Homilies by Rev. Andrew Collis unless indicated otherwise.
‘Filled with the good gifts of God’
Today will be a little different we’ll move around from station to station and make our own reflections and prayers. Thanks to Margaret Vazey and all the Orchard Gallery artists who have created these beautiful and thoughtful works inspired by Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the Creatures, a song written in 1224 and completed, it is said, on his deathbed in 1226. The Canticle, and the Stations, decentre human hubris and celebrate the Most High God’s presence in and through the heavenly and earthly bodies. Each creature is a bearer of divine wisdom. God be with you...
Our psalm is likewise a song of praise for God in creation. One of the most striking verses juxtaposes “the roaring of the waves and the tumult of the peoples”.
And our Gospel comprises a parable addressed “to some people who prided themselves on being virtuous and despised everyone else”. We are invited to acknowledge divisions of our own making between classes of people (social classes, generations, sexes, sexual orientations, cultures, ethnicities, ages, abilities, etc.), and between species too. There is nothing that the Pharisee does or says that is wrong. His only mistake is that he makes a judgement on the tax collector. He regards the other as beneath him of less worth, of lower station.
“God created the world with integrity and beauty so that each part is interconnected. A little effect here will have another effect there.” So says Sister Jocelyn Kramer of the Discalced Carmelite nuns of Varroville, near Camden, in a newspaper article about state government rules on coal seam gas. Extraction by “fracking” is set to begin in the state’s north-
“When you are drilling underground, you really don’t know what effects you’re having in terms of subsidence, vibration, groundwater, soil those are significant issues which our faith has something to say about,” Sister Jocelyn said.
[Read more: Nuns argue fracking is a habit we can't afford]
We will have opportunity this morning to stop at nine stations; to wait on the Word of God in each place in relation to Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Brothers Wind and Air, Sister Water, Brother Fire, Sister Mother Earth, and Sister Death. We will hear the Gospel read three times as we move from station to station. The invitation is for us to value ourselves as bearers of the divine image just as we value the other creatures and aspects of the good creation. The challenge is to be honest which is the virtue accorded the tax collector in the parable.
There is no one who does not need the love of God. When we recognise our shallowness and superficiality as well as our fear, ignorance, anxiety, greed, competitiveness we can be filled with the good gifts of God. May it be so. Amen.