Sermon Notes – Revd Richard Frost – 30/7/17 -Psalm 119.v129-136, Romans 8.26-39, Matthew 13.31-33.

Jesus said ‘Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the Kingdom is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old‘.

In getting a subject matter across to students especially if it is something new, a teacher will usually employ a concept of  ‘working from the known to the unknown’.  The effectiveness depends of course on the understanding that the students have.   There is a concept in learning that says ‘I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand ‘.

Jesus in the Gospel message today tells five little parables each containing a profound and deep spiritual truth about the Kingdom of Heaven.  We are not quite sure who he was addressing but we would gather it was aimed as much at the disciples as the crowds who followed.  He takes simple everyday things that his hearers could relate – A mustard seed, the leaven in the lump, the find of hidden treasure, the seeker of priceless stones and the casting of a Fisherman’s net.  Each parable is a sermon in itself.  We can therefore consider them separately or as a whole.  How are we to understand them? At heart they are about Proclamation and Revelation.

They are visual with impact .  There is movement, growth, wonder, drama and joy in the accounts.  For instance what revolutionary teaching about leaven. We can equate this with yeast which in Old Testament teaching was considered evil or unclean.  Yet Jesus offers a new perception which is revolutionary, life giving and life enhancing. As it ferments in the dough it is like the Kingdom of Heaven which spreads through a persons life. There is a mixture of the worldly with the Heavenly pointing to the mystery and treasure that is at the heart of God.

Have you understood all these things?”  Said Jesus.  It is an unusual question as if some academic exercise.  ‘Yes‘ they replied.

Jesus is very gentle for I don’t think for one minute they did fully understand.  How could they?  Do we  How often in our faith journeys our understanding of God is borne out not so much by the intellectual but through experience  – the doing or responding to God’s word.

Having been now ordained for twenty years, one thing I have learnt along my faith journey is that the more I try to understand God the less I do.  Faith often raises more questions than answers and yet something draws me closer to this wonderful God that we adore and worship.

My quest to know and love God always takes me back to the Cross and Resurrection of our Lord.  It is only in His light, through His story that His teaching makes any sense to my and your Story.  For each of us has one to tell.  The Disciples were the same.  It was only in the light of the Resurrection that the ‘penny dropped’ so to speak and these little stories came to be seen as power packed with the Grace and Love of God.

I can recall nearly 40 years ago, as a young bobby and not a Christian at the time, being distraught at the loss of a dear colleague in his 30s, a father of two young children who suddenly dropped dead in the police station one Christmas Eve.  My response was more faithless than faithful.  I remonstrated and was angry.  ‘If there is a God why did he let this happen?’

But, God always has the last word.  He was gentle with me as He is with us all.  It set me on a path of faith.  I can recall a Reader in the Church where my colleague was buried, preaching one morning and words that have never left me that made no sense at the time – ‘God will have His way in your life‘!  God stopped me in my tracks as so often Is His Way.

A mustard seed was sown in my heart.  Over the years, the yeast of faith began to ferment.  Treasure filled my whole life and the net was cast to put out into the deep water of faith.

God had His way in the lives of his Disciples. He showed them the way of faith by the example of His selfless love and sacrifice.

It was only in the ‘doing’ that they began to understand – to give up everything to follow Jesus. They too found their treasure that transformed their lives.

Take the writer of our lesson from Romans today, St Paul, a Christian persecutor who’s life was totally turned around after his dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus.  The hidden treasure was revealed and he was able to proclaim with one heart and voice , ‘I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and the power of His Resurrection ‘ ( Phil 3.8-10)

Or take the two disciples on the road to Emmaus after Jesus had risen from the dead.  How sad and disappointed they were that Jesus their only hope in the world had been so tragically taken from them.  Desperately searching for answers a stranger joins them in their midst and suddenly their eyes were ‘opened’ and they see Jesus in the breaking of bread.  Jesus is alive, their hope is restored.  The priceless pearl is recovered.  The parables connect.  Their story becomes our story.  An old story breathes and speaks of New life and hope.

Suddenly the words of the Psalmist from the Old Testament makes sense.  There is both Proclamation and Revelation  –  ‘The unfolding of your word gives light . It gives understanding to the simple‘.

Proclamation and Revelation is of the very essence.  It gives light and life to the people of God and to this whole world even thou some may chose to ignore it.  Be assured God will have his way in your life and in the story of this church.

The Chapelle is wonderfully blessed and open to new possibilities and challenges.  There is an acceptance of  combining the old with the new – we can see that for instance in the love that emanates in our worship through the singing of traditional hymns and modern worship songs.

There is a thirst for the Good news of the Gospel.  There are plans and a vision that a permanent priest will be appointed in the future.  All of this is underlined by prayer and fellowship.  Be encouraged.  God is doing something new.

It will not be without sacrifice but such is our faith – but one thing is clear from our Gospel message and the message from St Paul in our reading from Romans  – ‘All things work for Good for those who love God who are called according to His purpose for ‘There is nothing that can separate us from the Love of God In Christ Jesus‘.

We all have are part to play as the early disciples did.  God proclaims and His love is revealed.  We are called to be faithful – to Live out His purpose whether here or anywhere else in the world.  Never forget -you have been called by name – God chose you for a reason to proclaim and reveal His light – His Life -And His Love In His world.

Therefore, in our simple reasoning when we do – we understand.  We can proclaim with confidence – that Jesus’s parables as a whole teach us one eternal truth ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you‘. The Holy Spirit is what draws and leads us.  Helps us in our weakness, strengthens our resolve.  The Spirit Is what empowers and equips us on our Heavenly journey.  It is where our Priceless Treasure is to be found.

We pray with the Psalmist – ‘Lord show the light of your countenance upon us your humble servants



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