Sermons

Third Sunday after Trinity

2 jul 2017

Evensong

Preacher: The Revd Jessie Daniels White,
Asst Curate, St Hugh, Bermondsey

Readings: Isaiah 35; Hebrews 10.35–11.1

podcast

Today is the eve of the  Feast of St Thomas, the Apostle.

With St Thomas, the Apostle in centre stage, we are once more blessed with a teaching on faith and goodness, which we find in every person. Goodness is man’s natural trait as man is made in the likeness of our God and Father.

Thomas had to see Jesus in order to believe. For generations and till the present time, Thomas has been tagged as the ‘Doubting Thomas.’ He has been known in the Christian world for what he was not, and not for what he was, a disciple of Jesus.

Thomas is certainly a victim of man’s tendency to highlight the negative rather than focus on the positive. We tend to proclaim a failure and set aside the victory. Thomas’ skepticism earned for himself the name of Doubting Thomas for all ages and yet he never earned the recognition of being the only character in the Bible to call Jesus, “God.” Jesus said, “Put your hand into my side. Do not persist in your unbelief, but believe!” Thomas said in response, “My Lord and my God!”

Today, as we relate with one another, we are made aware that we should not only be able to see what is positive in every circumstance but be able to transcend the negative and make it work for God’s greater glory.

In community life, we will be able to achieve unity only if we have the grace of seeing both sides of a situation. If we are able to work together as a body of believers united by one faith and love of God, we will be able to see the goodness in others.

A Christian community should be able to nurture and nourish one’s faith and belief in God. It should be a community of love and not one that seeks to blame and justify, not one that fosters hate but love and understanding, a church that is for and by Christ and not by people like those who opposed Jesus during his time.

Jesus calls us to be members of one another, not just “in spirit” but for real. That means we not only are “together” in our hearts, but really together in the same room, offering the same prayers, making the same physical gestures, hearing the same Scriptures, offering the same bread and wine and receiving the same Body and Blood of Christ. As we do this, we are, by the promise of Christ, joined not only to each other but with God Himself. And our unity, according to Scripture, will be the same as the unity that exists between Father and the Son.

Jesus said, ‘Holy Father, keep them in Name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. Let us thank God for the miraculous unity of the Body of Christ and for his even more miraculous gift of unity with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

Brethren, the only way we can live up to our discipleship in Christ is by seeing the goodness of one another, by seeing Jesus in each other, by being reconciliatory rather than authoritative, by being humble and accepting our shortcomings.  In the same vein, we should be able to accept that all of us are inherently imperfect (just like Thomas’ and his unbelief) and would need to change and improve for the better so that our work for the Lord may to some degree reach a level of perfection.

With God’s grace, everything is possible despite all adversities! He is with us until the end of all ages but we need to listen to His Word and act on it in truth. “For steadfast is his kindness for us, and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.”