Being a People of the Edge

Gate Pa – Year B  14th Sunday of Ordinary Time,

Psalm                          Psalm 48                    
First Reading:             2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10              
Second Reading:        2 Corinthians 12:2-10            
Gospel:                        Mark 6:1-13                           
What I want to say:
I want to explore how the ways of God are not what is expected, and in light of that my reflections on things noticed while away; particularly the gift of our prayer book and the story of Jack Winslow
What I want to happen:
What gifts do we not notice because they do not meet our assumptions and expectations?

The Sermon

       1.      Introduction:

last meeting in London was with Bishop Chelmsford
squeezed into his dairy before he had to be at the House of Lords
He like some other C of E bishops are active in heart of British establishment
have voice
seen as important
very different from here in Aotearoa
remember when I was ordained Anglican church pretty important
synods had press gallery – poorly reported in papers
when spoke people listened
last GSTHW while was press gallery – only churches press present
released press releases on issues they thought national press might pick up
·        blessing same gender marriage
·        apology to Ngati Tapu and Ngaitamarawaho
in part a lack of reporters
mostly we don’t fit in the centre of our society anymore
we are not that important anymore
some/many mourn that
I am not sure we ever really belonged in that place of honour
heard this morning Paul’s autobiographical comments
for many he did not conform to what apostle looked like, sounded like, acted like or taught
he didn’t fit their expectations
       Ü  rejected by many within the church and by most in Judaism
       Ü  executed by Roman state as pest
Jesus went home – family and neighbours were outraged at the shame he brought on his family by his behaving outside the limits of his birth.
he didn’t fit their expectations
       Ü  rejected
       Ü  that rejection culminated with his death on the cross
so maybe to be faithful to the way of God lived in Jesus we shouldn’t meet others expectations
maybe we don’t belong at the centre in places of honour
maybe being followers in the way of Christ is to be rejected
to be a voice from the edge.

prayer book

long time ago read some reflections on philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein
philosophy of language and communication
one thigs said was that words we use shape our understanding
normally have it other way around
both ways are true
if he is right we need to pay attention to the words we use
For example-  if we constantly use male words in reference to God
easily end up thinking that God is male
which lots people do
but its really theological nonsense
God is beyond gender
if Wittgenstein is right – the words we use in our liturgies are important in helping us form understanding of God and who we are in light of that
words liturgy really important in helping us understand our place in society.
while I was away I struck by what an amazing gift our prayer book is.
I am in awe that we have this book and the words contained in it.
spent week in Australia in liturgies with nearly all male imagery for God in liturgies and music
humanity called “men”
felt oppressive
made me ask how did we get our book?
its 30 years old
much later revisions are much more conservative than ours
much more male driven
church focussed
when church is at the centre of power church becomes the point
when church is on edge, world,
-          society is point
-          and church becomes vessel of God’s generosity, hospitality, justice, love
words we use to pray shape how we see all that.
two examples
creed – For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
-          and was made man.
-          or made fully human
explore importance of that

night prayer – Australia and England still
My brothers and sisters,
our help is in the name of the eternal God,
who made heaven and earth
past tense
God has finished with it
all on us now to use and abuse or to nurture and protect as we wish
and what happens to this world is not so important
cf– our prayer book using Jim Cotter –
who is making the heavens and the earth.
God has not finished yet
work creation continues
we are invited into that work


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