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Sermon Luke 7 St Ninian and Edward Pusey, What to do when I grow up

September 16, 2020

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Sermon Luke 7 SEPT 2020

I wonder if you ever ask yourself- what should I do?

When we are younger that question often means:

What should I do when I grow up?
What should I do for work or my career?

As we move on a little that question becomes one of work/ life balance
Or juggling competing priorities….

Later we meet: what should I do with my retirement?

Sometimes we ask What should I do? At crossroads in our life.
Often in moments of reflection or self-doubt
We also ask: what am I doing with my life?

I might mix the opening command of todays epistle
into that question by asking YOU:

What do you Strive FOR? (if anything)

Or even more exposing- in thevein of todays gospel
what do other people say you strive for?
These are all important questions for the Christian journey-
and they are worth deliberately focussing in on from time to time so see how closely we are steering towards the moral ideal laid out by St Paul

That we should strive for the Greater Gifts- and especially LOVE.

He uses that amazing phrase:
0but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end

A phrase that sets out the parameters of our journey.

As we walk our Christian pilgrimage we are expected to BE more and more complete.
Those things which are partial. And small. And less.
Must be dropped somewhere on the Way.

Step Four of the Twelve Step recovery program, most commonly associated with Alcoholics Anonymous invites those pilgrims to

MAKE A FEARLESS AND SEARCHING MORAL INVENTORY OF OURSELVES

It is famously one of the most challenging steps on that gruelling path to conversion of life.

And often one where people turn back.

We are invited to look clearly into the mirror of our own souls and ask:

Where am I let down by my:

Fear, Pride, Resentments, Self-will and self-pity, Guilt/shame??

How do I really do strive after love

in my Relationships, with my Secrets, with my Assets?

Today the Church celebrates the distant lives of two great pilgrims:

St Ninian or Trynnian- was an Irish missionary monk- teacher of St Coloumba
He travelled much as an apostle to the pictish peoples
of Galloway and Northumbria.

And Edward Pusey- a much more settled figure-
Who was a History Professor at Oxford
and one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement
which so transformed the practices of Anglican worship.

Both men came from priviledged backgrounds and we can easily image both of them sitting along some day in the C9th or C19th centures- asking of themselves:
WHAT SHOULD I DO?

In death both men are now remembered for their answer to that question.

famously dedicated to the practice of their faith.
they took is so seriously it took over them and took over their lives.

Their answers to What should I do? Were very simple:
Give myself to God entirely.
Give myself to LOVE unconditionally
Spend my energies, assets, secrets & talents pursuing that more Excellent way

To speak in the tongues of angels
to have prophetic powers, to understand mysteries and pursue knowledge,
to have faith to remove mountains, to away their possessions,
to hand over their bodies to LOVE

Let me invite you begin an inventory of your own lives today and, with Ninian and Pusey to pursue a way of life that is:
patient; kind; avoids envy, boasting, and arrogance, rudeness,
insistence, irritation, resentfulness.
To put away the old self- the old wineskins- the childish ways
To steer clear of partisanship and division.
To rejoice in the truth.
To be patient, believing, hopeful, enduring.
To keep going to the end

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now we know only in part; then we will know fully, even as we have been fully known.