IN CR CHURCH
SUNDAY BEFORE LENT
2:4b-9, 15-25. Rev 4. Luke 8:22-25.
What a contrast: between the Ezekiel-like vision from Revelation and the Jonah-like storm-scene in the Gospel! What connection can there be between these two New Testament readings and the creation of Adam and Eve, in the Old Testament reading?
Surely it is this: that all three tell us about what God is like, who he is, what he does – and about what he’s concerned with. All three are in their own ways Epiphanies; God manifesting himself. First as Creator – giving life. Then as ultimate transcendence. In Charles Gore our Founder’s dying words, “Transcendent Glory!”. Then, in the Gospel, as friend and brother.
God is Creator, yes, he is ultimate glory, yes and he is utterly human. He is intimately involved with us in our lives, bound up in the bundle of life with each one of us, in our families, in our work, in our communities. More even than compassion - he is concerned.
What does the Gospel tell us? He saves some fishermen from drowning. He is concerned with ordinary people. With a few exceptions. When he came down from heaven he didn’t waste time trying to impress the important people, the elite, the governors, the royals and semi-royals of his day. Nor with those important religious people, learned, distinguished, observant priests and people, who could well afford to be religious, who had their front stalls paid for in advance in the kingdom of heaven.
No, his acts of power, his epiphanies are to the materially and morally poor, shepherds, beggars, lepers, drunkards, prostitutes, crooks, divorced women, adulteresses. His closest pals were working fishermen – trawlermen if you like.
What does he give them? He gives them precisely what they need, then and there, no more, no less.
He gives them life, new life maybe but simply and basically - just life. He doesn’t give them inessentials like country estates, mansions, nice clothes, or any of the sorts of power, in commerce, church, or state.
He gives life. No one else but God can do that. He lets us get on with it. There may be guidance, from the Holy Spirit, unseen, unheard, imperceptible. He’s the ultimate NOT Control Freak. You can never prove anything about God.
Our brother Timothy, who we buried on Friday, died on 16 January, just the day before Charles Gore’s anniversary. When we think of Timothy as we knew him, we can see that the Lord gives nothing less than Eternal Life too, foretasted in this life, realised completely in the life to come.