Pew Sermon for Sunday 20th March

For the last two years it’s been Covid, and cancelled freedoms and holidays, and masks and jabs. And Boris (and the rest of them) breaking the rules.

Now, all that seems like – if not an irrelevance, then at least smaller background material, as it would now seem that larger concerns of war and peace now dominate.

Which is curious. Because both Covid and Ukraine are both matters of life and death, and both have caused global disruption and death on a staggering and almost unimaginable scale. And Covid cases are rising again – but people are not getting as severely ill. Except that the vulnerable who are shielding may not be greatly comforted by this, as in some cases, catching even mild Covid might be the end of them.

In our passage last Sunday, Jesus helpfully reminds us to keep perspective when faced with the ghastly daily and hourly news from Ukraine. Here is an extract from last Sunday’s sermon if you missed it:

At least one of your excellent parishioners, who shall remain nameless, tells me she would quite cheerfully kill Vladimir Putin, if only she has the chance.

What about us? is there a better way of reacting in Christ?

Jesus answer to the Herod threat [in Luke 13] is helpful.

First, he does not get drawn in – go tell that fox for me. I don’t need to tell him myself. Herod is not that relevant to me. He is clearly relevant to you, the messengers. You perceive a threat – but I don’t – because it is not in God’s will for me to die outside Jerusalem – and Herod’s rule is to the north, in Galilee. It is not relevant to my mission, says Jesus.

Go and tell him yourself.

Jesus is so sure of the mind and purpose of God, and His place in it, that he immediately sees the threat of Herod as an irrelevance.

And that keeps Him level and even in His response. And safe.

It reminds me of a wonderful Latin motto:

Aquila non captat muscus

Eagles don’t catch flies

In other words, the mighty do not stoop to the level of small concerns.

Jesus treats Herod as an irrelevance, because He sees the bigger picture.

Jesus swats off this fly as an irrelevance, so sure is He of God’s mission and plan and purpose and timing. He knows there is no danger.

Because He is operating according to God’s plan, not Herod’s threats. And He then tells us what that plan is: it is the mission to the poor: casting out demons, healing the sick, today, and tomorrow. And on the metaphorical third day He will finish.

So, what can we do in the current situation? Well, we can keep a sense of perspective by being grounded in God’s plan and purpose for us also. We can pray. We can give. And we can have an opinion.

And we can help each other to do these things. Because working together, we are so much greater than the sum of the parts.

Keep in touch and have a good week.