Lent5B 2006 Sermon Jenks

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This page relates to the lectionary article for Lent5B.

Notes for a Sermon on Lent 5B

Three questions religion is supposed to answer include:

  • the question of meaning (why am I here?)
  • the question of morality (how am I to act?)
  • the question of mortality (what comes after death?)

In addition to the three Ms, we can add one other:

  • the question of holiness (what character am I to develop?)

Today's readings explore various dimensions of this question:

JER 31 → internalised holiness (rather than compliance morality)

HEB 5 → imagines Jesus as perfect priest (holiness incarnated)

JOHN 12 → holiness that springs out of sacrifice

  • We die in order to live
  • We give in order to receive
  • We release in order to retain
  • What we most fear to lose we cannot hold
  • What we are willing to lose may come back to us in other ways

As we come to the Table recall the words of St Augustine:

Now when you receive communion, you receive the mystery of your own communion in love.
Being many, you are one body.
Many grapes hang on the vine, but the juice of grapes is mingled into oneness.
Therefore, be what you see, and receive what you are.
Sermon on John 26:13 [1]

Today's themes are explored in a different but evocative way in the following poem:

Now the Green Blade Rises (John M.C. Crum, 1872-1958)

Now the green blade rises from the buried grain,
Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been;
Love is come again like wheat arising green.

In the grave they laid him, love by hatred slain;
Thinking that he would never wake again,
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen;
Love is come again like wheat arising green.

Forth he came at Easter, like the risen grain,
He that for three days in the grave had lain;
Raised from the dead, my living Lord is seen;
Love is come again like wheat arising green.

When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
Your touch can call us back to life again,
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been;
Love is come again like wheat arising green.

Greg Jenks
St Catherine's Anglican Church, Centenary Suburbs (Queensland, Australia)
Sunday, 2 April 2006