Sermon (Click Link to Listen)
Bible Readings: Genesis 1. 1 – 2. 3; Romans 8. 18-25; Matthew 6. 25-34
1. Right Beginnings
For any new undertaking, be it, a project or a business venture, a journey or a new start: we have an old Irish/Gaelic saying: Tosu maith e leath na h-oibre‘’, a good start is half the work.
Before embarking on any venture….getting the basics/the essentials sorted out before starting is crucial…. Sensible consideration increase the odds in favour of a good result.
Failing to do so +‘going off half cocked’, leads, to unnecessary stress, unnecessary confusion, and unnecessary disappointments.
Right beginnings… are very important. They set ground rules upon which we can build… starting as we hope to go on.
The same holds true in our relationship with God. It is a mutual commitment, and like any relationship it lives and needs working at.
Scripture alerts us to a basic principle…. that regardless of the inevitable hurdles we encounter in our journey with God… we must
‘Forget(ting) what is behind(us in life) and straining toward… press on toward the goal… to win the prize…. for which God has called ‘us’ heavenward in Christ Jesus .’(Phil 3.14)
In the beginning… of our journey, it is understandable that we may not have a clear view of the goal post at journey’s end; but we will, through faith in God’s Holy Spirit and His Holy Word…. be travelling in the right direction….learning en route:
‘that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.’(Rom.8.28)
2. Beginning to Build
In the beginning… Jesus tells us to estimate the costs of commitment. For, we will co-labour with Him and His grace to build our faith on enduring rock. Only by doing this, can we create a living faith that is completely sound, solid, and storm-proof.
So, in relation to today’s gospel, it would be a mistake to understand it as Jesus banning all planning and encouraging a ‘divil make care’ attitude to life’s responsibilities.
When Jesus says:
‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear.’
It is not ordinary, prudent foresight which Jesus forbids. He forbids us to inordinately worry. For worrying says a lot about the health of the worrier’s faith.
Jesus is not advocating a thriftless, feckless, reckless attitude to life; he is forbidding a care-worn, worried, fearful preoccupation towards living, which robs our life of all contentment and joy.
For a habit of worrying, flies in the face of a caring, loving mindful God.
Here Jesus administers a litmus test in two areas:
- He challenges, not just our intellectual understanding, of the nature of the Father’s love for us, but also what we believe in the depths of our hearts. For what we hold to in our heart, dictates how we act out our daily lives. An unbelieving heart acts very differently from a believing, trusting, reassured heart.
- Jesus challenges, the depth and strength of our faith in God’s promises and providence. Worrying indicates a lack of trust in God’s Word.
To paraphrase Jesus :
‘’Get your head sorted …..Worry achieves absolutely nothing. Fakt. Wake up… Trust God and get a life.
Have you no idea how much your Father-God, loves and values you?
Stop acting the victim. You are not unloved. That’s simply fake news.
Get your priorities right….. first seek God with an honest open heart and everything else follows.
Scripture’s reality check reads:
‘’He(God) who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? ‘’ (Rom 8.32)
We all fall short, in trusting…in leaning into…. the implications of this Radical Love of God…
Hence our need to seek out the Holy Spirit…the Helper!
Praying earnestly for Him to incorporate the truth of God’s love and providence into the ‘nuts and bolts’…the ‘nooks and crannies’ of our psychological processes is imperative… so that our thinking and behaviour are transformed by grace…. and we begin to embody,…to manifest in a living way… the mind and heart of Jesus in our lives.
3.Beginning the Foundation
It is all to do with faith… the free gift of Faith.
‘’The just shall live by faith (Heb 10.38) …..
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Heb 11.6)
It stands to reason, faith built on the sands of vagueness and uncertainty sinks once it comes under pressure.
Faith built on the rock of God’s character and His Inspired Word, stands solid in the face of Doom.
God, our Father, in His Living Word, has provided us with all the necessary provisions needed to build-up and exercise our faith.
‘In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…through whom also he made the universe…(Heb.1.1-3.)
In turn, the ascended Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit, The Comforter. For the Holy Spirit is not only with the Architect of our faith, but, working in us, becomes its Builder. A specialist craftsman in working with rejected stones.
We were damaged stones in a damaged quarry, until the Divine Builder, sought us + matched us up with His Rejected Corner Stone … Jesus.
As Peter wrote:
4 As you/we come to him(Jesus), the living Stone – rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him – 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house[a] to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
God keeps His promises. He will not short-change us…and help us He does as we contend daily in faith against defeated, primordial evil.
The power of the Father’s commitment to wayward peoples like us and our elder cousins the Jewish people, beggars belief.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Jesus in the hilarity of His wisdom chose to call and passionately love a collective of peculiar, stubborn, and stiff necked peoples; )
Nothing happens by accident. God’s Intention was always clear . In the beginning before the beginning… was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made.…(Jn1,1-3)
The power of His Word’s Word is literally unimaginable and uncontainable.
‘Bere’shit’: He Created. The verb ‘Bere’ is used only in relation to the creative activity of God. Never is the word used in Scripture to express mankind’s action.
It is always used to describe God’s work in creating, since He is the only one who can bring something out of nothing/exnihilo. Incidentally, if He starts with something He has already created; the verb is changed to formed as with Adam, or built as with Eve.
The spoken almighty Word of God…is the power that brings intention into reality …into time and space…
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good.
Thus the account of Creation opens and proceeds in a style of language extraordinary for its directness, plainness and austerity.
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:…
27 So God created (humankind) in his own image, in the image of God created he (them)…
There are vitally important truths about us and creation to be firmly grasped here…as it relates to our origins… the seed and breed of us….
Though our disobedience damaged us + creation… It is well to realise it and we were damaged NOT destroyed.
Right through the creation process God, on reviewing His work
repeatedly saw it ‘’Was Good’’.
In relation to mankind, He created us……in His image and after His likeness….and He passed judgement on what He saw….it was not just ‘good’ …but ‘’very good’’. We must never forget where we come from. It’s our real pedigree.
Being made in the image and likeness of God means we carry His essence. Humankind has a different origin and character from the rest of creation.
We tarnished the image/likeness….but did not destroyed it.
Hence the Great News… through faith in Jesus, the Living Word… we are simultaneously restored and being restored. We are a new creation!
God, our Father once again released Jesus the Word and said;
‘’Let there be light and there and there was light’’ but this time it’s in the spirit of every person that is drawn and draws themselves in faith to He who now has all authority and the last word; the Resurrected King Jesus.
No wonder Paul, in our second reading, is tripping over himself with excitement….New Heaven and New Earth time……..
We’re all ‘expecting’.
all creation …is groaning in labour pain …..
waiting with eager longing for the revealing of US the children of God…
For there is a promised glory coming and even we ourselves groan inwardly in anticipation, in hope, and in patience…
for…our freedom……our glory….and our adoption….as Children of God.
And the People of God said…… Amen.