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Homilies by Rev. Andrew Collis unless indicated otherwise.

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Ordinary Sunday 21, Year B
Funeral for Frank Stanley Leaver
South Sydney Uniting Church
August 29, 2018

Psalm 23; Jude 24-25; Matthew 11:25-30

‘Approaching holiness’

Jesus said: “Here you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” “Come to me …” God be with you

The good news centres on this invitation – a way of approaching holiness. An approach to holiness by way of a promise. Some kind of ease, some kind of rest is promised – even as we labour. Jesus works and walks with us, a farmer-creature-teacher of gentleness and humility.

One model of faith development starts by describing uneasy/restive cycles of human competition and conflict. As victims, persecutors and rescuers we wear ourselves out, again and again.

As victims, we wallow in misfortune, passive, resentful, quick to blame others. As persecutors, we uphold the rule of might, withhold affection and compassion, hold grudges. As rescuers, we catastrophise and patronise, seeking glory for ourselves at the expense of others.

Faith development – training in wisdom – sees victims claiming/affirming a common vulnerability. Persecutors become more perceptive. Compulsive rescuers learn respectful ways of responding to others – responding as fellow travellers/workers.

Approaching holiness, we might say, entails walking and working with Jesus in vulnerability, increasingly perceptive and responsive with regards to the world within and around us.

In January when my father died, the whole situation weighed heavily upon my shoulders and the shoulders of my sisters. Assisted by staff from the Wyoming aged care facility in Summer Hill, Frank made a special effort to be there at the funeral.

This is the image I offer today in gratitude and in the presence of Frank’s sister and family: a vulnerable person, perceiving pain and need, responding to the full extent he was able, responding as a friend.

Mysteriously, there is rest. There is resting in gentleness and humility. Approaching holiness, there is rest. This is a revelation from God and the Only Begotten, handed to me, to us, by Frank Stanley Leaver. May God bless you, my friend. Amen.