Today is the day we resumed worship at Hope Uniting Church.
We are now a Congregation without a Pastor. He has been promoted to a Mission in Newtown and our Lady Pastor, having just birthed their second child, is on maternity leave. Then she is off to teach at the Theological College and to finish her Phd.
Which brings me to Team Church, 4 of us elected to keep the Parish running up until we find a locum.
I lead the Liturgy and preached. Something I haven’t done in a while, not since I left the Parish in the mountains. It was an unnerving experience and I had to take the mask off and on, until I forgot whether it was on or off.
The first thing I noticed were the beloved people whom I had not see in so, and I so long.
Here is my Sermon.
For the past year we have all been living in an alien land, Coronaville where we could not come and go as we wished and where, for some, our very relationships with the Body of Christ were turned upside down because we were alienated from it. From us.
Imagine if we had been in Egypt during this time and when the light shone brightly though the tunnel of our redemption, we, first had to witness the death of the first born of Egypt? To see firsthand what the love of God can do to bring his Son out of Egypt, for Israel was his first-Born Son.
As the prophet Hosea was to say 1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
And the pivot in this sea saw is the Epiphany, Epiphanies are revelations, manifestations, awakenings and at about 2 years of age Wise men, Astrologers, came from the East, possibly Persia, according to revelations of their own bringing gifts,
Gold a symbol of his earthly kingship, frankincense, a symbol of his deity, and myrrh as a symbol of his death.
Jesus was revealed firstly to the gentiles – to those like us.
Jesus and his family fled to Egypt to sojourn there, to live, as Israel had before him. His return fulfilled the words of the Prophet Hosea, whether this was a device used by Matthew to stress fulfilment of prophecy of the Messiah. If so, we might consider that Hosea was conscious both his historical recall and that his words were prophetic. That these words of Prophet and Evangelist fleshed out, revealed the continuing story of Israel’s salvation and of our own.
Israel was his first-born son, recalls Hosea, therefore God has other sons, we are those other sons, joint heirs with Christ, grafted into the vine. We are returned here, to this place to continue to work out our salvation, to carry on the Father’s Business in the world. “0ut of Egypt I called my son.”
God’s one and only son, yet another innocent, was crucified died and rose again that cleansed of our sins, we might live a new life in him.
Do not forget that we are the body of Christ and that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of that Body and each one of us members of that body, bound together by the Holy Spirit. The many and varied gifts each of us are to the others, bind us to that body, whose head is Christ.
Andrew Blair 7/2/2021