well-aimed slipper proves.

But you’re supposed to be keeping fit. It’s time to go for a jog, get the blood pumping, the muscles working.

In the snugness of the bed, it all seems rather disagreeable. Is there any point to exercise? After all, the one thing it doesn’t stop is old age. It might stave that off for a while, but eventually, those biceps will become bingo wings, the six pack will turn into a large Capri-Sun, and the hair will fall out of your head and start sprouting through your nose. Your body is not going to last forever, is it? So why bother? Why not just enjoy life?

If it’s going to fall apart anyway, why bother?


We live in a disposable society – disposable razors, disposable nappies, disposable cameras, disposable relationships. If it breaks or doesn’t do what we want it to do – in fact, if it’s any trouble at all – we throw it away and get a new one. It’s true even of our bodies. If we don’t like the way our body looks, we can get surgery. It’s almost as if our own selves have become disposable. If we don’t like our government, or the result of a referendum, we seek to dispose of them and get a new one. We leave behind us things that are broken or unmanageable, and why? Because we do not believe that they are worth the hassle of trying to sort them out. There’s a quick fix – bin it and then get another one at the supermarket.

If we think things are disposable because they aren’t worth the hassle, then what is worth the hassle? What do the people around us think is worth taking pains to work at?


We see Our Lord in tears. He weeps bitterly over Jerusalem. In His mind’s eye, He can see it desolate, fallen down, destroyed; its people gone, its temple gone, its glory gone. All because they will not recognise Him as their Saviour and Messiah. All because they won’t let Him in to make His repairs in their lives. They can’t be bothered to recognise Him. Indeed, their leaders say that, even though He is completely innocent, it is better for Him to die than upset the status quo. Our Lord Himself becomes disposable.

Yet, Our Lord does not weep for Himself. He weeps for Jerusalem. And then He goes down to teach in the temple. But why bother? If it’s all going to be laid waste by the Romans in forty years’ time, there’s no point in going down into the city to teach.


Surely, this says something about our system of worth. If the Lord will still teach in a temple that will be destroyed, to people who will reject Him, knowing that it will result in His great pain and suffering, then this is either an act of great waste – in which case the Lord Himself becomes the Prodigal Son – or it is an act which demonstrates the supreme worth of that which is broken, the worth of that which does not work properly, the worth of that which is doomed for destruction.

Again, in our Lord’s ministry, our system of values is rocked to its core. Nothing in the eyes of God is disposable, for He made it and knows it from the tiniest piece of matter to galactic superclusters roaming the infinity of Space. No sparrow can escape His gaze; no human being is unobserved; no sin goes unnoticed.

He reaches out to those broken in sin because He sees them despite their sin. All they need to do is grasp His saving hand. Yet, it seems that they do not see the worth in turning back to him, and so dispose of Him, only to find themselves disposable in the hands of the Evil One who values only His miserable Godless pleasure.


Our Lord seeks to transform our lives. He loves us so much that He wants us to see our worth beyond those things we value more than we should. And if we do not seek Him, He will weep for us, and die for us. He comes to repair the broken, and yet we prefer us as we are, rather than be transformed into what He intends us to be.

Sometimes, we dispose of so much that we throw ourselves into the dustbin as well.

1 comment:

Fr Tom said...

A very thought-provoking sermon, Father. I just finished emptying out a storage unit I have been keeping 'stuff' in for several years, and it felt so good to finally realize that I neither needed nor wanted what I had been keeping there.