A sermon preached by the Rector Rev Chris Williams as part of the Money Matters Series
Sunday 3 September 2017
Psalm 8 and John 12 v 1-11
Why is this church building here? Why are you here today?
Well, I think the answer has something to do with God, don’t you?
Churches are here as places for people to meet to worship God, to talk about God, to hear about God, to meet each other and love each other.
God? Well, who is this God? Why would we build a building, why would we come here week by week?
Well, in short, because he’s amazing. You only have to open your eyes to realise that.
Our reading in the psalms helps us here:
O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory… (Glory means: fame, beauty magnificence, great splendour, magnificence, majesty, honour, grandeur, and greatness)
…Your glory is higher than the heavens.
You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.
(Isn’t it amazing that children can know God as much as adults – probably better because they are more trusting and less doubtful)
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you set in place— (Do you ever look at the night sky and think – Wow! …)
…When I look at the night sky- what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honour. (Crowned THEM with glory and honour)
There is so much around us that says how amazing God is: the mountains, the trees, (well, I could reel off a list – but what comes to your mind when you think of God’s amazing creation?).
The animals, the stars and sun, the snow and rain, beaches, sea, waterfalls, what about the colours of autumn, the patterns of frost, the smell of cooking bread, the feel of sand in your hands, the touch of someone’s hand in yours. The wind, the fire, thunder and lightning, etc. I wonder what things particularly touch you in the natural world.
And if you were locked in a dark room with no windows and couldn’t see anything of the beauty around you– you would be locked in that room with the most amazing thing in the universe – yourself. Do you know how amazing you are?
None of you today are locked up in a room – you are able to see clearly the dramatic world in which you live – God’s Good gift. We are told in Genesis that, after making the world, God said it was very good. too right!
And why is it all there? – it’s for you! It’s God’s awesome gift for you to enjoy and it comes from the extravagant and generous heart of God.
But, the generosity of God doesn’t end there.
As human beings we find so many ways to mess up the good things God has given us. Rather than being generous ourselves, we are selfish and we so often act in ways that hurt our world and hurt each other and hurt God.
But, this generous God loves us so much that he had a plan. And his plan was to come to us in Jesus and sort out the problem. Jesus came to live with us and he died for us on the cross.
One of the most well-known Bible verses sums it up:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life. Wow!
First, God loved – and then he gave. And this wasn’t just generosity – this was outrageous, extravagant generosity – because he gave the most important and special thing he had: his son. So that you, and I can have life: real, exciting, everlasting life. What a generous God!
So, God has spared no expense showing us how much he loves us. He’s made a beautiful and dramatic world in which we can live and he has given us his only son.
So how do we respond?
Well, there’s a lovely story in the Bible of a woman who comes up to Jesus – who is sitting down having a meal with his friends. This woman is just so grateful to Jesus for all that he had done for her – for the kindness and love that he had shown her that she just has to do something to express her thankfulness.
She came up to Jesus with a bottle of VERY expensive perfume. This bottle was worth thousands of pounds – a year’s wages!!
She went up to Jesus and took out the expensive perfume and tipped a bit into her hand and dabbed it on his cheeks.
NO! She broke open the bottle and poured out the whole lot onto Jesus’ feet and washed his feet with her hair.
very dramatic, very extravagant and very expensive!!
And that’s how God wants us to love him – in the same way he loves us: dramatically, extravagantly and generously: in our worship, our relationships, our love for the world and in our giving. What we do with our possessions and money is often a very real sign of what is going on in our hearts –
We’re going to sing a song which is something of a prayer
I will offer up my life in spirit and truth
Pouring out the oil of love as my worship to You
In surrender I must give my every part
Lord, receive the sacrifice of a broken heart