..the rise of the young being a threat to the establishment, to the golden oldies who had served long & hard, with the emphasis on “hard” ..& they didn’t like it when the fresh voices spoke & were listened to.. “my Lord Moses stop them !” 3500yrs ago & does it still happen to us now, a contagious infection..& in silencing the young, be they a 17yr old with opinions or a month old with wind, we are suppressing the voice of divine truth.. “..are you jealous on my account?” ..or is our own pride hurt? ; Lord have mercy “..if only the whole people were prophets” ..if only.. ; Christ have mercy “..& the Lord gave his Spirit to them all..” young & old..fellow migrants in one boat.. ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
“them & us” Catholics & Protestants; practising Catholics & lapsed Catholics; believers & seekers ; faithful & doubters; religious & spiritual; 6pm Sat & 10am Sunday..opposites or complementary? an opportunity for grace to enter & do the rest on a journey where difference is acknowledged valued & celebrated..”Master, because he was not one of us we tried to stop him” divine grace allegedly confined to a particular group ..can a Christian pray for the salvation of a Muslim extremist? would you pray for the salvation of a terrorist radicalised by IS?..”anyone who works a miracle in my name is unlikely to speak evil of me” Rev Julie Nicholson Anglican priest in Bristol wrestling with her inability to forgive Saddiq suicide bomber from Leeds is a miracle in itself..the courage grace determination to try to forgive man who lived in St Anthonys RC Parish Beeston who killed her daughter in 7 July London tube bombings..”I can’t forgive..for the time being” a faith to wait to pray & face the tragedy each day, & keep open possibility that in time [kairos divine time not chronos clockwork time] she may be able to forgive one “who was not one of us” but could be on a journey of self realisation remorse & love towards us..Julie’s faith different; evident noticed & evokes the smallest yet powerful response..a cup of cold water offered to you & thereby to Christ..brings to mind Hamish & his bicycle “not one of us?”a man of road alcoholic homeless & heartless? ..when I met him outside Church 2yrs ago proudly wheeling his bicycle..in conversation I said I could do with a bike like his to help me regain fitness after my pneumonia..without hesitation he unhitched his bag & handed me his bike..& he meant it “let us test him with cruelty & torture, & thus explore this gentleness of his, since he will be looked after..we have his word for it.” Hamish tortured yet gentle..Christ in person, in a personal relationship with Christ different from ours but still thankfully “one of us?” Marks Jesus goes into depth & at length to warn us against being obstructive towards the flow of divine love & grace.. uses imagery of body very Pauline, where each of us is a part a limb; hand eye foot in our service to the body of Christ in person, in this Parish, & then subsequently beyond our boundaries, our limits & limitations, our borders & ramparts; tactile hands, warm hearts, potentially miraculous..is your eyesight as clear & perceptive as buzzards which soar on thermals above our Village?..have you never looked up towards them & the sun? towards Christ? & seen some of most spectacular sights in nature, which we believers translate as supernature/supernatural..buzzard bird of prey, you & I people of prayer, on watch not to kill but prevent viscious attacks; bodily spiritual emotional harm on our beloved brothers & sisters, alert far seeing, & with a cup of cold water & a word/look of gentle invitation to “come & see” to realise they are “one of us”..& how is your foot, your footfall, your faith footfall? strident confident dependable & consistent?..Cedric Robinson is Queens Guide to Morecambe Bay; he leads walkers across 9miles sandbanks at low tide..done it for 60yrs..each time up early to walk it first on his own; sands change every day, he tests each step for firm sand or quicksand; he carries under arm bundle birch twigs puts in twig to mark firm sand; once across it’s easy to get back, he follows his own twigs..then leads his group across safely, having done it himself first..so too with prayer; you & I up early to pray, to test ground..in step with Christ? or out on my own?..not Queens Guide but Christs guide..you a guide for Christ..in his footsteps his grace & the birch twigs..no satnav no Ordnance Survey map but the real presence, Christ & you..Christ in you, together one real person..we need each of you in good voice, keen eyed, soaring on thermals we call Holy Spirit..in good heart & in step with one another, & together, inspired & empowered to work miracles “if only the whole people of the Lord were prophets, & the Lord gave his Spirit to them all!”..no longer “if only” but now “most certainly” the whole people of the Lord personified in this, our little flock, in this safe & privileged corner of North Yorkshire..you are prophets, & the Lord gives his Spirit to each & all of you..& through you..all of you..to me.. [26thSunYr BMk9;38-48]