Summary: A sermon about healings and answered prayers and refugees and treating people equally and Paddington Bear and .... and ... well, and really not being able to stop talking because it is such good news

I am going to share a number of stories with you this morning. I don’t want you to tell anyone about it. Not the stories from my life, and not the stories from Jesus’s life either. It’s really important you don’t share what I am going to say this morning with anyone. So when you are chatting with your mate down the pub and you tell them what you heard in the sermon - make sure you tell them to tell no one! You got that?

I am going to start with a story from 2012

It’s August. We were just about to head down on holiday at Katie’s parents in Sussex. We were vaguely aware that two elderly members of our church were also down on holiday in a different part of sussex. Then on 23rd August we picked up a message that Wynn had had the most terrible heart attack. We circulated the message to get as many people as possible in the church praying for her. Lots of people prayed. Then we headed off on our holiday, but as soon as I got to Worthing I drove over to Chichester to the hospital Wynn was in to visit and pray for her. Wynn began to get better.

That might not sound like a miracle to you. People have heart attacks and many of them do recover. However in Holy Trinity we had a doctor in the congregation called Liz Webster and Liz was telling me …

...sorry excuse me a second…

[going up to a member of the congregation at the back]

It’s so good to have you with us today. Having an important person like you here - well it is such a privilege to have you with us. You can’t sit back there in the cheap seats, come and sit up in the best seats at the front. And may I just say how fine the clothes are you are wearing today.

Anyway back to Dr Liz. Liz told me that the type of heart attack that Wynn had had wasn’t a mild one - it was the sort where if you don’t have the attack in a hospital, your chances of surviving are just one in ten thousand. We prayed and Wynn survived.

A bit like our Gospel reading. And again I remind you as I tell you about this Gospel: you must not tell anyone about what I am saying.

So just like I was on holiday in Worthing, Jesus was on holiday in Lebanon getting some well earned rest, when this Syrian woman comes up to him. This woman is a mother and she is desperately worried about her little girl. “My daughter - she is possessed by a demon”. We have all seen how harrowing pictures of little Syrian children can rend people’s hearts - and Jesus to is moved. “For saying that you may go: the demon has left your daughter” And the woman goes and finds her daughter miraculously healed.

Which remind me of another little girl Adanama. I’ve never met Adanama, but I heard about her because her cousin Cheryl was a member of my home group. And once in homegroup as we were looking at some bible passages on answered prayer, Cheryl told me about little Adanama (don’t tell anyone else by the way…)

… err sorry excuse me one second

[going to another person towards the back of church]

Can I just say how lovely it is to have you here [as an aside] (do you know who this is? do you know how important they are) It’s such a privilege to have you here. Come and sit up in the best seats. I am sure we can move someone out the way to make space for you

….Anyway I was telling you this story about little Adanama Cheryl’s cousin. And when Adanama was less than a year old, she developed Meningitis.

Her parents were told that Adanama wouldn’t survive. They got people in lot’s and lots of churches (including my church) praying. Adanama survived. Her parents were told that even if she did survive she would be severely brain damaged and would never hear or talk at all. Her parents got people in lots and lots of churches praying ….

and apart from a small hearing aid, Adanama is like any other normal child. She has most of her hearing, speaks perfectly and is not at all developmentally challenged.

It’s like Archbishop William Temple

{turning to the 2 important people} Your families must have known Archbishop William Temple - he was an important person like you….

...So Temple said “Some people say that answered prayer is just coincidence. But what I find is that when I pray coincidences happen and when I don’t they don’t.

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