Sermons

Summary: Ikea instructions and the bible reasons behind what Christians (or at least catholic ones) believe about Mary.

The following sermon was preached at the neighbouring church of St Joseph the Worker Northolt, as they celebrated the feast of the Assumption

…………………….

What do you call a man with a spade in his head? …...Doug

What do you call a man without a spade in his head? …..Douglas

What do you call a woman with a pint of beer on her head? ….Beatrix

What do you call a woman with a pint of beer on her head playing snooker?...... Beatrix Potter

What do you call a man with a car license plate on his head? …..Reg

What do you call a woman with a crown on her head…

.. actually the last one is not a joke. What do you call a woman with a crown on her head? A queen!

In our reading from Revelation we just heard “A great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the Sun, with the moon under her feet, And on her head a crown of 12 stars.” And it goes birth to a son, a male child who is to rule all the nations” This is the mother of the messiah - whose name is… that’s right. Mary.

Now of course - this is picture language. When the Bible describes Jesus as the Lion of Judah, we are not meant to think of him as a literal lion with a mane and yellow fur. When the Bible describes Mary here as Queen of heaven clothed in the sun with the moon at her feet- we are not meant to think of her as literal member of the aristocracy - perhaps holding garden parties whilst wearing an 18th century wig. No - it’s about the honour that God gives the mother of his son.

Now some folks may say “But honouring Mary in that way takes away from the honour due her son”. You are totally free to believe that. It’s a free country. You can believe what you like. It’s just not what the bible thinks.

Later on in Revelation (22:8-9) John is so overwhelmed by an Angel that he tries to worship him. “Don’t do that” The angel replies. “I am a fellow servant with you and and your fellow prophets and all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!” The book of Revelation sees NO contradiction between honouring Mary as Queen of heaven and telling us to worship God alone. Reverence and Worship are not the same thing.

Of course Mary is not the only person to be given a royal role in the Kingdom of heaven. In Matthew’s Gospel the 12 apostles are told that at the end of time they will be placed on 12 thrones to rule over the nations.

Those of you who are familiar with the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, may remember the Scene at the end:

“Then in the great hall of Cair Paravell - the wonderful hall with the ivory roof and the west wall hung with peacock’s feathers and the eastern door which looks towards the sea, in the presence of all their friends, Aslan solemnly crowned them and led them to four thrones amid deafening shouts of “Long live King Peter! Long live Queen Susan! Long live King Edmund! Long live Queen Lucy!”

“Once a King or Queen of Narnia, always a King or Queen. Bear it well sons of Adam. Bear it well daughters of Eve!”said Aslan.

And through the eastern door which was wide open, came the voices of the mermen and the mermaids swimming close to the shore and singing in honour of their new Kings and Queens.” [1]

We all know that the Narnia chronicles are an analogy for the bible story. Aslan is Jesus the true ruler - yet he can have Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy crowned as Queens and Kings of Narnia. Just like the 12 Apostles being places on 12 thrones to rule over the nations, or Mary being pictured “clothed with the Sun, with the moon under her feet, And on her head a crown of 12 stars.”

If it is good enough for the bible, it is good enough for me.

I became a Christian at boarding school through a very low church Christian Union. In the school holidays I started going to my local church which was very anglo-catholic, very high church - it made St Jo’s {where I preached this sermon} look low in comparison.

I will always be grateful to the Christian Union. They introduced me to Jesus. They taught me to read the bible. I really owe them a lot.

But overtime I would hear them saying that some of the things we did in my high church home church were “unbiblical”. I have to admit that my anglo-Catholic church was pretty bad at explaining things (we catholics aren’t very good at that, are we?) So if I couldn’t get any outside help, what could I do? I began to read the bible. And as I read it, I realised that the bible didn’t say what my low church mentors thought it said. The more I read the bible, the more convinced an Anglo-Catholic I became. If it is good enough for the bible, it is good enough for me.

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