..feast of St Peter & St Paul..two of greatest saints in Christendom St Peter..Cephas “the rock”..the key holder at HQ..the insider St Paul missionary front line disciple..the outsider who wouldn’t be seen dead inside HQ ..a moment to remember with thanksgiving our own calling as insiders & outsiders.. ..to be co-missioners out there alongside Paul, & to be a foundation governor of this parish family in here..it isn’t either/or it is both!
..”put on your belt & your sandals..” the belt which constrains that within, & the sandal which walks alongside the outsider.. ; Lord have mercy “..wrap your cloak around you & follow me..” ..wrap up shut up listen & follow.. ; Christ have mercy “..now I know it is all true ; the Lord has saved me..” ..hear it say it & believe it.. ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
“.the time has come for me to be gone; I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me.” if you heard that from your ears it sounds self righteous pompous & pretentious..if your heard it from your heart & soul it is truly affirmative of the divine partnership of which you & I are not sleeping partners but active participants..your “yes” & your emptiness infiltrated seasoned by God’s grace, where each is in need of the other, if miracle, if missionary work, is to come to life & bear fruit in the eventual harvest/reward that Paul looks forward to..it isn’t what I do it is what Christ does through me..he/we speak from experience with faith & conviction that convinces others less bold less able that the impossible is possible..it’s not “I told you so” it’s “I showed you so!” & back at HQ, not St Peter’s basilica with all its finery nor this our hidden gem of a Church ..both mere buildings, but the Church..you & I we are the Church militant, on active service, serving each other & in an outreach to others out there, who have a thirst appetite hunger to know Christ..”who do you say I am?” how would you describe Jesus Christ to the enquirer or broken wounded disillusioned? the lapsed defected or outsider?.. “you are the Christ” the surprise extraordinary moment when they approach you thinking you are sufficiently close & experienced to give them a good account of Jesus..& instead it’s you who speak up & speak out say to them “you are the Christ” you bring Christ into my life in way you live life & faith, & how you/them beam out that faith with gentle conviction out there..the rock of faith, defended by Peter kept by Paul & now cared for nutured by us as caretakers..your title “caretaker”..who cleans polishes clears up vomit; like Peter holds the keys, the more keys the more the responsibility & trustworthiness..how many keys to our Church or Hall do you hold, which allow you to get in & out whenever you need to.. to get on with the particular role & responsibility you do for us? I challenge my young retreatants, going round room asking each of them to tell rest of us what particular job they do at home..I tell them of one of our monk Headmasters at Gilling some yrs ago; he awarded a striped tie to each boy who did a work of service in the Castle..his dream?..to look out from altar at a School Mass & see every boy with a striped tie..my dream for our parish?..to look each of you in the face & thank you heartfully for the work of service each of you do for us & thereby for Christ..how many keys to hearts do you hold? family/ friend/ parishioner/ fellow monk who sought you out for good reason..to invite you to be their caretaker..to love & to forgive them back to life, perhaps after years of existence, going through the motions, maintaining a safe lukewarm distant comfort zone..& to whom have you entrusted your heart, your journey & your story thus far? loosed or bound, the freedom to notice to intervene & to work/walk/pray alongside the seeker & the wounded, as well as the able eager & the together, is yours..caretakers who take care as they meet Christ in person & in question..& if you are a Peter who is your Paul?.. Wimbledon fortnight begins Monday..doubles matches are Peter & Paul moments..often a seeded Peter pairs up with a wild card Paul..one close to net is Peter; alert eagle eyed a reactionary, whilst Paul sees game from longer wider perspective & responds to what gets past Peter at net..& the excitement of game is that when the going gets tough, really demanding frenetic pace they spontaneously interchange..& if you sit down to watch with your strawberries/cream, even switching off iphone to avoid all interruptions, remember you have been chosen to play not watch..& when you ask for a key & qualify for striped tie, when you do it for the first time, you’ll get first real taste of what it’s all about, not in Wimbledon or in OL&SB Church but out there on holy & rocky ground..it was only then that Peter himself “you are the Christ”..Paul “the Lord stood by me & gave me power“ & now you, come to your senses..your real self..“now I know it is all true” ..”you are the Christ”..your words as an insider to the outsider out there in guise of gardener or migrant ..& its game set & match not to us but to Jesus Christ.. [ St Peter & Paul; Mt 16;13-19]