Homilies by Rev. Andrew Collis unless indicated otherwise.
‘Power to integrate’
Biographies of the sixteenth-
It’s a real joy to share this occasion with John, who certainly did not appear to clean and polish floors in our hall and kitchen and church recently with an anxious or heavy heart. By all reports he did it joyfully. He did it generously. That’s how it seemed to me. He did it, thanks be to God, because he experienced acceptance and forgiveness and a sense of belonging here. He did it because he experienced a God who cleans away all flaws. Martin Luther might not have fully understood that (his task was to correct a tradition become vain and abusive) but it bears witness to the love in the lives of many Jewish and Christian saints. Not just those for whom the tension between faith and good deeds, grace and nature or grace and law, is maintained and maintained creatively, but all those who refuse cheaply or lazily to compromise on faith’s passion – a passion which may entail commitment to religion and politics, religion and art, religion and science, religion and ecology, religion and community service.
John’s experience of a Christian belonging bears witness to the faithfulness of God whose covenant with Israel is eternal and whose covenant with us in the Rabbi Yeshua (the Saviour Jesus) unites Jews and Gentiles as one people. John, your Jewish faith is welcome here. Your belief that the God of Abraham and Sarah reaches out to Gentiles and to all the world through the life, death and resurrection of Yeshua is a gift to us – an encouragement to us, a joy to us.
John’s faith, it might be seen, is also figured in our story from Mark’s Gospel in which Yeshua discerns the grace of God beyond the bounds of the Chosen People – “beyond all bounds”. Yeshua discerns that the Chosen People have been chosen to serve, to reach out; co-
Marc Chagall’s artwork (a window at All Saints Church in Tudeley, Kent) is apt for us today. Chagall (1887-
In 1962, at the dedication ceremony for his window in the Metz Cathedral in France, Chagall said: “For me a stained-
In 1978 Chagall began creating windows for St Stephen’s church in Mainz, Germany. 200,000 visitors a year visit the church, and “tourists from the whole world pilgrim up St Stephen’s Mount, to see the glowing blue stained-
One scholar writes: “No other twentieth-
My friend, John, understands this power. He understands it at the level of ritual or sacrament – the level of tears and prayers and action. May God bless him and may God bless each one of us with understanding, and with integrity. For Yeshua’s sake. Amen.