The Water and the Blood

The Rev'd Dr Thomas Sharp's sermon preached on the Sixth Sunday of Easter

Life is wet.

The blood in your veins is wet.
The meat in your muscles is wet.
Your brain and spinal chord float in a tank of wet.
Your cells only function because they are wet
and the chemistry of life can flow and ebb.

Behind the pop of cartilage
or the slap of a steak,
the dripping of blood
and the crunching of leaves,
life in its wetness is flowing and oozing and splashing.



And yet… we fear it.

Wetness uncontained drowns, blurs, stains,
un-tidies our world, un-restrains it.

The glass spills, the roof fails, the advancing waves devour the land.


In blood and water we are born.
In water and blood we find new birth.
Blood on our foreheads, water on our lips.
Blood and water mixed in the birth canal, the font and chalice.
From blood and water your life is made
infusing the bread of your flesh,
bringing wet life to your still dryness…

A wet, shiny meaty heart where there was old cold stone before,
eyes shining, glistening bright where darkness loomed,
the lily blossoms rising, inflating with rising sap
in the valley that once was the valley of the shadow of death,
water lifting life from the dust.
Bone to bone, bud to bud.

Life… pours… from Christ’s side on the cross
as the spear releases water and blood co-mingled,
the splash and splatter from which the church emerges,
blood and water pouring down the cross
and into the font and into the chalice
and onto your head
and into your body
to make you wet again, to make you live again.


You may have a sense that I like
the graphic and fleshy nature
of medieval theology.

I like the way that medieval writers
used every image in the bible
and in the messiness of life bubbling on around them
to try to capture the sheer wonder of the God who became flesh
and lived among us and bled.

I like meaty language for things that matter.
I like massive imagery for things that are life and death
for me and for you.
I want to use every trick in the arsenal of the human mind
and God’s good creation
to tell the story of what God has done for us
and is doing for you even now.


The prophet Ezekiel saw the water flowing
from the threshold of the temple
and as the Lord God led him through the waters
flowing from the holy of holies
from the heart of the presence of God,
the water grew deeper and deeper,
to his ankle, to his knee, his waist and soon
the prophet was swimming with the Lord God in the water
flowing from God’s heart.

And the fish burst into life in the sea around them
and the farmers harvested the fruit trees, a new harvest each month,
the fruit for food and the leaves for healing,
and the water from God kept flowing, kept flowing.


The angel of God showed the Evangelist John
the river of the water of life,
bright as crystal, (see the water glittering with light)
flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
through the middle of the street of the city of God.
On either side of the river is the tree of life
with its twelve kinds of fruit,
producing its fruit each month;
and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
Beside this river of the water of life
the saints of the Easter promise will see God’s face and worship him
on the riverbank of the water of life.


The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,
tell the whole congregation of Israel to take a lamb for each family,
a lamb without blemish.
Then the whole assembled congregation of Israel
shall slaughter the lamb at twilight.
They shall take the blood and put it on the doorposts and lintel
of the houses in which they eat it.
It is the Passover of the Lord.
The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live:
when I see the blood, I will pass over you,
and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the firstborn of Egypt.
And Pharaoh let God’s people go.


By your baptism, you are washed with God’s water and God’s blood.
By the mystery of the cup, of water and wine,
you are filled with God’s water and God’s blood.
By the water and the blood within you
you are bound to the cross, to the one whose heart beats
at the centre of all creation and on the throne of calvary.
By the water and the blood, you are crucified with Christ,
your heart beats with his on the cross.


This sermon has no moral.
This sermon has no practical question for you to ponder.
This sermon does not call you to action
or commend you to change your ways.

This sermon merely speaks of water and of blood,
poured out on the cross for love of you.

Eat and drink in remembrance that he died for you.
And gnaw on him, feed on him, drink him up in your prayers
that even the deepest, driest, parched corners of your being
may be filled with his life,
infused with his life,
saturated with wet, beating, uncontainable life
flowing from the throne of God and of the lamb,
the crucified who is risen,
who floods this world with life and cannot be contained.

All glory to the living God, who lives for you and who lives for me.

Alleluia, Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!