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Jobs on the fridge

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Sermon for Septuagesima

What is the point of a newborn baby?

[PAUSE]

It’s terrifying to think that there are people who don’t even recognise babies as being real people, but something biological which bears human DNA. Once you have returned the confused gaze given by someone just a few minutes old, you should not be in any doubt that you are in the presence of a very new person who shares personhood with you, who shares life with you, and shares the need to be loved with you. Just as Our Lord suffers you to come to Him, so must we suffer the little children to come to Him, too, because there can be no distinction.

But what is the point of a newborn baby?

[PAUSE]

To ask that question is to ask that age-old question, “what is the meaning of life?”

We find the answer to that question in the second chapter of the Book of Genesis.

“[T]he Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul… And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”

Is that all we are? God’s gardeners?

[PAUSE]

Well, yes, in a way. We exist in order to serve God, to love Him and to love our neighbour, to live in a world created by God, and to take pleasure in that work.

The trouble is that we human beings have a tendency to look down on labouring. We see some jobs as being beneath our dignity, jobs for somebody else to do. We have a tendency to say, “I’m to clever and important to clean toilets.” And what we miss is the dignity that God gave us to be workers for Him.

For He is not just an employer, He is our Father. He longs to reward us and give us good things. He takes great pleasure in what we do. He is someone who profits by it. There is nothing that we can do or make that is already His. He is the loving parent who sees the child pick up a crayon and draw a wobbly picture of Mummy and Daddy and Spot the Dog and is thrilled to bits and pins it up on the fridge. We have a greater dignity being labourers for God than we give to those who work for us. If we want to rejoice in what we do, then we must give others an opportunity for them to rejoice, too.

Of course, we’re not all created to perform the same tasks. St Paul reminds us that there are apostles, evangelists, prophets, teachers, pastors, workers of miracles, healers, assistants, politicians and interpreters. There are tent-makers, soldiers, fishermen, carpenters… the list goes on. We are all created to serve God in being the person that we are with all our strengths and weaknesses.

The trouble is that the presence of Sin and Evil often obscures who we are.

[PAUSE]

As we approach Lent, we are faced with the opportunity to fast and pray for a release from our sins and to recover our mission in life, the reason God made us. No, that doesn’t necessarily have a simple answer and it may be only when we have passed from this life that we find out. That’s okay. The point is that we use whatever means we have at our disposal to work for God. Prayer and fasting help us to see more clearly what God wants us to do.

[PAUSE]

This Lent, let us direct our prayers and fasting to discover God’s mission for us as individuals and as a Church. Perhaps, then, God will pin our work up on His fridge.

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