Friday, 1 February 2019

Farewell Sermon to St. Margaret Streatley Luke 4:14-21

It turns out I am fond of symmetry, which may be why I like knitting Aran jumpers,which are always nicely symmetrical, and you will by now have noticed that quite often, I begin a sermon with an image and then conclude with a reference to that same idea.

Well, on Sunday the 12th September 2010 you will all remember that the lectionary reading was a  parable about a lost sheep - it was my first sermon here and I climbed into the pulpit - your first surprise - and I turned my mind to the day that Frances and I lost our dog in the Foret de Rambouillet near Paris and the joy of finding him again. Now he was by the way called Wellington and the reaction of the locals as we called his name for some hours and rather loudly was let us say interesting. 

It is now the 27th January 2019, and my last sermon here, the lectionary reading is about Jesus beginning his ministry at the synagogue in Nazareth and the part of the story that we have heard is about recognition.
 “He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.” The next line of our passage goes on to say that after He had rolled up the scroll “All spoke of Him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. “

Now at this point I need some assistance so please Frances, Becky and Alex may I ask you to bring in my visual aid - which is just outside the North door and needs more than one person to bring in there will be a short pause: 

ENTER: SL Nina and Rosie 

So Wellington is no longer with us but Nina and Rosie are - and the story I want to tell you is how that came to be.We adopted Nina from a kennel club breeder, she had had two litters and needed a home and we were delighted to welcome her as a companion to our then elderly spaniel Fidget. A couple of years later Nina was on her own an I got in touch with the breeder again to see if I could adopt a companion for her! My friend was a bit emotional - “Oh yes she said, only this week I have decided to retire Rosie - she is 3 years old and Nina’s daughter. I would love you to have her come over quickly!” So we went taking Nina for the introductions. Those of you who know dogs, who have watched dogs know that on meeting they examine each other - thoroughly, intricately, all over intimately intrusively we would say. Not so Nina and Rosie, they met glanced at one another and set off together to sniff a corner of the garden. It was as if they instantly recognised who they were  - that this was RIGHT.

And so back to the beginning of Jesus ministry and that moment in the synagogue when the congregation were amazed and enthused.  They knew not only that Jesus was special but that it was right that he was among them. I like to think that if Jesus came in that door that that is how we would feel. There would be a moment of recognition - and that unlike the congregation in the synagogue we would not turn against these instincts on hearing His challenging messages, but would be true to what we deeply know, faithfully believe and would embrace his coming.

And if I like to think that, then I am certain that when we get to heaven it will be so. I do not know in what form I shall be - save that our Lord Jesus Christ will transform our frail bodies so that they may conform to his glorious body - but I do know that when we meet Jesus it will be like Rosie meeting Nina it will feel right, natural perfect and we will be where we always were meant to be.