Sunday, July 10, 2011

the force of nature

today's readings




10 July (3rd after Trinity)
Below is the outline of the sermon I preached today

I once heard a story about computer workers in Silicon Valley who asked their priest if they could decorate the Church differently for harvest festival to reflect what they did in the computer industry

Not sure what they did, exactly, but we can imagine:

mobiles made of computer disks hanging from the ceiling;
braids of computer mouses, like they do with onions in France, on the ends of the pews;
lap tops with displays of their programs on the window ledges;
piles of hard-drives & printers on the chancel steps;
perhaps some DS players and e-boxes in the sanctuary, with a few handfuls of flash-drive scattered around them.

And having adorned the church with the fruits of their labour, they never did it again … next year, they went back to nature as it were – because no matter who you are or what you do, nature speaks to us … it doesn't matter how many stories you hear about school children not knowing what a cow looks like or thinking milk comes from a shop … we can all identify in some way with nature … that's why there are so many images from nature in the Bible … and so many in our readings today … the OT, the Psalm, the Gospel …

it doesn't matter how disconnected we think we are from nature, when we hear a passage like the parable of the sower we can relate to it … any school child who has tended a few cress seeds in wet cotton wool or looked after a window box as part of a class project can identify with the imagery of the parable of the sower ...

We could come up with a similar parable for the modern age I suppose involving computers … wouldn't have the same impact … not just because we're not all into computers … but because at a fundamental level computers aren't about life and death issues … and nature is … seeds growing is a matter of life and death … you only have to look at the news and see what is happening in the Horn of Africa at the moment to know that … imagery drawn from nature works in the bible because, no matter what we do in life, it connects with us as dealing with things of real importance … and it connects with our innate sense of the profound truth that things to do with faith are life and death matters also … of incredible importance … stories like the parable of the sower don't touch us just because the imagery is universal … but because they touch that part of us deep within that knows the importance of producing an abundant harvest of things spiritual as well as material … something I pray for all here and all in the world … amen.

boxes of games and programs in the porch;

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