Sermon preached on January 26th 2020
Gospel Reading: Matthew 4: 12-23
Last week I sat out here in the pews to pray. There were only a few lights on in church.
My eyes fell on the line of the CRIB & CROSS – they looked beautiful.
And it struck me that the space between Crib and Cross is the space we inhabit.
Not just now in the time of Epiphany when we actually SEE them both, but in our lives everyday –
We live with the glorious reality of both CRIB & CROSS, INCARNATION & SALVATION
And that is where we encounter Jesus.
So the important question is - how do we respond to living in that holy space?
How do we respond to Jesus’ call for us to follow him?
The gospel passage we’ve read today we’re so familiar with, that its easy to sentimentalise it. Jesus called 2 sets of brothers away from their day jobs and livelihoods – and immediately followed.
On reading this again I wondered about how compelling Jesus must have been for them to drop everything, leave everything and follow him
Then I realized how disruptive it must have been – James & John left their nets, their job, & their father ,Just walked away & left him. Maybe he had loads more sons, and daughters who were way better fishers that J&J - maybe he was glad to see the back of them – I don’t know.
But I do think there’s a clear message here that the call to follow Jesus means that we ALL have to be prepared to leave something behind, or at least for things to change, for the stuff in our nets to change, and indeed to change ourselves.
Following Jesus will probably mean a change to the things we’ve counted on the things that have defined us our relationships and our beliefs.
If you say you’re a Christian, of that you go to Church, people look at you in a certain way, make judgements, treat you differently – often not in a very positive way – especially when the church seems to continually stand in judgement over people’s lives.
If we follow Jesus, if we stand between the CRIB and the CROSS, it IS demanding.
There is often something to re-evaluate, something that needs to change, and sometimes there’s something that we need to leave behind in order to become a more wholehearted follower.
Last week we heard Jesus’ first words in St John’s Gospel – “Come and see where I live”.
Today we hear Jesus’ first words in the Gospel of Matthew - “REPENT, for the kingdom of Heaven is near”.
Repent in Greek is METANOIA – re-orientate. As if Jesus is saying to us “Follow me and …
“Come to a new understanding, a new perspective
“Change your way of thinking
“See things the way I see them
“For the Kingdom of Heaven is breaking in
Through the Crib and the Cross, God has broken into our world.
And we must not be afraid to stand in the space between and follow Jesus, and allow God to be at work in us.