Reverend David Brown’s first sermon after arriving in Warsaw, at the service of Holy Communion on Sunday, 12 October 2014
From our Epistle reading, Paul’s Letter to the Philippians (4:8-9):
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things . . . and the God of peace be with you.
First: Thank you
Thank you for calling me here to serve you, and to serve with you, here.
Thank you for all you have done and are doing here to keep this church alive and the Anglican presence here in this place…..because, through all that you do, however sometimes seemingly ordinary and mundane, you are keeping alive the Love and Light of God as revealed to us in His Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Thank you for making me so welcome Your kindnesses and thoughtfulness reflect the Love which is God. Thank you
The question asked of us in our readings today is simple:
What sort of Christian are we….are you and I…and what sort of Church are we, and what sort of church do we want to become?
In the parable we heard just now, Jesus is asking you and me that question: What sort of disciple are we and what sort of disciple and church are we going to become?
Are we like the wedding guest who finds good reasons not to respond to the call? They have good excuses not to respond…………other very pressing reasons…home, work………….. but no priority for the challenge of the gospel.
And remember, it is not only about whether we come to church, but more about whether we live lives, serving and loving all those we meet, living and working for the coming of God’s Kingdom.
So, are you….am I………too busy, too distracted….to respond daily to the call?
Or, are we more like a second type of guest: We attend the wedding but we are not really dressed, ready and prepared?
We want to serve, we want to love, we want to be part of the work of the Kingdom BUT we are not prepared for the cost, for the sacrifices, for the demands, for the challenges.
Too busy, too distracted……………just not prepared for the demands, the challenge and the changes required of us.
Or, are we like those guests…prepared and willing to serve and love, whatever the cost….to try, day by day, to grow in the Love of God, to serve better and to help His Body, His Church and His Kingdom to grow?
And if so, if we do want to be like those guests, where and how do we start?
Back in Scorton, there was a lovely couple: Helen, who was my secretary, and her husband, Geoff, who helped with the gardening.
One morning, I told Helen that, the previous night, there had been a tramp, a “gentleman of the road” in the Church porch. I said to Helen that I had made him some tea and something to eat and given him something to help him on his journey “Because”, I said to Helen, “that could have been Jesus coming to us in the presence of that tramp!”
“Look out of the window, Helen,” I said, “See that man in the garden? That too could be Jesus waiting for us to respond to him.”
“David” she said, “Sometimes you are very stupid…………that man is not Jesus coming to us, that is just Geoff, my husband…………”
BUT, that, of course, is the whole point, the crux of our Christian calling!!
THAT is where and how our life as individuals, and as the Church here, begins and continues and grows.
BY seeing the Risen Christ in those closest to us, those sitting around us in this Sacristy this morning, those we live with, those we meet day by day……………
There is a saying, slightly amended, which says,
“Christians believe there is something of God in every person. We cannot prove it but, if we believe it, our faith will be justified.”
So that is how we start our journey here together: determined to see the Love of God in each other, and to show that Love of God to each other, and to all those we meet.
By doing that, empowered by the Holy Spirit, having the Mind of Christ and filled with the Love of God, we will grow as a Church, we will support and encourage each other, we will reach out to those around us, we will be constantly seeking to see and meet, the needs of the people of Warsaw, of the wider Church and of God’s wonderful but suffering world.
So, as we grow, live and work together, what a great challenge, what an exciting journey, what a life, what an amazing future lies before us………………
and, in all we do, may God’s Love be made known. Amen