Sunday, October 27, 2019

Punishing parties

Sermon for the nineteenth Sunday after Trinity

Have you ever been to a party and had the experience where you’re not entirely sure that you are in the same conversation as the people around you? You’ve somehow managed to be standing sort of near a group of people and there is a discussion going on but you’ve missed bits of it. Are you near enough into the group so as to be included or not? It’s a bit of a social dilemma.

Perhaps, then, you can sympathise with Samuel who has come to the house to hear this Jesus fellow and finds the place rammed full of people. He see Jesus there and he seems to be having a discussion with those who are closest to Him. Occasionally He says something to the crowd and then, at other times, Samuel can hear words which he is not sure are meant for his ears. You can understand that he gets a little confused.

He is rather grateful, then, when one of the disciples, a largish chap with a big voice and whose tunic appears to be covered in fish oil asks Jesus who He is talking to. Jesus doesn’t seem to give an answer to this question. Clearly, some people hear what He says, and some people do not.

Why is this?


We have to understand that, when Jesus wants to be heard, then He will make sure that everyone He’s talking to is actually able to hear Him. He gets in a boat to talk to a crowd of people who are desperate to hear the word of God. He speaks to them on a hill side so that they can all hear. They may not be able to understand what He says, but it is clear when He is talking to them. This is why we have been given the gift of the Holy Scriptures, so that we, too, might hear the words of Jesus.

But here we are with Samuel, only half-hearing what is being said.
We seem to be hearing two things. The first is the need to be watchful and vigilant for the Son of Man is coming. We remember that Our Lord tells us the parable of the wise virgins and the foolish virgins. The wise virgins are ready for the Bridegroom’s arrival and enter into the feast. The foolish virgins are unprepared and are shut out from the feast. Clearly Jesus has said this out loud and St Peter is confused as to whether Jesus means to tell this to all around.

The second thing we hear is that stewards who have been given charge over the household must also wait faithfully for the return of the householder. Those who do are rewarded with greater responsibility and honour. Those who do not are punished. Those who listen to God and do not do His will are punished severely. Those who do not know God’s will are punished less severely.

Why are we only half-hearing this?


The second parable is meant for the Apostles and for those who serve the Lord as leaders of His flock. These words are for the clergy, the bishops, priests and deacons. If we hear those words apply to us, then perhaps this is a sign that God is calling us to serve Him and His people as clergymen. This is why not everyone can receive this. Not everyone can be a steward, but all are servants of the Living God.

We all have to be ready for the return of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and this means hearing His will for the Church and then carrying it out. Those who do not, those who squander their lives as children of God in the service of their own bellies will not be allowed to enter the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.

Those priests, however, who do not listen to God will be cut asunder. They will be punished most severely. The priests who do not know the will of God will be punished, too, but in a way that corrects and brings them back to God. The punishment that priests receive will be much, much greater than the people they lead astray! It will be better for them to have a millstone tied around their necks!


If Samuel hears these words in the second parable then He has received His vocation. The ways of the world are to be resisted and the way of the Cross embraced. This is hard and Jesus is uncompromising but with good reason. He wants everyone to enjoy the Wedding Feast of the Lamb and not shut out from it permanently. If the way is hard then we must be diligent in prayer for each other. The priests of God also will be very grateful for each and every prayer offered up for them on their behalf. The good priest wants to serve. It is every Christian’s duty to help him do so.

United Kingdom divided?

Sermon for the Feast of Christ the King

What do you think about this?

The Prime Minister advises the Queen to suspend Parliament. The Queen suspends Parliament. Parliament takes the matter to the Law Courts who say that the suspension of Parliament was illegal and thus never happened. The Law rules that Queen did not suspend Parliament.

What we see here is a bit of a constitutional crisis in the United Kingdom over the issue of Brexit. Whether Brexit is right or wrong isn’t the issue: it’s the effect that this has been having on our society. The Queen has been shown to be a pawn in the hands of politicians who are seeking to broach an issue which has divided the British people almost exactly in half. The Queen is not a focus for unity any longer.


Of course, there is a big difference between constitutional monarchs who are part of a democratic machine and absolute monarchs who call the shots. There are very few absolute monarchs now and those that are do not usually refer to themselves as King or Queen but rather keep up the pretence of being a democratic leader. In the past century, we have seen how democracy can be manipulated so as to produce some truly horrifying political leaders who have taken on absolute authority.

Even in the Holy Scripture, kings are absolute rulers who are more military leaders than part of a constitution that keeps their countries in order. Reading through the Books of Kings and the Chronicles and we find kings described as doing good in the sight of the Lord or doing evil in the sight of the Lord. Some become pawns of Babylon, others pawns of their wives. The evil kings raise up false gods. The good kings tear down the idols and restore the worship of the One True God Whom we worship with them. What is interesting is that there doesn’t often seem to be any discussion about division or devolution in many of these kings. Most of the people just follow what their king does, or at least that’s the impression we frequently get.


There is one big account of division when the majority of Israel breaks away following King Rehoboam’s decision to stamp his authority. Rehoboam is left with Judah alone and this division continues right up until the captivity of Babylon. Rehoboam’s mistake is to listen to the wrong advisors who tell him to increase the oppression of the people.
Kings and Queens can only be the focus for the unity of the country when they are at one with the people and embody within themselves the qualities which their subjects can respect, trust and support. The trouble is that we are often given reasons why our political leaders should not be respected, trusted or supported.

Behind this, though, is the fact that, in order to be a united society, we cannot always expect to have our own way no matter how passionately we feel. 
Division occurs when the sin of pride takes over and makes us unwilling to find common ground.  If there is to be any common ground between Brexiteer and Remainer then both sides have to compromise on the issue. If there is to be any common ground between Monarchist and Republican then there has to be some compromise.


We are already in an Absolute Monarchy because that is precisely what God is. King Jesus calls the shots but He does so with His people’s welfare at the centre of His kingdom. 
Throughout His ministry He calls for human beings to recognise the common humanity that we all possess and which He has chosen to possess too. Yes, Christianity is probably regarded as the most divided religion on the planet, but each group of Christians will have Jesus Christ at the centre of their worship. Everyone who calls themselves Christian has some focus on Christ the King. Like the divisions in society, the divisions between Christians are all because of human pride somewhere along the line. When Our Lord Jesus Christ comes again in glory, Christians all over the world will flock to hear His word and do His bidding and find unity in Him.


This should be the Christian principle for choosing our leaders. As Christians, we must learn to see Christ in every human being on the planet, even in our worst enemy. We can only do this through being active in the practice of our religion. The more we see Christ in others, the more we will know whom He gives us to lead us because we will perceive Christ the King within them. 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Good News about wasps

Sermon for the eighteenth Sunday after Trinity

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings. It seems that if you bring bad tidings, then people are just not going to be as impressed with your chiropodist.

Like Gary Larsen’s deer, messengers of God’s Word do seem to have unfortunate birthmarks in the shape of rifle-range targets. It is always the messenger who gets shot, like the prophet Urijah. He upsets the princes of Israel simply by repeating Jeremiah’s prophecy from God. He tries to run away but is found and killed with the sword.

And just what is this bad news which costs Urijah his life and puts Jeremiah’s in peril?


If you bring the message back to its basics God is saying, “if you do evil things then horrible things will happen to you. If you turn back to me then those horrible things won’t happen.”

It’s a really simple message and it’s full of good news.
First, the message confirms a basic fact that evil breeds evil. Why is that good news? It means that evil can be limited. In order to stop evil spreading, we have to stop doing evil things. 

Remember, God’s Creation is very good, even if we don’t fully understand it. Evil spreads like cracks in the ice or like a ladder in ladies’ hosiery. We stop evil by seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. It means working hard to be Holy because He is Holy.

Secondly, the message shows us that God is in complete charge. By creating, He has set the laws of nature so that things can be as they are. Gravity pulls things down. Wasps sting. Plants need water to grow. These are all consequences of the way things have been created. This means if we drop the plate, it will break. If we annoy the wasp, it will sting us. If we do not water Aunt Sally’s prize begonia then Aunt Sally will not be happy when she gets back from Magaluf.

Thirdly, the fact that there is a message at all shows that God cares. A god that creates and then leaves its creation to itself has no use for prophets. A god that just wants its own way done all the time forces its will upon men. The very fact that there are prophets such as Jeremiah and Urijah shows us quite clearly that God cares and that He does not want to force us into obedience.  

To hear anything from God, even words of His displeasure, really is good news for us. It means that God cares, that we matter, and that our lives have meaning, worth and the potential for great things by pleasing God. So why do the messengers of such good news get shot?


This is the strange thing. It’s because people prefer darkness to the light. People want complete control over their lives. In many ways God has given us complete control over our lives but, crucially, what people want is to have complete control over their lives without negative consequences. 

They hate  being reminded of that. Indeed, to do away with the consequences of living, people reject God. We see this all around us. People claim the right to live immorally and, in order to do so, either tell God to go away or claim that He says something differently from what He has always said.

To tell people what God actually says risks getting targeted and shot. This is precisely what Our Lord says will happen to all who follow Him and proclaim the Good News.

However, the same Good News tells us that if we lose our lives for Christ's sake, then we will regain them and receive more. 


Christians will never win popularity contests. But then, perhaps if we do, we might have lost sight of how Good the News really is.

Friday, October 18, 2019

A question of Quicunque

One of the drawbacks from being a user of the Monastic Breviary conforming to the Book of Common Prayer rather than the Book of Common Prayer itself is that one does not encounter all three Creeds with regularity. For example, on Christmas Day, according to the full Office of the BCP, the Apostles’ Creed will be said at Evensong, the Nicene Creed at Mass and the wonderful Quicunque Vult at Mattins: all three Creeds announce Our Saviour’s Nativity. I tend only to meet the Quicunque Vult at Prime on Trinity Sunday just as I don’t say the Te Deum daily but only on Sundays and Feasts.

The Athanasian Creed is not by St Athanasius: it does not seem to have come from Greek origins, nor do Athanasius or his contemporaries mention it. It does, however, bear some resemblances to St Vincent of LĂ©rins’ thinking and, if it is not his work, then it may be one of his contemporaries in Southern Gaul.

It is central to the faith of the Church of England.


THE Three Creeds, Nicene Creed, Athanasius's Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles' Creed, ought thoroughly to be received and believed: for they may be proved by most certain warrants of holy Scripture.

and to the Continuing Anglican Churches, as the Affirmation of St Louis says:

The Creeds

The Nicene Creed as the authoritative summary of the chief articles of the Christian Faith, together with the "Apostles' Creed, and that known as the Creed of St. Athanasius to be "thoroughly received and believed" in the sense they have had always in the Catholic Church.

We should, therefore, be thorough in our reception and belief of this statement of our Faith and, for those who have not met this Creed before, I append it below.

How is it possible that a good Christian does not know this work? The Athanasian Creed, is slowly being forgotten through its rarer use, the intricacy of its language and through some rather unpalatable statements about those who do not keep the Catholic Faith.  This is unfortunate, especially when we know that Faith is central to our salvation. In order to be saved from the disease of Evil, the Darkness of the soul and from the agony of being separated from God, we have to believe in God. Sadly, many people seem to think that believing in a god of their choosing will do. While the Quicunque Vult, like the Apostles’ Creed, does not possess the ratification of an Oecumenical Council, we can certainly see that it is utterly unequivocal in the Trinitarian nature of the Catholic Faith and in the correct understanding as to Who Jesus Christ is. It presents a challenge to us to ensure that we are on the right track.

Many Orthodox Christians would find within this Creed a statement which is tantamount to the filioque, to wit:

The Son is of the Father alone: not made, nor created, but begotten.
The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son: neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

Again, we find that St Maximos the Confessor’s understanding of the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father through the Son still fits here. It is a single procession, but that single procession involves the other two Persons of the Trinity: the Father as the Fount of the Godhead, the Son as the Door of Salvation through which the Holy Ghost enters into Creation. Thus the Quicunque Vult has a perfectly Orthodox reading.

But what of the Hellfire and Damnation that this Creed possesses, and which many find unpalatable? First, we notice that the Creed warns against departure from the Catholic Faith. We need to keep the Faith “whole and undefiled”. Why?

Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (St Mark vi.16)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (St John iii.16-18)

He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (St John iii.33-36)

Our Lord is very clear: in order to be saved from Evil. We must believe in the only-begotten Son of God.

Of course, there are those who find this unpalatable because they find an incompatibility between the Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnibenevolent God and the issue of those who do good things but don’t have a right belief. Obviously, the judgement of God lies with the individual and I cannot enter into that because I do not have the right to interfere. However, there is no logical incompatibility between the existence of God and the existence of Eternal Hellfire, despite many protests to the contrary. We must remember that Omniscience also involves knowledge of all possibilities and this means all possible free-will choices that an individual can make. We must never despair of the Mercy of God, but then we must not despair of His Justice either – they’re probably the same thing.

It is my intention to read and reflect upon the Quicunque Vult at least once a month – probably at Prime on Sundays when it was supposed to be read. If other Christians did the same, especially those whose faith needs a bit of a boost, then I suspect the quality of our Christian witness would increase most satisfactorily.


QUICUNQUE VULT salvus esse, ante omnia opus est, ut teneat catholicam fidem: Quam nisi quisque integram inviolatamque servaverit, absque dubio in aeternum peribit. Fides autem catholica haec est: ut unum Deum in Trinitate, et Trinitatem in unitate veneremur. Neque confundentes personas, neque substantiam separantes. Alia est enim persona Patris alia Filii, alia Spiritus Sancti: Sed Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti una est divinitas, aequalis gloria, coeterna maiestas. Qualis Pater, talis Filius, talis [et] Spiritus Sanctus. Increatus Pater, increatus Filius, increatus [et] Spiritus Sanctus. Immensus Pater, immensus Filius, immensus [et] Spiritus Sanctus. Aeternus Pater, aeternus Filius, aeternus [et] Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres aeterni, sed unus aeternus. Sicut non tres increati, nec tres immensi, sed unus increatus, et unus immensus. Similiter omnipotens Pater, omnipotens Filius, omnipotens [et] Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres omnipotentes, sed unus omnipotens. Ita Deus Pater, Deus Filius, Deus [et] Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres dii, sed unus est Deus. Ita Dominus Pater, Dominus Filius, Dominus [et] Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres Domini, sed unus [est] Dominus. Quia, sicut singillatim unamquamque personam Deum ac Dominum confiteri christiana veritate compellimur: Ita tres Deos aut [tres] Dominos dicere catholica religione prohibemur. Pater a nullo est factus: nec creatus, nec genitus. Filius a Patre solo est: non factus, nec creatus, sed genitus. Spiritus Sanctus a Patre et Filio: non factus, nec creatus, nec genitus, sed procedens. Unus ergo Pater, non tres Patres: unus Filius, non tres Filii: unus Spiritus Sanctus, non tres Spiritus Sancti. Et in hac Trinitate nihil prius aut posterius, nihil maius aut minus: Sed totae tres personae coaeternae sibi sunt et coaequales. Ita, ut per omnia, sicut iam supra dictum est, et unitas in Trinitate, et Trinitas in unitate veneranda sit. Qui vult ergo salvus esse, ita de Trinitate sentiat.

Sed necessarium est ad aeternam salutem, ut incarnationem quoque Domini nostri Iesu Christi fideliter credat. Est ergo fides recta ut credamus et confiteamur, quia Dominus noster Iesus Christus, Dei Filius, Deus [pariter] et homo est. Deus [est] ex substantia Patris ante saecula genitus: et homo est ex substantia matris in saeculo natus. Perfectus Deus, perfectus homo: ex anima rationali et humana carne subsistens. Aequalis Patri secundum divinitatem: minor Patre secundum humanitatem. Qui licet Deus sit et homo, non duo tamen, sed unus est Christus. Unus autem non conversione divinitatis in carnem, sed assumptione humanitatis in Deum. Unus omnino, non confusione substantiae, sed unitate personae. Nam sicut anima rationalis et caro unus est homo: ita Deus et homo unus est Christus. Qui passus est pro salute nostra: descendit ad inferos: tertia die resurrexit a mortuis. Ascendit ad [in] caelos, sedet ad dexteram [Dei] Patris [omnipotentis]. Inde venturus [est] judicare vivos et mortuos. Ad cujus adventum omnes homines resurgere habent cum corporibus suis; Et reddituri sunt de factis propriis rationem. Et qui bona egerunt, ibunt in vitam aeternam: qui vero mala, in ignem aeternum. Haec est fides catholica, quam nisi quisque fideliter firmiterque crediderit, salvus esse non poterit.


WHOSOEVER will be saved: before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholick Faith.
Which Faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled: without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
And the Catholick Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;
Neither confounding the Persons: nor dividing the Substance.
For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son: and another of the Holy Ghost.
But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one: the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal.
Such as the Father is, such is the Son: and such is the Holy Ghost.
The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate: and the Holy Ghost uncreate.
The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible: and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.
The Father eternal, the Son eternal: and the Holy Ghost eternal.
And yet they are not three eternals: but one eternal.
As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated: but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible.
So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty: and the Holy Ghost Almighty.
And yet they are not three Almighties: but one Almighty.
So the Father is God, the Son is God: and the Holy Ghost is God.
And yet they are not three Gods: but one God.
So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord: and the Holy Ghost Lord.
And yet not three Lords: but one Lord.
For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity: to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;
So are we forbidden by the Catholick Religion: to say there be three Gods, or three Lords.
The Father is made of none: neither created, nor begotten.
The Son is of the Father alone: not made, nor created, but begotten.
The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son: neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons: one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.
And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other: none is greater, or less than another;
But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together: and co-equal.
So that in all things, as is aforesaid: the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.
He therefore that will be saved: must thus think of the Trinity.
Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation: that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For the right Faith is that we believe and confess: that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man;
God, of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds: and Man, of the Substance of his Mother, born in the world;
Perfect God, and Perfect Man: of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting;
Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead: and inferior to the Father, as touching his Manhood.
Who although he be God and Man: yet he is not two, but one Christ;
One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh: but by taking of the Manhood into God;
One altogether, not by confusion of Substance: but by unity of Person.
For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man: so God and Man is one Christ.
Who suffered for our salvation: descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead.
He ascended into heaven, he sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty: from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies: and shall give account for their own works.
And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting: and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.
This is the Catholick Faith: which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Political fleshy arms

Sermon for the seventeenth Sunday after Trinity

Whom do you trust, these days?

Chances are that politicians aren’t going to be high on your list of trustworthy people at the moment. All kinds of accusations of corruption and abuse of power are being levelled at the most important people in our society. Perhaps we should be taking God’s word through Jeremiah seriously.

Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.

That’s what God tells us, and it’s true. If we trust in any human being to the exclusion of God, then we have made an idol of that human being and we will fall with them. It’s even there in our language: we idolise our heroes. Groups of Christians are named after their founders and leading lights – Luther, Calvin, Jansen, St Benedict, et c. If we rely too much on them then God says we must fall.


Our Lord Jesus does not mince words when he upbraids the Pharisees, the spiritual leaders of Israel. He lays into them because they love their power more than God to the extent that the people who follow them are suffering. It seems that political leaders are not people who deserve our trust.

Yet we can put our trust too much in our political systems. We know that democracy is a good form of government: we fight for it; we seek to make it available to all people; and we end up idolising it. Look how some churches value Democracy so much that they are willing to put the truth of Christian Doctrine to a vote. The democratic vote has damaged the politics of many of our strongest nations causing division and resentment.

If we make flesh our arm and depart from the Lord, then we will fall.


This is the problem that we have in the West. We have made idols out of ideals that are not God. Human Life, Human Liberty, Human Dignity, Human Justice, Human Prosperity – these are not from God. Only in God do we find true Life, true Liberty, true Dignity, true Justice and true Prosperity because all of these are aspects of God’s being. It is the belief that we have a right not to be controlled that is preventing us from accepting that we need to be ruled.

All of our politicians are flawed. Certainly all of the politicians whom we regard as great are flawed characters. Would the likes of Churchill or Lincoln be elected to office now? Chances are that, as soon as they stand for office, the Press would rake up sins from their pasts and whip up the crowds to demand that they stand down. That’s how our society works: we build up heroes and then knock them down. Perhaps we even build up heroes in order to knock them down.

If we have lost God in our society then we have lost the means by which we can escape this idolisation of our leaders. Churchill describes Democracy as the least worst form of government. If our leaders sin and repent then we should forgive and learn to trust again.


Our society is missing God. We want our own way and we want leaders who are perfect. We will never be satisfied unless we find the perfect leader and follow that leader. There is such a leader – the Shepherd of our souls. If we learn to trust God then political turmoil will pass us by. If we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then we learn how to vote responsibly and play a part in our imperfect Democracy.

But Democracy will fall because there is only One God and His Will be done in Earth as it is in Heaven. We have to prepare ourselves for that when He comes again in glory to judge both the quick and the dead.

In the meantime, we must learn to be Holy for God is Holy, and sanctify our politics through prayer and attention to God. We must accept who rules us and remember that we are merely passing through to a better Kingdom.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Sincerity and Society

Sermon for the sixteenth Sunday after Trinity

Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.

Is God talking to us in the same words as He uses with Jeremiah?


 It doesn’t take much to look at the way our society is and see clear parallels. Is God saying to us, “How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken Me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses. They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour's wife.”

While these sins are nothing new, we do live in a society which used to be proudly Christian and is now denying either that God does not exist or that He is not worth worshipping. Even within the Church many are more concerned about fighting for sexual freedoms than the worship of God. There are many who call themselves Christian but who will not believe in the physical Resurrection of Our Lord. There are many who call themselves Christian but who believe that the writers of the Bible made mistakes in conveying God’s message to us. There have been church leaders who have even scolded St Paul for not being inclusive of people’s lifestyle choices. There are many who call themselves Christian – even church leaders – but who do not believe in God!

If our society is committing the same sins as Jeremiah’s Jerusalem, can’t we expect to receive the same consequences as Jeremiah’s Jerusalem? After all, God doesn’t create one rule for one person and another rule for somebody else.


Preaching God’s Word, too, is getting more and more difficult. Why? Again, look at our society.

“[T]hey have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.”

God’s words through Jeremiah remain true.

To be honest, nothing much has changed. Many preachers have been saying the same thing through the ages that our society is a sinful, godless society. While we are troubled by this, we should not be troubled unduly. We might find ourselves fighting the tide of popular opinion, going against the flow and standing alone against the world but this is our calling as a Church.

Christians build their house on the rock that is called Christ and we cling to it like limpets. Our Lord Jesus Christ says very clearly that God is our Father and that He is a Good Father. God does not ignore the prayers of anyone who earnestly and honestly calls to Him. This does not mean that we can pray away our pain and suffering in this life but, rather, our pain and suffering for God become sacrifices by which we can reach out to our fallen society. The more that people swept along by the tide of the false god Progress see that there is a rock to cling to, the more they will find comfort in the Righteousness of God.


It is precisely the Righteousness of God that people need to see. If the Church wants Society to seek God then we need to seek Him first, to ask Him for the things needed to proclaim His Holy Word to generations that are deaf because they will not hear. A church that is concerned with the things of the world is no church because God is not of the world. Such a church will present dust to those made of dust.


The Living Church will say to God “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done” and suffer the consequences. But what are the consequences that the church of the world will suffer? In which church are we?