5th Sunday after Pentecost

5th Sunday after Pentecost

Readings :

Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15;2:23-24. 2 Cor 8:7-15. Mark 5:21-43

by Hector Cumming

Peter spoke last week about Jesus who being rich became poor for our sake so that we could accept Him; because had Jesus appeared in his glory, we would have been consumed. We know from Matthew 25:31 “when the son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.would we prostrate ourselves before Him, in worship, or in fear?.

We are here tonight precisely because Jesus chose to become poor for our sake, so that we could accept Him.

Ezekiel chapter 1 ends with “then came a voice from above the expanse over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire and high above on the throne was the figure like that of a man. I saw from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and from there down he looked like fire, and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the Radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell face down and I heard the voice of one speaking. He said to me “son of man, stand on your feet and I will speak to you.

Ezekiel saw the glory of God and fell face down. Falling face down is of no use to God. We need to stand up as the hymn says stand up, stand up for Jesus.

The hymn as written by George Duffield Jr in 1858 and is based in the dying words of Dudley Atkins Tyng. Tyng was an Episcopalian minister who had been removed from his local Episcopalian community for speaking against slavery.

We need to stand up against injustice, stand up against conversion therapy, stand up against discrimination against the LGBTQ + community. Like Ezekiel we need to be ready to speak about Jesus, speak about faith ,repentance, love.

Son of man I am sending you to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me. The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, this is what the sovereign Lord says and whether they listen or fail to listen – for they are rebellious – they will know that a prophet has been among them.

In the gospel tonight, Jesus, Son of man, was not listened to in his hometown and was amazed at their lack of faith. Jesus then sent out his disciples to different places with the instruction “if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.

Many years ago I was travelling with a minister and we visited a house in Dunedin. We asked for directions north. On his Veranda he pointed and said left right etc but did not offer to drive part of the way and see us safely going north. This despite having received days of hospitality from the minister when in Auckland

In the sleety rain and in the dark we got lost. Eventually we found our way north. On the outskirts of the city, the minister stopped his car we both got out, took off our shoes, banged the soles together. We then put on our shoes got back into the car and continued our journey to Christchurch.

And what of Paul, proud Pharisee, proud Roman citizen, proud to proclaim Jesus’s message to the world. Paul did not seek payment for preaching, he would prefer to earn money stitching sailcloth than receive payment for his preaching. Paul was afflicted, three times he begged God to take his affliction away, but to no avail.

How often do we ask God to do something for us? May we like Paul come to realise that for Christ’s sake “I delight in weakness, and insults, and hardships, and persecutions, and difficulties, for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Let us stand strong in the faith that God has given us. Let us be ready to talk about our faith. Let us be accepting that many don’t want to listen.