Sermon (full text) 2nd Sunday of Trinity 2016
1 Kings 17: 17-end
Gal 1: 11-end
Luke 7: 11-17
There is a lot going on in the readings today, with an obvious connection between the Old Testament and the New. In both readings the widow’s sons were healed and we read in the New Testament that Jesus had compassion after seeing the widow crying for her son. After her son was healed and people witnessed this, God was glorified and Jesus was deemed a good prophet, as of course Elijah was in the Old Testament.
But of course Jesus is more than a prophet he is God’s son so what we see in the compassion of Jesus we know comes from a compassionate God.
We pray for healing so often, and it’s so hard when our prayers don’t seem to be answered, and it’s more than enough to shake our faith.
But when our prayer for healing isn’t answered as we hope it will be, we need to lean on our faith, praying that this here is not the be all and end all, as of course Jesus so often promises.
We need to have faith that when the healing that we so badly want to happen, doesn’t, that there is a different kind of healing going on, a healing that is hard to comprehend.
That those not healed on earth will be healed in heaven and find the peace that they so deserve.
When we can keep our faith it is the thing that gets us through dark times, if we can believe that God is in control and is not wasteful, then we can live with hope.
We are living in advanced times and often we feel that we have everything sorted, we are a sophisticated people and in control of our own destiny. But of course we are not, we are wise to understand that nature and God are more powerful than us.
The circle of life will always be the thing that determines how we survive.
As the author of Ecclesiastes tells us, “for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter, under heaven.” We can’t rely on humanity for everything. It takes faith to live with the rhythms of nature, but it is this rhythm that in the end makes sense.
Suffering and watching people suffer is the hardest thing we have to cope with in this world, yet to give up on our faith at such time takes away our hope. The hope that we have through Jesus, that when the suffering is over there is something beyond what we know and beyond the suffering found on earth.
Last week’s Gospel reading was about the Roman Centurion who had faith far beyond most people, he was not a Jew but had faith in Jesus to heal his slave. And it was indeed his humble faith which healed his slave.
In Paul’s letter to the Galatians we see a similar thing happening, Paul was not a Christian, indeed, as we know he persecuted the Christians, yet he changed and that change did not come from anything human but from the power of God, just as the Centurion found it was the power of God that healed his slave.
Paul was changed so dramatically from persecutor to proclaimer by the revelation of Christ.
Yes, Paul’s conversion was dramatic and sometimes when people experience a really dramatic conversion they become extreme, as Paul indeed was, and for many of us this is worrying and off putting. Yet perhaps we’ve gone too much the other way.
Perhaps we’ve shut ourselves off from powerful and emotional encounters with God through Christ.
Perhaps we feel we have life sorted and we don’t need the help of God. This of course is the stance of Atheists. But this stance gives no hope at all for lasting healing.