Yes, we might be so angry that there is evil in this world, but we don’t make the world better by reaching for anger. We don’t make the world better by reaching for darkness. We make the world better by reaching for the love of God in the light that it brings, the joy that it brings, the hope that it brings.
In the name of the father and of the son of the Holy Spirit, amen,
Isn’t it brilliant to have the children back at the altar? Isn’t it wonderful to have the sound of children in the church? Isn’t it terrific? It brings a smile to your face.
Welcome back, everybody. It’s lovely to have you here. Our sermon today, the message of today’s gospel could not be simpler. And it is this.
God loves you. God loves you. And you know what, when we hear that, I’m not sure we comprehend what that means.
God loves you. And it doesn’t matter where you’ve been, what you’ve done, what you’ve been involved with, whatever, God loves you. It’s not a love that you have to earn in any way. It’s not a love that you have to be a good child in order to receive.
It is love that you are given in abundance. It is love that is given in generosity. It is love that is given with infinite mercy.
And it’s not love that has just appeared. It is love that has been there since God created the world, the universe, since he knit together the stars and the moons and all creation, since he knit met you together in your mother’s womb. And that love is with you your entire life until the day you die, and then you come into the full glory of that love when you stand before him at judgement day.
This is not some passing love. This is love. This has always been there is with you now and will always be.
It is a love that is given to you with grace and with mercy. When we live this life, we only get to glimpse that love – like today, like this Sunday when we glimpse the coming of the resurrection on Easter Sunday in our lives, we’re only ever able to glimpse the depth of the love of God – to experience what that love means.
Now, I can only tell you my own experience of that love, and that is that is the love of a father.
It’s the moment that my son was born and I was in a windowless room in the John Radcliffe in Oxford. And Edmund was born and I held him in my arms, Catherine had to go off for surgery and she was gone for three and a half hours and for three and a half hours, I sat in that tiny, windowless room in a basement in Oxford holding Edmund. And in those three and a half hours, I prayed like I’ve never prayed before.
I talk to God like I had never talked to God before. And in those three and a half hours, I experienced love for my son that I had never experienced before.
And the power of that love bowled me over. And that was my love for my son and the love that my son had for me. And in that love, in those moments, I came to realise that if my love for my son is one iota just one tiny part of the love that God has for me, how can I not turn my entire life over to God and offer myself in service for him? I received one of the greatest gifts that God gives us, a realisation of what his love for us is.
And today, not only do we get an opportunity to glimpse what is coming on Easter Sunday, but on Mothering Sunday, we are given an opportunity to start to understand the love that God has for us. Because as I look around this church today, I see so many women who have given their lives to care for their children, so many women who I know know exactly what I mean when I talk of the love that I have for my son.
So many women who understand exactly what it means that they will give anything for their children. I see so many men who’vr experienced that love. So many men who have seen that love in the world, so many men who no longer experience that love because their mothers are no longer with them or because things have gone wrong. But they’ve experienced that love and they know what it means. And so then how can we not understand the love that God has for us, the light in the dark, the hope against hope when things are going wrong?
Because when things go wrong in the world, when things are going wrong and things are bad and there is evil in the world, we do not banish the evil by reaching for darkness. We do not punish the wrongs of the world. By reaching for those things that are dark, we reach for the things that are light.
When there is darkness in the world and there is evil in the world, we banish it by calling on the love of God, on the power of that love, on the light of that love, because in the shining, awesome, brilliant, amazing, spectacular love of God, it destroys all evil in its path.
And so, yes, yes, today we might be sad because we no longer experience the love or the love that we don’t recognise in our daily lives, yes, we might be angry because the world is not as it should be.
Yes, we might be so angry that there is evil in this world, but we don’t make the world better by reaching for anger. We don’t make the world better by reaching for darkness. We make the world better by reaching for the love of God in the light that it brings, the joy that it brings, the hope that it brings. And I see it in each and every one of you, and you know what, all you have to do is let it out.
There’s no great trick to it. There’s no special prayer that needs to be said, all you need to do is open your heart and let the love of God shine out into the world.
And I promise you I promise you with all my heart when you’ve done it once. When you’ve done it twice, when you’ve done it three times. It’s the most powerful thing in the world.