Will You Join Me?

Will You Join Me?

[automatic transcription]

Today’s Gospel continues a series of gospels where Jesus is telling parables to the disciples about how we live a good Christian life. Matthew is THE the gospel to go to if you want to know how to live a good Christian life. Matthew, spens so much time helping us to try and understand how the law, how the law as Jesus and the disciples understood it, can be lived out in the new reality of Jesus.

And in many ways, that’s that’s what the gospel of Matthew is about, is is about breaking those things apart. That is why we have in the Psalm. Lord, how I love your Law. It’s an attempt to understand how we live good Christian lives. But as with all the gospels, we cannot just look at this gospel on its own. We’d look at it across the spread of the last three or four weeks.

So two weeks ago, we had the parable of the sower and the seeds. And those of you who watched online will will recall how I talked about the fact that in the modern world, when we sow seeds, we have precision engineered sowing the seed. And so a machine goes down the field and it drills a little hole and it puts one seed in and that one seed grows into exactly what we wanted to grow into. But in the gospel and in the time of Jesus, when we sowed seeds, the seeds were scattered and we tried to scatter them on good ground.

And the point of the parable is that those seeds, that fall on good ground, will grow into wonderful things. But there will be seeds that will go places where we don’t expect and will do things that we don’t expect. So a good way to think of that parable is to think about perhaps we shouldn’t overengineer our attempts at bringing people to Jesus.

Now, over the next few months, we as a church community will sit together, will come together and talk about how we are going to be a beacon of Christ’s love in Hayes, how we are going to go out into Hayes and bring people to this church, to the feet of Jesus.

That will be one of the central threads of who we are called to be – rooted in a love of bringing people to Christ.

Last week’s gospel was about sowing weeds in another person’s field and how the evil one, how the devil goes into a farmer’s field and amongst all the good corn sows bad seeds and the farm workers go to the farmer and they say, this person has come in here and has planted weeds in shall we pull all these weeds up? And the farmer says no, because we can’t tell the difference between the weeds and the wheat at this stage it all looks the same. So we will let it go and come the harvest we will sort out the weeds from the wheat. He is, of course, talking about the time of judgment when those of us who have borne fruit in the Kingdom of Christ will go up into heaven. And those of us who have not will be cast into the fires of hell. It’s a hard gospel to hear.

But what it’s telling us here in this place is that when people walk through that door, when we have gone out through being rooted in the love of bringing people to Jesus Christ in this church in Hayes and people walk through that door, none of us know whether or not the person walking through that door is wheat or weed. Only God knows. And so we treat everybody who walks through that door with the ultimate love of God like they are the finest wheat and we welcome people with open arms and with love and with no judgment. We welcome them into this church to receive the sacrament of Jesus Christ. This church is rooted in scripture and in sacraments.

And finally, today’s gospel. Jesus said to the crowds, The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field that someone has found. He hides it again, goes off happy salls everything he owns and buys the field. And I love this gospel because so many of my fellow clergy tie themselves up in knots over it’s not his field. He should have told the person whose field it was that they should share it and they layer all sorts of complexity on the reading whilst missing the simplicity of what Jesus is telling us. Jesus is telling us that if we find the treasure of Jesus, if we find the treasure of the kingdom of heaven, then we give up everything, everything that we have to be part of it. And so here at St. Anselm’s. here in Hayes here in this community, we as a community will give our all to build the kingdom of heaven in this place.

St. Anselm Hayes over the next 10 years is going to be rooted in the parish, is going to be rooted in scripture and in sacraments, and is going to be rooted in the love of bringing others to Jesus. Everything that we do in this place will be about those three things, and we will do it together. We will do it in the power of the Holy Spirit. We will do it with Jesus at our side. It won’t be me at the front doing it all on my own. It will be us together holding hands.

We have an exciting time ahead of us. I have every intention of in the next few years, every single one of these seats being full. I have every intention of in three or four years time having to have a very difficult PCC meeting where we have to say we haven’t got enough room for people. We need to find another church. I have every intention of in three years time of there being a queue of people outside that church going let us in!

And so I ask you this now today on my first Sunday in the spirit of this gospel. Will you join me in this mission? Will you join me in this mission? Amen. Brothers and sisters.