extracts from a sermon preached at
Mattins St Georges Chapel (30 June 2013)
Words from today’s Collect:
‘hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people,
that in their vocation and ministry
they may serve you in holiness and truth’
This is a prayer for all members of the Church, both lay and ordained – that we might be true to our calling from God.
Yesterday and today in cathedrals and churches across this country a large number of men and women are to be ordained into the ministry of the Church of England. As we offer this prayer it has a special intention for those in Holy Orders. We might wonder what is needed to equip men and women for ministry to serve God in holiness and truth?
How can we keep our eyes fixed on God and hold together differing theological convictions and be true to the call of God today? To proclaim afresh the Gospel of salvation in each generation? If this is our distinctively Anglican mission to be the Church of Christ we who live in the Church must look constantly beyond the Church. We look beyond ourselves to the world and the world’s need, and to God and to all that God requires of us. If what we sow is an organization obsessed with its own internal management structures, then that is what we will get: an organization obsessed with our own internal management structures we shall reap a self-obsessed Church scarcely be able to get out of the office and into the world. Is it any wonder that the majority response to the Church today is not so much hostility as indifference, boredom, or simply an inability to understand what it is all about?
It is time, surely, for us to look towards a simpler Church, a Church that does not come burdened with a complex mechanism of Church order and certainly no more complex than is needed to get its job done; a Church that does not make Christian belief synonymous with believing nine impossible things before breakfast; a Church that thinks less about itself and its own past, and more about how to build up the peace and faith and hope and love of real human beings struggling to find their way in life.