Trinity xxi sermon, Fr. Michael Cawthon
Trinity xxi sermon, Fr. Michael Cawthon 2018: Faith and Believing: John iv. 46
Last week Fr. George spoke of the Kingdom being open to all; we all are to come to the wedding and enjoy the fullness of Joy,
which is found in our God.
And todays Gospel, speaks directly to so many of us …
who put doubt first, that unless they see signs and wonders, some will not believe.
Some offer prayers as if He has to prove Himself, “God if you do this or that then I will believe.”
Believe this … or … believe that, it seems as if we are searching for something that will amaze us –
demanding something that we can see.
We live in a world that confesses “I believe” in something.
Often it is: believing in oneself, or maybe a star in entertainment, or a group of people like a political party, or even a government.
It is sad, but it is also clear, that the word “believe” has been corrupted, as we “believe” in just about anything.
But today, in the Gospel, we see something more than “believing in something” as we are told of Jesus second miracle in Galilee.
We hear this morning of a nobleman (a king’s servant or one connected with the royal household)
whose son was sick;
and then we hear of the nobleman’s experience,
and it is an experience, an encounter, that was not with “something,”
but an encounter with the man Jesus,
and from this encounter,
this nobleman demonstrates his belief, not of a thing / and not of “something,”
but in Jesus Christ,
who is the presence of the
within this world.
Each Sunday when we say the words “I believe” we are not saying I believe something (?); which could be good or it could be evil,
but we should realize that we are telling Jesus
“I believe in you.”
Our faith must acknowledge and confirm the finding of the “You” – Jesus Christ;
and in finding the “You – Jesus Christ” – He will then sustain, and save us, within in a world that seeks to destroy
the “pardon and peace” of which we heard just a few minutes ago in The Collect reading.
Of Faith, Clement of Alexandria tells us in the second century, “Faith is power for salvation and strength / to eternal life . . .
and within that Faith is found an anticipation of the “assent of piety” (a rising up of our souls within us.)
However, the Greeks of the second century disparaged faith, considering it futile and bar ba rous” –
Unfortunately, some today would agree with the Greeks of that day.
But truly this nobleman today demonstrates a faith that “believes” as a Christian,
so much so that he hears the words of Jesus
“Go thy way; thy son liveth”
that the nobleman immediately leaves, he went on his way.
He did not seek proof or guarantees (or miracles); he simply acknowledges a faith of “I believe in you” (Jesus)
which is an example to all of us.
This nobleman’s actions were noble and acknowledged Jesus as the Christ,
One could say that by his actions he actually acknowledged
“I hand myself over to you Jesus” or “I assent unto to you.”
This is the faith, the “belief” that Jesus seeks from us.
A simple faith that hears the Word and obeys,
who hears the word and does it.
This faith has recently been shown as the faith of a child, but it is even more.
This is a faith that is so deep, so real, so powerful,
that it needs nothing else.
A faith that becomes our foundation from which we take on a corrupt and dangerous world –
that can kill not only the body but also the soul.
As Anglicans, the Incarnation has always been the bedrock of our faith,
of God the Creator uniting with His own creation,
God and Man is now one forever,
a new Creation within Creation itself.
And this great God has opened His Kingdom to all of us.
He has given to you, each of you, the greatest gift of all,
“His Son, our Lord and Saviour.”
He is yours forever –
look upon Him –
look upon Him the God/Man:
it is He who is calling you.
He is yours forever, if you accept Him;
If you walk with Him, If you grow in Him…
And just as the nobleman accepted His word, He expects us to do the same.
He cleanses us, from this disease called “sin”,
and accepts us within His Body, the Church, through His Sacrament of Baptism.
And still today, He feeds and strengthens us through His body and His blood through His Holy Sacrament, the Eucharist.
He will assist anyone who willingly comes unto Him.
But, coming to Him requires a complete turning about within our lives
as we allow the old man within us to die away,
thus allowing the new man to live.
Give yourself, your wholeness to Him above everything else.
He has found you, have you found Him?
If so, His church is here to nurture you to a an even higher ascension of faith,
and if not, His church is here to walk the path ahead with you –
not threatening or forcing,
but by walking with you – through the mud and mire of this world.
Within Anglicanism you are fed with His Word and His Sacraments,
which nourishes your body, soul, and mind.
Through the Sacraments, He feed us, promoting the good ground
from which the Word flourishes and guides us,
thus giving us the strength required to live His Word.
Join with this Nobleman and learn that it is through this
“I believe in You, Jesus” that will allow us (you and I) to evermore dwell in him, and he in us.
In Psalm 121 this morning we read: “The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil, yea, it is even he that shall keep thy soul” The hour cometh and now is….