The Sermons of a Country Girl

Reflections on our walk in faith and our life in this amazing world

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Civic Week - sermon

Today hails the start of our villlage Civic Week; lots of Community activites, shows, games, sports and fun, with the whole village coming together. It is the 40th week, 40 years of the village playing and working together and celebrating our acheivements. Every year the week begins with a church sesrvice, with community groups joining the regular worshippers - this year not in the church, but in the Marquee on the Rugby Field!!
what follow are the two "sermonettes" given today

First reading: Matthew 6: 25-34
Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”
First Reflection: Don’t Worry!!

A quick search of the BBC News website this week resulted in almost 11 thousand stories which contained the words worries.

A quick trawl through the first couple of pages had a fairly consistent theme, the new reports on worries focussed on finance, pollution, road safety, the oil price, business and health.

Now if I were to ask you all to list your top six worries I have a strong suspicion that it would be fairly easy to have them slip into those same six categories.

Is my job secure; will my pension be worth anything; are my children safe; will I get the care and treatment I need; can I afford to travel and can I actually get at my money when I need it?
It seems a reasonable set of statistics, and indeed a reasonable set of worries, doesn’t it?!

When we look at today’s gospel reading we discover a deep, mysterious truth; 2000 years ago life may have been very different; technology as we know it did not exist then; communications were verbal; most people did not read or write; healthcare was basic and life expectancy low.

Yet, the worries were similar: security, health, food, are as essential for life now as they ever were.

Jesus knew all of this of course, but he pared it right back.

He didn’t quite say “Get a grip guys!!”

But from the tone, and the comparisons, that may well have been his meaning.

If you lost every material possession tomorrow: your home, your clothes, your car, your bank account, your job....

If you lost all that, but still had your loved ones
Still had your friends
Still had your community around you
You would suddenly discover what is really important

What is really essential in your life

Because it’s not the possessions we have that give us joy, or satisfaction, or security or hope

It’s not these things which make us happy

They may help with the comforts

But what we really need

Is to know we are loved

To know we can love in return

And to know, that through Jesus Christ we are closely connected to God, and God knows us, loves us, cares for us – God understands what we need

So do not worry about tomorrow

And do not worry about today

Enjoy life

Relish it

Live, love and laugh – God is in control!!

Second reading: Matthew 7: 1-8

Second Reflection: Don’t Judge – Everyone is Welcome!

Don’t tell me what to do until you have got your own life in order!!

Hypocrisy – in all its various forms is a sure fire way to get us riled

Being told where we are going wrong by someone who, in our eyes at least, is not doing a great job themselves, is difficult to take.

And, on the other hand, seeing a situation and jumping to conclusions; making assumptions or prejudging the situation is certain to lead to a less than happy conclusion.

I am not sure if it is comforting or disappointing to know that even now two thousand years later the same problems; the same misunderstandings, the same issues are still causing us concern and still causing people to feel outcast or marginalised or excluded.

Think about how you live

What you do

Who you know

 Think about friends, or neighbours, or colleagues

In every situation, whether you know them well, or a little you only know a tiny fraction of what has happened to create that situation. Even with our closest friends we don’t know the whole story.

And yet, we still feel that we are in a position to offer an opinion, or advice, or a solution....

To my mind before we ever offer an opinion, there are three questions we need to ask:

Do you know all the facts?

Do you know the personal circumstances?

What would you have done if faced with such circumstances?

If you cannot truly answer the first two, you will never be equipped to answer the third.... and if you cannot answer the third then you are in no position to offer unsought for advice...

If we are quick to jump in and judge others, we cannot complain when they do the same to us

If we set high standards for others, but live much lower standards ourselves, we are not being fair

Instead we need to live our own lives, and seek to be good and kind and caring.

Some things in life never change:

2000 years ago Jesus felt the need to teach about those who were quick to judge others without first putting their own lives in order; his answer then has stood the test of time:

Seek first God’s kingdom, and everything else will fall into place.

God is our only judge

God’s house is wherever his people are – The door to God’s house is always open –

And all are always welcome there

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