Sermons from St Faith's
In Tune with God
Paula O'Shaughnessey, Sunday, July 6th, 2014
Now we are in the height of summer, our enjoyment of life's physical
pleasures is increased. Our aches and pains are lessened, and
we tend not to suffer so many illnesses – coughs and colds.
You might say we feel younger again. Some of us may get away
on holiday, and a enjoy a sense of freedom, and feeling more
carefree. Just going out and about is less of an endurance
test, as we don't need to battle the elements so much. If only
life could be so simple more of the time!
In the Gospel passage (Matthew 11.16-19, 25-end), Jesus emphasises
how it is the infants who know God best, not the wise and the
intelligent. That God reveals himself to them – those whom he
The child within us – that is what needs to be awoken. To be
more in tune with God, we need to have that honesty and openness of
heart. How we are in ourselves is, of course, determined by
our actions. Keep on repeating something and it will become a
reality, in a deeper sense. One of the marks of age are the
lines on our skin. If we continually frown, then the frown
lines will become permanent. It requires a self-awareness and
effort to – firstly realise that we are in fact frowning and then a
careful re-education of the muscles of the face to stop frowning.
The invitation from Jesus, to go to him for rest, requires a certain
courage and trust – like the trust from infants. That we
accept the yoke – the joining with Jesus, of accepting his
ways. The giving up of an ingrained, entrenched way of being,
thinking and feeling is needed. The trouble is, we may not
even be aware of our foibles, our habits, that are making us stiff
and inflexible. The new born baby is soft and flexible in its
joints. Over time, the gradual stiffening and hardening of the
body creeps on.
Carl Jung, the pioneering psychologist, developed the practice of
'creative play'. He spent time building models with stones and
mortar, as he had done years ago, as a child. He was striving
to unlock the forgotten inner child. This enabled the
awakening of parts of his psyche that had been shut away for
years. He had to overcome a sense of feeling silly – even
shame – to begin with, in this endeavour.
Now, I am not necessarily suggesting that we each go out and play
with children's toys or build models with stones and mortar.
But, we should think about ways of opening our creative
selves. Maybe, doing crafts, or enjoying a walk barefoot on
the beach. I realised last night, that I couldn't remember the
last time I had done this, and felt the water and the sand between
Crucially, we need to sometimes be prepared to let ourselves feel a
bit silly. That means being prepared to take risks, being
prepared to accept that things will not always go our own way. The
Psalm (145), that we have heard today, promises us that God will not
'The Lord is faithful in all his words and merciful in all his deeds
The Lord upholds all those who fall
He lifts up those who are bowed down'
It reminds us too, of our dependence upon God.
The Christian way is of course, to do good. That is the key to
why the yoke is easy and the burden light. Christ does
everything he does for the good of humanity. We are invited to
join him in this. The tendency towards destructive and even self
destructive behaviour is in our nature – as St Paul reminds us in
his letter to the Romans (Romans 7.15-25a), which we have heard
today. It is with the help of God that we can overcome this
tendency. This is easier said than done, of course! But,
it is a task which is vital to us.
When we see the fruits of good deeds, then we know it is
worthwhile. I can think of times when a few individuals really
helped me, in my life, at very bad times. The results were
simply life-changing. I will never forget the kindness of
these people. It is up to us to see how we can discern those same
sort of life changing things we can do for others. Those
transformative actions – when we do something which is really
amazing. Usually, these things are done in a quiet, unassuming
The Christian thinker – Leibniz, recognised that 'Many possible
worlds exist in the mind of God' He urged people to always strive
towards improvement, to fulfil the potential, which God sees.
Let's stop now and pray for a moment, that we will know the love of
God in our lives, and that we will share the yoke with him, to
transform the world, in his name.
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