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The Third Sunday of Epiphany – Sunday 23th January 2022

January 23, 2022

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

Our sermon for today is from The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

More Traditional:

 
 

More Modern:

 
 
 
Prayerful
 

Sermon Text

There is a Yorkshire saying, “The higher the monkey climbs, the more he shows his backside!” Though it is a little cruder in the original. This is a saying aimed at those who have got above themselves. The one who went away and made some money, and has now come back to his home town or village and is splashing the cash. Is telling tall tales of his adventures and making out that he is above those that he grew up with.

Sometimes, it can be utterly justified. Some people think that a little worldly success, money or fame makes them a better person than the mere insects they grew up with. They have climbed so high that all they show is their shame, and they cannot see it.

Sometimes though it is not justified. Sometimes, the person who went away is not trying to show off. The person has been away and has been changed by it. They are different but they are not trying to belittle anyone. However, the simple fact that they are now a little exotic and different means that the locals feel left behind. They feel jealous, and it is out of their jealousy that they try to put their former friend down.

This is the setting of the reading from Luke 4, read today. Jesus has returned to his home town and has gone to worship. Everyone is there, they have heard of all the miracles and healings that Jesus has done. Will they welcome their hero home or will they turn on him. Well our reading ends before we find out, but I can tell you that just a few verses later the people Jesus grew up with, turn on him, they drag him out and even try to kill him.

That was then but what now? Well there is the obvious lesson not to be too hasty in our judgement of people. But more than that, there is a lesson on how we treat Jesus’ message now.

Back then Jesus quoted from the prophet Isaiah and said of himself,

“The Lord’s Spirit has come to me,

because he has chosen me to tell the good news to the poor.

The Lord has sent me to announce freedom for prisoners,

to give sight to the blind, to free everyone who suffers,

and to say, ‘This is the year the Lord has chosen.’”

“What you have just heard me read has come true today.”


I can read those words and be challenged. Challenged to join with Jesus mission to be filled with the Spirit, to be good news for those who are poor and offer a way out for everyone who is weighed down by the injustices of this world, blinded by greed, and I can strive in Christ to free people from their suffering.

This call of Jesus will shake up every cosy notion I have about faith. It blows out of the water the idea that faith is a private thing, and even more so that faith has nothing to do with politics. I can embrace Jesus’ claim, and make a nuisance of myself, calling out for justice and equality and not being silenced until I get it. I can encourage others to do the same.

Equally, I can read those words of Jesus and be challenged. Challenged to reject this idea of a Jesus that leaves the walls of our churches. I have known this Jesus from my youth, how dare he come back now and shake up my comfortable world. I can embrace what I have always known to be true and silence those who make a nuisance of themselves.

Those words of Jesus. They challenge me and you as much now as they did in Jesus’ home town all those years ago. Do I embrace Jesus’ words, and follow him? Do I force him back in his place, in church, in a cradle, in a grave.

Today, do I embrace Jesus’ words? Do you?

Amen.

From → Worship

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