Event Name Sermon given at Matins on the Eighth Sunday after Trinity 2016
Start Date 17th Jul 2016 10:00am

The Very Reverend Dr Victor Stock, Priest Vicar

" It must be wonderful working with people " a women said to me forty seven years ago when I was a young priest . " Have you ever tried it " , I replied !

Likewise this mornings reading from the First Letter of Peter - "- Be ye all of one mind , having compassion one of another ."

That sounds lovely in the translation of the Greek Text we call the King James Version - written just down there in the Jerusalem Chamber . The trouble with sermons is , we don't take them really seriously - coming to the Abbey is part of every educated persons visit to England - the history is amazing and even in the Summer holidays when the Abbey Choir is away the music will be excellent and these old bits of the Bible are lovely to listen to .

But - " Be ye all of one mind - " have we Christians ever tried it ?

Eastern Orthodox Christians have been preparing to hold a Holy Synod for fifty, yes fifty years and Russia has boycotted the meeting taking it's client Orthodox with it . In Saudi Arabia Muslims are killing fellow Muslims as they are in the Indian Sub- Continent , Istanbul , Ankara , and all the other places where suicide bombing is seen as the work of Allah the Merciful , the Compassionate . In Brabant in the South of the Netherlands last week I visited friend who lived in a village for eight years and no one said " hello " or " good bye " in the village store because they didn't go to the extreme Protestant Church there . Here in the once United Kingdom Northern Ireland and Scotland have voted to remain in Europe , England and Wales have voted to leave . For some of us we celebrate the prospect of the return of National Sovereignty , for others of us we feel ashamed of betraying our neighbours with untold consequences for the future .

Our human behaviour makes a mockery of our religion , " Be ye all of one mind " . The First Epistle of Peter reveals a church divided - right at the beginning - within the memory of those who knew the Lord Jesus the infant church was fragmenting . This is one of the distressing burdens of the Apostles in their writings . Bad sermons go in for cheery uplift - better to at least try to be honest however sobering . " it must be so wonderful working with people " - " have you ever tried it ?"

Just behind the High Altar the Medieval Kings of England wanted to be as near as possible to St Edward the Confessor . They and he lie there still . All over the world , in every country represented here this morning men and women have tried to be as near as possible to Jesus Christ -and we try still . " Having compassion one of another " - that's the trick - and hard it is to learn because history and prejudice , nationalism and fear , hurt and pride divide and rule . But this " compassion " idea is the clue - because it means " to suffer with " . Jesus Christ was not a suicide bomber . Rather the One Christians dare to call God Most High took suffering and outrage and fear on Himself showing in reality, not in a sermon , a more excellent way . No wonder we would rather not follow in His Footsteps - but they are the only way to peace .

© 2018 The Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Website design - Design by Structure