Rev Canon Pat Robson's VE/VJ Day Sermon Sunday, 16th August 2020

VE/ VJ Day sermon. Ladock

 

About 3 years ago a class of 7 year olds from Grampound School came up to St Nun's church. The teacher had prepared a work sheet and everyone got busy looking for answers. Everyone, except 2 little girls who didn't seem to want to take part. They sat alone on the back row of chairs and I was standing not far from them.

The smallest of the girls suddenly turned to the other and said “I feel sorry for God, you know”

“Why?”  demanded the bigger one.

The little one looked up and said. “Well God can't have a cooker up there. What does He do? He must get very hungry!”

“ God's not stupid, you know!” retorted the bigger one “When he gets hungry, he waits for a quiet moment down here and he slips down to Probus chippy for a take away!”

Content with the answer they both nodded wisely and settled down to silence once more.

 

 The Bible tells us that we are made in the image of God, so if we get hungry why shouldn't He?

The early stories in the Bible date back four thousand years and we have lovely stories of God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, meeting Moses face to face and fighting with Jacob.

Angels were seen among men dispensing God's wisdom. They were all wonderful stories telling of the sheer majesty of God.

 

When Jesus came two thousand years later, mankind's idea of God had changed and Jesus told us plainly that God is Spirit and that those who worship him, worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.

So it is our souls and not our bodies that are made in the image of God. God has breathed into us all His breath of life, our souls. Our bodies are important, especially as, within our bodies, we house this most precious gift from God and so we have a duty of care.

A new born baby is given this gift of holiness and loving kindness, the very nature of God Himself. But as we grow, our experience of life tarnishes us and our soul can become damaged and scarred and we feel separated from God. Jesus tells us that when that happens all we have to do is to reach out to God and he will take our hand and restore our souls.

It’s a bit like me having this new smart phone. I was convinced that I would press all the wrong things and it would become completely messed up. My grandson told me not to worry. If I messed it up he would just press a default button and it would go back to just how the maker intended it to be.

So it is with our souls. God is our default position and we can be born again, time and time again.

And then we can be the person our Maker intended us to be. The anger and the tension and the walls we have built around us can all be peeled away to expose our loving, kindly core. The very spirit of God Himself.

We've seen this happen during the war. We've seen it happen during this pandemic. It can take us by surprise. We think we're tough and have seen it all, but suddenly something happens and our hearts are touched and they reach out in pity, and when that happens the Spirit of God is released into the world and wonderful things happen.

These wartime memorial services often make me think of an ex-parishioner of mine. He had been a soldier during the war and had done his fair share of killing. He and his platoon were captured by the Japanese in Burma and he spent two years in a prison camp in the jungle. His anger and his hate of his captors was total. He was still cursing and swearing every time he thought about what had happened to him and his comrades. He was the most unhappy man I have ever met and nothing I could do or say could help him. He was certain that God could never forgive him and he could not conceive of  ever laying his anger down. It had become part of him and it was all he had left to honour his dead comrades.

His was such a damaged, hurting soul and I could do nothing, but I firmly believe he is now at peace, cleansed and pure once more, just as His Maker intended him to be all along.

 

The exciting thing is that if the Spirit of God is in all men, women and children the world over, it cannot ever be totally  extinguished by force or fear. Even during wars  and dictatorships. It may appear to be absent but it never truly is. It is always there just below the surface, like a forest fire which is spreading and burning among the roots, ready to break into flame in the slightest of breezes.

 

When Russia was brought under the heel of the Communist Party a team of 4 educators was sent to a small Russian village in the Steppes. The people of the village were summoned to the village hall and subjected to 3 hours of re-education. Religion, they were told, was the opium of the masses and there was no room for such nonsense in the new Communist State. The people sat in silence and listened obediently. At last the class was over and the educators felt pleased with themselves. As the got up to go the leader turned to the people and asked if anyone had anything they wanted to say. There was a long silence and the educators smiled at each other, A job well done!

Then an old priest struggled to his feet and stood up at the back of the hall and in a loud but quavering voice, said firmly “Christ is risen!” at which everyone stood up and instantly replied “He is risen indeed. Alleluia!”

 

The Spirit of God can never be extinguished and being a person of faith is the most exciting thing ever. You never know what wonderful thing is going to happen next!

 

 


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