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St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church

Vancouver,  B.C.

Diocese of New Westminster

Anglican Church of Canada

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Worship Times

 

Sunday Eucharist

10:30 am

 

Contemplative

Eucharist

Wednesday 7:00 pm

 

Centering Prayer

Thursday 2:00 pm

Sermon

July 9th Pentecost 5, 2017                                    John Marsh

 

Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67; Song of Soloman 2:8-13; Romans 7:15-25a; Matthew 11:16-19,25

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate… I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.

Romans 7:15, 19

 

The voice of my beloved... My beloved speaks and says to me: "Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away! Song of Songs 2:8a,10

~

There is fluidity to her movement – flow to her dance

 

She moves as she wills

 

Expresses herself where she wills and so…

 

Wisdom’s children

 

Who are they?

 

They are varied, many, diverse

 

As different as John was to Jesus

 

All beloved

 

This is the poetic of life’s inherent vibrancy – creation fully alive, divinity perhaps breaking through!

 

This is the dynamic promise within life - our lives transformed and transforming

 

The dynamic Eros of divinity within all life

 

It is this dynamic pulse of promise which invites us to understand Paul

 

Law – all law not simply Jewish law, even divine law - can only inform

 

It provides only information not transformation

 

Law defines – brings knowledge –  yet cannot insure compliance ¹

 

This is not to dismiss law as useless but to recognize that where law defines

 

Life dances, leaps

 

By which I mean to say that law can never define life

 

Life must animate law

 

As we have often said of the ‘spirit’ of the law as opposed to its ‘letter’

 

But we know – don’t we - of the imposition of the letter of law

 

The force and power of legal definition in our collective story

 

At one time by law

 

Women were not fully human

 

First Nations were not fully human

 

Jews, Blacks, others of colour were not fully human

 

It was illegal to love certain persons

 

Such a heavy yoke, all by force of law!

 

Which is where sin comes in –

 

In the stiffening, the rigidity, the defining

 

So easily becoming the silencing, the binding, the confining, the judgment

 

John was demonic, Jesus a drunk and glutton²

 

This has profound political and social repercussions: pogroms, enslavement of all kinds, segregation, poverty, hunger and illness

 

And, not surprisingly, our personal lives are not immune

 

As we unleash the force of judgement on ourselves, others, binding, confining

 

This cycle of silence, isolation, pain and suffering becomes very hard to break

 

The weight of political, social, economic, and when required, religious strictures collude with archetypal fears and anxieties

 

 We are mired down and entrapped

 

As Paul says,

 

‘That which I should not do - I do and that which I should do - I do not’

 

But this seemingly hopeless trap carries within it spirit’s explosive dance

 

How?

 

It lies precisely within the silencing, the isolation, the segregation…

 

End the silence, refuse the isolation, crack open the segregation

 

Paul breaks the silence

 

He admits, writes, speaks, accepts and acknowledges

 

This is a bifurcation point of grace – the unexpected fork in the road

 

In taking the road less traveled cracks open in coming to voice, in breaking the silence

 

In coming to the table, in engaging, risking sight and hearing

 

And then - perhaps

 

We played the flute for you and you danced, sang, moved³

 

So understand

 

‘Come to me all you that labour and carry heavy burdens...Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.

My yoke is easy and my burden light’

 

¹ As with speed limits, setting the law, posting the speed, does not mean compliance.

² See Matthew11:28-19

³ See Matthew 11:17

See Matthew 11:28-30