A Sermon Preached in St. George & St. Thomas', Dublin on Sunday 20th Feb 2012 at a Service of the word - with our Parish Zambia Team visiting the parish during a weekend of training.
It is a great Privilege to have been asked by your rector to preach this morning.
I am here this morning with a fantastic team of people ... parishioners in the parish which I serve in Belfast. Over the past 36 hours we have been living together in the Chruch of Ireland Theological Institute ... working very hard ... doing lots of preparations for our forthcoming trip in the Summer to the Diocese of Northern Zambia.
This team which I have the privellege of leading is made up of extra-ordinary people ... everyday people who were prepared back in November to dip their toe into the water and see if this adventure with God was for them!
Turning to the task for this morning ... I’m going to pick up on some of the things which are in the 2 Corinthians Reading
For we do not proclaim ourselves;
This was a real issue for the Corithians as it is for us today - We live in a society ( and I spent 3 years down in Dublin, and it is the same in the North).
It is a question we need to ask ... as we live our lives ... what are we proclaiming?
When we are at work - what are we proclaiming
When we are at school - what are we proclaiming
When we are in the pub - what are we proclaiming
When we are ... wherever we are - what are we proclaiming
Our team knows I get very excited about the trip we are going out on ... I’m excited because of the possibilities of the working relationship we will develop with locals in Zambia.
But above that I am excited about mission - I don’t know if you realise this ... the old view of mission is that people who go and preach to the natives, to convert them, make church our way.
However, today our thinking has increased and the church does need to get to grips with mission which Jesus implemented in his ministry
I’m excited about mission as a concept because it is not just something “Missionaries” do away from home ... It is something to which each of us has been called to do both where we are and where we will be in the future.
I’m excited because in the anglican church of which we are a part we have embraced the wholeness of mission. When we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord we proclaim the Gospel in its fullest sense ... and there is something here for everyone.
One of the many reasons I love being an anglican is that we have put this theory in practice - we proclaim that:
We as the Church are called to
- Proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom - that could be in a million ways!
- To Teach, Baptise and Nurture New Believers
- To Respond to human need by loving service
- To seek to transform unjust structures of society
- To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation
This is exciting as it emcompasses the wholeness of the word of God and our responsibilities as his disciples ... it also gives us a big dream, a vision of what life could be about ...
Imagine a world where the good news is proclaimed in relevant and creative ways
Imagine a church where all are taught and nurtured to maturity in the faith in ways that are appropriate to them
Imagine the community were needs are met, where resources are available - to serve those who have needs of any description
Imagine a nation where the church is voicing its opinion on the topics of the day and where they are giving a clear and consistant critique of injustice wherever it exists
Imagine a world where the church leads the way in green issues ... simply to fulfil our responsibility as stewards of Creation!
I love the idea that you and I can indeed make a difference in this world. We can make a difference to one life or to a whole nation. What is your idea?, what is your passion, your dream when it comes to proclaiming God’s love?
The one thing that lasts in this world is the work for God’s Kingdom ... it lasts beyond the grave ... the nation needs to know about it ... when economic systems fail ... when poverty is on the rise ... when there is despair all around ... it is the church which should be showing love.
We do not proclaim ourselves ... as a brand or as a shop does ... trying to make people come to us but rather we proclaim Christ Crucified.
Let us Pray