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A Sermon for 2nd Sunday of Lent 2012

March 3, 2012

Lord bless my words, that they may be your Words.

May all that is of you be heard and remembered,

and all else forgotten.


I want to start by praying a poem, I pray it for me and for you (‘Here Am I”, Steve Turner, from “Careful How you Pray”:


This is my flesh.

I give it to you.

These are my thoughts,

and this is my work.

Here are my faults.

Here is the fear

I discuss with myself.

Here are my good jokes,

here are my bad ones.

The flesh is falling apart,

it will have to do.

The thoughts are uncontrollable

some of them hate each other.


Here is my sweat,

and my decay,

the face only mirrors see.

This is my love

and my lack of love.

Here is my laughter.

Here are the years.

Here am I.


You see this is how Lent starts, by coming to God and saying “Here am I”.


But reality can be a painful thing. In the last week I made a discovery. A sad and painful discovery.


I keep my bees on a farm in Somerleyton. Early Monday morning I went over to give them a little feed to encourage the queens to lay during the warm weather. But as soon as I lifted the roof off the first hive I knew something was wrong. No bees came to see me off. The was no buzzing at all. So I checked some more and found the bees – they were all dead on the comb. Then with a heavy heart I checked my other hives. They were all the same. No bees. All dead, still hanging on to the comb.


I couldn’t find a cause for their deaths. They certainly still had food and had survived colder weather in the past. But the horrible fact remained that they were all dead. It didn’t seem real. But it was.


I was numb. Overwhelmed by the horror of seeing my beautiful bees all dead and lifeless. But it had happened, no matter how much I wanted to believe otherwise.


That is how I feel about myself also. Particularly when I look closely.


I want to be a faithful disciple of Christ; enthusiastic even. But then I look at the reality of who I am, the things that I do, and the things that I do not do. And I know that I have so far to go. In fact I often feel as though I’m going backwards at times. Less certain of things that I would never have questioned years ago.


I look at myself and feel overwhelmed by the horror of seeing what I have done to the beautiful soul God created in me. Seeing the reality of myself, can leave me feeling dead and lifeless.


But there is no point in turning away from what I see. Reality is. You cannot change what is, only what you do about it.


So I keep looking, and find that all is not dead, there are signs of hope.


After I had discovered my dead bees on Monday. I was numb to start with. Then I desperately wanted that life that was gone to come back again. But that could never happen. Then I knew what needed doing. Straight away. So I found someone locally with bees to sell and that night I ordered more bees for later in the year.


The government bee inspector is coming to check over my hives tomorrow. I will find out what killed them. I will do the right thing and make sure that, if it is something contagious, it will not spread further.


I will then sterilise everything and start again; hopefully, wiser.


This is also the only spiritual choice for me. I look at the death and decay inside me. I look to the source of new life, God himself. Then I see what went wrong, try and clean up the mess. And start again.


That, after all, is what lent is about. Looking at ourselves honestly. Seeing the good, but also seeing the bad, and not hiding from that sight: Not running away.


In Lent we face up to who we really are. Then we let the death and decay inside us be nailed to the cross with Christ. Ready to rise with Him, clean and new.


But that is to jump ahead too early. That will cheat us of the good that Lent can do to us. For now we must face who we are. Co-operated with the Soul Inspector, find out what went wrong, what is wrong.


Then we can be clean again.


So I continue to pray that, I, and each of you may be given the gift of a Holy Lent.


And will end by praying a poem, I pray it for me and for you (‘Well Done”, Steve Turner, from “Careful How you Pray”:


You said you’d never leave me.

Never forsake me.

But I haven’t heard you around

these parts for a month or so.

Do you still get my messages

tossed up each day?

Can you hear my anguish?

I know you send postcards

through trees and clouds.

I know that your smile

is somehow in every smile.


I read your letters.

I listen to your songs.

But I long for that personal touch.

I want that pat on the back,

that whisper in the ear,

that look in the eye.

I want to hear you say,

‘Well done.”

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