|Pen and Ink Reflections||
How do we want our stories to end? Whether it is our own story, or that of our community, our nation, our world, much is up to us. Now, we may not have much room for manoeuvre. All kinds of forces help shape our lives, internal and unconscious, as well as external and recognised. Yet we still have power to shape our stories, even if only by our attitudes, and by how we receive and respond to what happens to us. This truth is at the very heart of the Gospel and the power of love, forgiveness, and justice seeking. For, however you view the Resurrection stories, a common feature is their open, unfinished nature. The tomb is not sealed. The body is not there or is transformed. The end is a new beginning. So how do we want the story to continue?...
Shortly before we were ordained in 1986, Jo and I were privileged to attend the World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh. Its title – ‘In Search of a Larger Christ” – and the impact of some of the speakers has stayed with me for a lifetime of ministry. The speakers were global – African, Latin-American, and for me most notable the great Asian theologian Kosuke Koyama. In impeccable English, Kosuke Koyama explained that it was impossible to understand the character and work of Christ until you had attempted to translate that into a language other than your birth language. His point was that our ideas about Christ are shaped by the culture and context in which we first encounter Christ. Until we stretch ourselves to translate those ideas into a different culture, our idea of Christ will always be too small. Let me tell you, our idea of Christ is way too small – and that was very clear to me in preparing this sermon today for Cosmos Sunday.
by Jon Inkpin, Pentecost 10A, 17 August 2014
What is at the heart of Faith, and what boundaries does it have? These questions are powerfully thrown up by today’s Gospel story of the Canaanite woman with Jesus. Not for the first time, the Gospel challenges us deeply: asking us to consider what is at the heart of our lives and what boundaries we impose or patrol. It is a great story: very challenging, and worth reflecting on at depth. For what a contrast the heart of Faith certainly is with much of what has sometimes gone on, in the name of religion! Recent events, for example,have reminded us forcibly of the horrors of religious persecution. Our hearts and prayers go out to so many in the Middle East, and elsewhere, where people have been, and continue to be, not just oppressed but, literally, slaughtered, for their faith and culture: simply for being different from others. As people of whatever faith, or none, across the world we must redouble our efforts to seek protection for all, peace and justice, reconciliation and healing for everyone - all of which challenges flow from the heart of our Gospel story today...