|1:00pm||Doors open for sightseeing|
|4:00pm||Last entry for sightseeing|
Sermon preached on the Eighth Sunday after Trinity (10 August 2014) by The Reverend Canon Tricia Hillas, Pastor
I’m not sure how you came here this morning - but I expect for some of us it may have involved a lengthy journey. I too occasionally find myself taking long flights which include crossing time zones. That can be a challenge - one tip I’ve picked up involves settling myself into my seat on the plane and then, often even before take-off, resetting my watch to the time as it is in the country of my destination.
It’s about trying to smooth my entry by getting into the habits, mind-set and life of my place of destination.
Maybe, for a person of faith this is not such a bad approach to life as a whole: choosing to live here and now in the light of our final destination.
Particularly when the journey is tough, the ride bumpy.
Living in the here and now, but in the light of our ultimate destination is a theme that comes out of our second reading – and there is a lot that this second letter of Peter can teach us about living with the end in mind. Particularly when the events we see around us bring us to tears: of anger and of sorrow.
The first thing is to remember that what we see around us now is not how things will always be. In these troubled times, reeling from the suffering we hear about daily, even hourly, how easy to become despondent, angry, frustrated, apathetic and despairing. It’s easy to think that what we see around us is permanent: but empires rise and fall, economies boom and bust, oppressors control and then are over thrown; scripture tells us that weeping may engulf the night but joy will come in the morning.
But in the night the world needs people of faith and of action – those who hold on, not to the things which will pass away, those things which will as the writer of 2nd Peter puts it, will dissolve, melt, be set ablaze, but those who can hold on to the present-future reality – looking to our ultimate destination… the "new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home".
As we listen to the news from around the world right now, though we can hardly bare to hear of the latest atrocity, we cannot, must not avert our eyes.
Though our cry is ‘how long O Lord, how long?’ in 2nd Peter we are reminded that a new day IS coming – a day for which we live and work now– living in the light of our final destination, declaring that what we see around us now is not how things will always be: evil will not have the final word - one day there will be a new heaven and a new earth – ‘where righteousness is at home’.
As we wait for that day – what are we to do? How can we live in the here and now, in the midst of a troubled world and yet in the light of our future destination? When we are perplexed and frustrated about what we can do?
1. Pray – the people on the ground in many of the most severely disrupted places in the world are asking us to pray – to pray in informed and specific ways, which can help to focus and sustain our prayers and to pray in silence when there are no words. Prayer changes situations – it really does. You may find words to help on our website.
2. People on the ground are also asking us to give if we can– to humanitarian and church organisations working in the most dangerous circumstances with people in the most severe need - they urgently need our support.
3. We can be in contact with our politicians – we often say this – do we do it?
4. Lastly we can consider our own personal contribution to the world – and honestly ask what the nature of my heart, my mind, my soul be like, if they were truly in line with the values, attitudes and behaviour of my ultimate destination – that place, in the company of the Divine, where righteousness is at home .
May we be those who can look both to the needs of a world in trouble and to our ultimate destination – those who live with fierce and grubby hope – which gets its hands dirty and sleeves rolled up – that the kingdom may come, here and now.
Let us pray
ALMIGHTY and merciful God,
whose Son became a refugee and had no place to call his own;
look with mercy on those who today are fleeing from danger,
homeless and hungry.
Bless those who work to bring them relief;
inspire generosity and compassion in all our hearts;
and guide the nations of the world towards that day when all will rejoice in your Kingdom of justice and of peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.