Saturday, August 01, 2015

My Heart’s Desire

Gate Pa – te Wiki o te Reo Māori. 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm                         Psalm 51:1-12                   
First Reading:               2 Samuel 11:26 – 12:13                  
Second Reading:          Ephesians 4:1-16                             
Gospel:                          John 6:24-35                                        

What I want to say:
To ask what is our heart’s desire really – and look at John 6 in light of that
talk about why I use te reo Maori in our services

What I want to happen:
What is my heart’s desire
Appreciate te reo more

The Sermon

     1.      Introduction:

Few years ago someone came up to me after service and said had word of knowledge
always little sceptical
This one stuck in my head
she said God grant my heart’s desire
What is my heart’s desire?
superficial level
            Desire have enough money to do few things
            pay off children’s student debt
                        help pay studies
            pay for these tvs
            like go visit aunt England again
            really want to do course at St Georges College in Jerusalem
            like go Istanbul
            see Liverpool play Anfield
trouble is when get stuck with the “enough money” – turn that into hearts desire
are people say that is what benefit being Christian all about
            not look at what that money hopefully is really about
for me
            just nice
            children start life without burden debt         
è comes out of my desire for world to be better for my children
            to be place where they can thrive and grow
so is that my hearts desire?
            not bad one –
            many people do stop there
I think I can go even deeper
            desire is for world be place where everyone can thrive and grow
                        not just my children
                        not just my family
                        not just people like me
            want us take seriously climate change – fear future if don’t
            want governments enact policies that allow all people in all countries to have enough
            world filled with kind of communities where all  know they belong
                        significant members of that community
            Is that my hearts desire?
today – it is that world will be as I understand God intended
            place limitless generosity
            infinite love
            same kind love Jesus felt and exhibited on cross
turns out my hearts desire is pretty tricky thing to nail down
makes hard God grant it
            suspicion is that God better idea what hearts desire is than I do
trouble is
            I don’t really think about it much
            so don’t really focus on my heart’s desire
                        instead get waylaid
                        distracted by other wants and needs
                                    point to my heart’s desire
                                    but aren’t that actually desire
            I suspect all do

     2.      John’s Gospel

want to suggest that that is what is going on in our gospel readings last week and over the next few weeks
in feeding 5000 – have a story Jesus meeting need of hunger
            not ask for this to be met
            just did it
as said last week – John describes this as a sign
            sign of God’s freely given unasked for abundant generosity
            as sign what more God offering
which is same as word knowledge to me
            God meet their hearts desire
kind of got
            but didn’t
understood their desire to be rid of Rome, Herod, current high priests etc….
            so saw sign
            thought that he was one lead them to this new world
            -want to make him king – one lead them to victory
did that without ever going deeper
            caught up in the overthrow Rome
            not ask what kind of society did they long for?
è that was world
            where land restored
            where all have enough
            peace and justice
            dwell again presence of God
the kingdom of God
sounds great
            so much more than what they thought they desired
Jesus was and is offering  even more than this
            offering a vision of new communities
            built around the qualities of God he points to in his actions and teaching
God limitless generosity
            unbounded love
            created all in God’s image
imagine that world
è that is eternal life
è that is bread Jesus offers to feed us with
well removed from what those listening to him thought
even a lot hearers struggled
as we do
got lost on the way with our own desires and needs
God’s heart desire for us remains hidden.
So what is it we long for?
What is our hearts desire?
What is it we give our soul to?
And what is it God longs for us, for this place, for this world?

     3.      Te Reo Māori

This week is Te wiki o re reo Māori
            thought good time outline again some of the reasons I think using te reo in our services is important:
·         who we are as Anglicans in this country
o   language first Anglican church (te Haahi Mihinare)
§  language of this diocese
o   language of our tikanga partners in this land
·         enable us to worship with Tikanga Maori partners with confidence
·         welcoming for Maori speakers to hear their language
·         Te reo Maori is a gift from God, cultivated by our ancestors and bequeathed as a gift to all generations it behoves us to fill our hearts with what is good and just.
·         Lutheran work on relationship of liturgy with culture:
o   trans or beyond culture
o   contextual
o   counter cultural
o   cross cultural

In summary:
don’t use te reo Maori because
·         it is cool or because it is PC
·         I use it because it is who we are

using te reo Maori honours:
·         who is here
·         who we are as an Anglican church
·         our context in these communities
·         liturgy as a vehicle that moves us
o   out of our culture
o   helps us embrace other cultures
o   hold our culture up to the gospel

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Needs and desires

A common phrase used by Christians is that Jesus will meet our needs. And it is understood in all kinds of ways. Sometimes this is couched as spiritual needs. Sometimes just needs. Some people differentiate between wants and needs. Which leads to us not being very clear about what needs will be met.
In our reading from 2 Samuel 11: 26- 12:13 we hear the ongoing story of David’s need for Bathsheba. Or maybe that was a want. But that “want” distracted David from what was important, and before he knew it, the one who had been rescued from Saul’s murder plot was involved in his own murder plot. That giving in led to all sorts of broken relationships, deaths and betrayals. Nathan tells a story that invokes David’s outrage, and then his utter despair. The trappings of being king had blinded David to his need for God, his need to live in the presence of God.
It is easy for us to look down on David, but I suspect we too often forget about what is important, what our real needs are, and follow our wants instead. In the Franciscan way that is one of the things poverty is about – letting go of everything that might distract us from our need to live in the presence of God.
One of the reasons we get distracted is that sometimes we are not very sure about what our needs really are. We struggle because as individuals and as communities we are unclear about what it is that we should long for. The writer to the Ephesians, which may or may not be Paul, clearly thinks that unity in the church is important, something to be longed for. He longs for that even though powerful people within the early church opposed him. But unity at what price?
In our gospel reading, John 6: 24-35, the people following Jesus are clear about what they long for: and end to Roman rule, an end to Herod, an end to the corruption of the High Priests; and a return of their land, their honour and sustainable incomes. In short, they longed for the Kingdom of God as they understood it. Last week Jesus avoided being made the means by which these deep needs might be met. And so the crowd catch up, on the other side, and they are a little unhappy and inpatient. Who does this Jesus think he is and what exactly is he offering. Healings are all very good, and the bread and fish thing was impressive. But bigger change was needed. What Jesus was talking about was not what they were looking for. They wanted the world as it was with them nearer the top. Jesus offered a new way of seeing the world, and new way of being community, based on God’s ongoing unbounded generosity and unlimited love. They struggled to get it.
We struggle to get it. We are in the end no different from David, from those people following around Jesus from one side to the other, from the disciples. We too often long for more of the same. We give our souls to a vision that is too small.
So what is it we long for? What is our hearts desire? What is it we give our soul to? And what is it God longs for us, for this place, for this world?