Friday, May 20, 2011
Monday Reflection - Simon Maddison
This homily was given by Simon Maddison, a first year ordinand, at Evening Prayer on Monday 16th May 2011;
I have based my homily on the readings we have just had (Exodus 32:1-14 & Luke 2:41-end), so I’m going to start with a brief recap...
From Genesis we heard, how when Moses had left the Israelites to go up Mount Sinai, they lost their way somewhat! Having being left to their own devices they forced Aaron in to making a golden calf that they could then worship, and subsequently, but for the intervention of Moses on their behalf, would have been destroyed by God.
In Luke’s Gospel we heard how Mary and Joseph “lost” Jesus while on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Presumably they would have been preoccupied with packing things away for their return trip, making sure they had got everything before they set off, and had just assumed that Jesus was with friends travelling with them.
I am sure we can all sympathise; I usually remember what it is I have forgotten just as I drive on to the main road, forcing me to go all the way to the next roundabout just to go back and get it...
Similarly they are a day into the journey when they realise that Jesus is not with them, and are forced to go back to look for him, eventually finding him teaching in the temple.
Now these two stories are quite different in their content, but I think there is a common theme about the nature of faith, and our relationship with God.
In both cases the people involved lose their focus, whether it’s because they feel abandoned, or because they just have too many other things going on. However their responses are quite different.
When Moses is away longer than expected, the Israelites just give up on him and more importantly the God that he represents, seeking to replace him with something of their own making, and very nearly bringing about their own destruction in the process.
So unlike Mary and Joseph, who on discovering Jesus missing, instantly begin searching for him, going back to Jerusalem and not giving up until they find him three days later.
The situations may be different but I am sure we have all had similar experiences to these, when God can seem quite distant, or the concerns of our day to day life drown out everything else; after all we have, books to read and essays to write...
But I think what these stories show us is that it is not God that moves or changes, it’s us and our circumstances, and no matter how busy or disconnected we may feel from time to time, we can’t replace God with something else, we need to go back looking for him, remembering he is only ever a prayer away.
And so let us pray...
Let nothing disturb you,
Nothing affright you;
All things are passing,
God never changes.
Attains unto all things;
Who God possesses
In nothing is wanting:
Alone God suffices.
St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582).