St Thomas Blog

Easter 6

Easter 6

Sunday 17th May 2020
Rev Sarah Cumming

Easter 6 Sermon

I will start by wishing you all a Happy Easter as we have 2 more weeks of Easter celebration left!

I saw a cartoon this week which was designed to look like the London Underground map. You will find a copy of it on the pewsheet. Instead of Tube stations it shows our current destinations of chair, window and tv. It is a way of showing that our worlds have become smaller. My feeling is that many of us are starting to get a bit restless.

In the verses which lead into our reading from the Acts of the Apostles, the people of Athens are also restless, constantly seeking something new. That's not a bad thing: I'd find life difficult as a teacher if children weren't curious about new ideas, but these people can't settle. They are deeply religious, and have idols and temples a-plenty, yet don't seem to find peace.

Paul is distressed, literally 'stirred deeply' by this. He talks to the people about an altar he has seen to an unknown god. Slowly he begins to re-orientate them. He speaks of God, the LORD, who made heaven and earth, who is mighty and powerful, loving and gracious. God is not nameless or unknown: Jesus calls him Father, Daddy. This is not merely some new theory for them to pick up and examine before casting it aside; this is the good news of salvation.

What about us? Do we need re-orientating too? It is worth asking what we are searching for. One way of thinking about this is to consider what you are hoping for, dreaming of, once lockdown restrictions are eased. When you've given it some thought, hold those hopes in prayer before God and also ask what God's hopes are for you. It's worth remembering that, like the Athenians, we will have idols; things in which we place our trust, but which are unable to bring us peace.

Paul is very clear; we are not playing a game of hide and seek. God is closer than we know, the only one who can forgive our sins, bring reconciliation and eternal life.

Just as Paul spoke to the people gathered around him in Athens, as Christians we are called to engage with our own neighbours. Maybe they are wanting to hear of something new. Perhaps they are already looking for hope and fulfilment but in ways which will leave them restless. I'm not suggesting we stand in public squares and shout at them, but instead consider before God what gentle, respectful ways there might be of sharing our hope.

In the Epistle, St Peter echoes this when he calls each of us to 'be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you'.
It is our hope which sets us apart. This is not a kind of false cheerfulness which ignores our struggles or trials, but the underlying heartbeat through our lives of a God who delights in us. My prayer is that others will see our hope in the known and ever-loving God.