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Gospel centred sermons, based on the lectionary often in advance.

Jul 17, 2020

A rambling sermon about hope.

Focus readings:   Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43; Romans 8:12-25

..the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God

(Rom 8:19 NRSV)

As Christians we live in hope and this hope is not a passive hope. It's a hope that says with Desmond Tu-tu and Martin Luther King, and Mother Theresa and, and William Wilberforce and John Flynn, and Oscar Romero and so many other heros of the faith that we can stand up to evil and suffering and injustice, because this is not the way things should be, and even more wonderfully, because maybe even in this life, and definitely in the next suffering and evil will be defeated.

                It's a hope which says to us that we can go on. A hope that says whatever our grief or suffering, or the evil and terror we face, it will be defeated. We will receive wholeness and healing. Even in this life we will receive that healing, though only partly. In the next life we will receive it in all its fullness. In hope we wait, with patience and eager expectation with the whole creation, for that day when we will be healed and whole.

                  No virus, no global warming, no recession, no illness or grief can stop this hope. With this hope and with joy we can move forward. There is an often quoted story of a boy on a beach where thousands and thousands of starfish have been washed up. The tide is going out and all the starfish will all die. The boy is throwing the starfish back one by one. A man stops him and says his task is hopeless - he can't make any difference. The boy listens. Picks up another starfish and throws it into the sea. He looks at the man and says "I made a difference to that one." 

           That's what the Christian life is like. Even for a non Christian the starfish story is inspiring. Making a difference for one even in an overwhelming situation is worthwhile. For you as a Christian, there is a much greater hope. Saving the starfish, helping a friend, washing your hands, sharing your faith, speaking up for what is good and right, smiling, helping another on their faith journey, can not only be used by God to make a real difference now, they will make an eternal difference when the whole of creation is made new.

Questions for thought or discussion.

How much suffering should there be in the Christian life? What should your response to suffering be? What do you think of the idea that hope can carry us through suffering or evil? What times can you think of when your Christian hope has carried you through? How does your Christian hope help others?