Homily Saturday 7/8/21 Taizé Service – St Peters Cathedral
The Rev’d Joan Claring-Bould
Even for those of us who have not spent hours in front of a screen watching the Tokyo Olympics, the success of our athletes as well as the games themselves in such challenging circumstances has been something to celebrate. To see smiling faces in the news headlines rather than grim figures and fearful predictions has brought a welcome sense of balance to our existence in a time of turmoil.
The clear message which we are receiving from things happening around the world as well as in our own country, seems to be that even as we continue to make progress with getting people vaccinated, our lives are going to be subject to disruptions and challenges due to the COVID virus for quite some time to come.
That is a sobering and potentially depressing thought. Personally, I long for the day when I can get back to “life as usual” whatever I think that was. I feel downhearted hearing endless stories of people out of work and businesses struggling to stay open, to say nothing of the vast financial debt we are bequeathing to the next generation.
It feels to me, as if cracks are appearing through every aspect of daily life, including in things that we thought were secure. (Who could ever had imagined for example a time when we wouldn’t be allowed to have a choir sing in the Cathedral?)
Strangely the Christian gospel tells us that this state of brokenness has the potential to also be the state of great blessedness. The Beatitudes begin with the statement “Blessed are the poor in Sprit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:1). This is a very counterintuitive statement in a world which so highly values perfection and success.
Yet, we know that the hero of the Christian story is not a triumphant monarch, but a humble Jewish teacher, preacher, and prophet who was rejected by church and state, betrayed by his friends, and crucified amongst criminals on a hill, outside of Jerusalem – rejected by his earthly spiritual home….. And yes, he was the Son of God;
And on the third day, the miraculous happened. Jesus triumphed over all evil once and for all.
So the gospel tells us that brokenness and failure need never be an end in themselves.
And so, if like me, you are feeling like the world around you is beginning to show some scary cracks, or even that the world with in you is not as together as it used to be, as uncomfortable as this might seem, perhaps this is an opportunity to allow God to do new and great things through us.
When we come to the point of recognising that things are beyond our control, then we are most open to recognise that the safe hands of God are just waiting for us to entrust ourselves and our future into them. And when we feel safe in the present, even in the midst of turmoil, we are free to do the most creative and beautiful work of our lives. When we are not trying to impress anyone, not trying to prove ourselves to anyone, not comparing ourselves, our talents or failures with anyone else, not preoccupied with the future but simply allowing God to lovingly work through us just as we are in the present, then strangely our weakness can become our strength, and we discover life and light within us we did not know was there. Then it is often through the new light flowing through the cracks in our lives, that God’s light flows through out to others.
And so we may respond with a deep joy and thanksgiving, even in the midst of our challenges;
“O taste a see how gracious the Lord is, Blessed is the one who puts their trust in Him” (Ps 34:8)