Saturday, 27 February 2016

We all thirst

A sermon on Isaiah 55:1 

“Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters”

Everyone who thirsts, everyone thirsts, we all thirst.

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to chat with a friend who is due to have a baby in around 3 month.  She thirsts.  She thirsts for change in the world because she fears for her child’s future.  She thirsts especially for action on climate change because she believes it is the biggest challenge her children will face.

We all thirst.

Last Sunday a young international student was found unconscious near the pool at Southbank.  He died a few days later.  On Wednesday his parents arrived.  One can only think that they thirst.  The thirst to see their son.  They thirst for meaning and understanding of what happened.  They thirst for healing of their broken hearts.

We all thirst.

Over the past week I have met dozens of students starting University for the first time.  They thirst. They thirst for knowledge, they thirst for friendship, they thirst for the opportunity show that they are adults, filled with life they thirst!

We all thirst.

During the week the Church Council met.  We thirst.  We thirst for God’s renewal of this congregation.  We thirst for God’s comfort for those among us who are facing death.  We thirst for new opportunities for the students who come here year by year.  We thirst for the energy and capacity to lead the congregation into a new future filled with God’s love and generosity.

We all thirst.

Take a moment thinking about the things for which you thirst.  Maybe it is a sign of God’s presence in your life.  Maybe it is for more time to do the things you want to do.  Maybe it is for comfort and peace as you face difficult health issues.  Maybe it is something for someone you love: your children, your spouse, your parents.

We all thirst.

Now turn and consider each other look at the people gathered here this day.  Do you know what they thirst for?  Have you asked?  Have you shared their journey?  As God’s people we are called to be here for each other. To uphold one another on a this journey through what at times seems such a  dry land.

We all thirst.

And now see, see with me and look at a man hanging discarded on a cross.  He is God’s son, he walked the earth, the dusty roads of Galilee and he shared the good news of God.  He healed people, he forgave them, the taught people of God’s presence and love! He opened the doors of hope for a relationship with God for all people.  But he was betrayed and left to die at the hands of the government of his time – the Roman Empire.  And the words that trickle from his dry lips “I thirst”.

Our God thirsts with us.

Jesus cries out.  “I thirst” and he is mocked and he is offered sour wine on a sponge but God, God hears, God hears Jesus cries as he descends into death and lies in the cold grave for three days.
But Isaiah’s prophesy is sure and true:

Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
listen, so that you may live.

Jesus is raised from the tomb.  The rich feast of God is coming.  A feast not of human hands but a feast of God’s love in which we are all satisfied.  This is our hope, our hope in an eternal feast of God’s love – celebrating as we enjoy:

a feast of rich foods,
a feast of well-aged wines,
of rich food filled with marrow,
of well-strained wines strained clear.
A feast for all nations.

This is our hope. This why we come.  This is why we share this journey.  We are not perfect and holy people.  We are a people who thirst.  And we are people who have heard that Jesus thirsts with us and that he has been raised form among the dead. 

We come to listen.  We come really listen.  We come to seek the Lord whilst he is near and in coming we become witnesses to each other of God’s love and generosity.

The temptation for us is satisfy the deep thirsts of our life at the well of consumption – where the 
buying a selling of goods has been sanctified and our happiness is equated to what we own and what we have.  But in the words of the great Mick Jagger “I can’t get no satisfaction.”  We can’t get no satisfaction but filling our lives with more and more things, cramming more and more into our time, to fill our empty lives.

The invitation is to come and to listen for God, to encounter God, to share God with one another and with anyone else that we encounter in our daily life, or who walks through the doors of this place. 

God has opened the doors wide, all arewelcome.

We may find that we continue to thirst.  We may feel that God is not alongside us.  We might bear little or no fruit.  But take heart for God’s message is that in Christ he has come not to tear down but to open up the possibilities and to be patient with us. 

The parable of the fig tree reminds us that God’s desire is not to cut down but to bring what need the manure of life itself, the food, the water that we need to sustain us and to make sense of who we are and where we are going.  Our place is not to judge God or one another but to nurture one another and to be patient as God tends the garden of our lives and the lives of others.  The fruit will come.

“Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters”

Everyone who thirsts. Everyone thirsts. We all thirst.

Hear the good news, the one who thirsted has been raised from the dead.  All our thirsts can be satisfied and we can drink deeply from the well of living water – eternal life.

Psalm 63:2-15
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name.

My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips

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