Summary: God has given us all different strengths - this sermon seeks for one particular congregation to build on the strengths God has given us, and so encourage us to grow in our areas of weakness and become less individualists and more like Team Trinity
Sermon For Trinity Sunday May 18th 2008
[the following sermon starts by pointing to quite a few of the strengths of Holy Trinity Church. To an outsider, this may sound arrogant. But remember the sermon was preached to those hearing it. It is designed to get us to build on the strengths God has given us so as to overcome our weaknesses. No church is without strengths, and by preaching on the strengths God has given your church, you can encourage them to build on those to grow in the areas where God would have you grow]
The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Holy Trinity Sunday at Holy Trinity Church - it's a good time for us to think about what it means for us to be a church.
What would Jesus think was the perfect local church? In Jesus's view what would the perfect local church be like? Let's take a moment's silence to ponder that.
Now, Hands up if you think we are already the totally perfect church?
[no hands go up]
Oh [sound disappointed]
- so we're obviously not quite perfect yet....
But if I'm reading you right, we would like to move little bit closer to being a perfect church. So, I've been pondering that this week. We're not doing badly so far. We are not perfect, but We're not doing badly so far.
If we want to become, well not a perfect church (because fallen humans will never get there) but one, two or three steps closer to what Jesus would think of as the perfect church, then it makes sense to build on what we've already got. What strengths have we got that if we built on, could help us become more like what Jesus would have us be? You'll have your own list (looking at some one else) - You'll have another list. I'm going to focus on these three:
The number of Mothers. We've got all sorts of people here this morning. One thing we have got a lot of is mothers. Some of you, you're children are long grown up. But you have the experience of having been a mother. So? Well, every mother lives her life for another. And that is what the church is meant to be like. As former Archbishop of Cantabury William Temple put it, "The Church is the only society that exists solely for the benefit of it's non-members." Or as Jesus put it "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you"
Every Mother lives her life for another. Those of you who have been mothers - for the love of your child you have been through the excruciating pain of labour. For the love of your child you had yoru sleep broken as you wake to feed your baby and change her nappy. For the love of your child, you have massively reduced your social life - think how much more you used to go out before you had your child than you did when your child was young. For the love of your child, you structured our entire day around things like School drop off and School pick up times. And on top of all the practical things you did for your child, you spent your time constantly thinking about what would be best for her or him. Every mother lives her life for another.
Now, not all of us in this church are mothers. I, for example, have never been a mother. And of course there are other forms of self sacrifice too. But the mothers here are an inspiration to the rest of us. Every mother exists not for her own benefit but for the benefit of her children. We need to put that into practice in a different context. Every mother exists not for her own benefit but for the benefit of her children. We need to learn more and more to exist not for our own benefit but for the benefit of our non-members.
Of course - it's easy to romanticise being a mother. Frequently you will have thought "I don't want to do this", "I don't want to do that", "Do I have to?" - especially when it comes to having your sleep broken in the middle of the night. "Do I have to?" Yet for love of your child, you got out of bed, comforted her, fed her and changed her nappy. For love of your child you did not what you wanted but what was best for her. As a church too, there will frequently be times for each one of us when we say "I don't want to do this", "I don't want to do that", "Do I have to?" yet, if as parents we can do things we don't want because we love our child, then as Christians, for love of God and love of those who haven't yet come to faith, we will do not what we want but what is best for them.