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Homilies by Rev. Andrew Collis unless indicated otherwise.

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Reign of Christ, Year A
South Sydney Uniting Church
November 22, 2020

Psalm 100; Matthew 25:31-46


‘Only kindness matters’

Then these just will ask, “When did we see you hungry and feed you, or see you thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you as a stranger and invite you in, or clothe you in your nakedness? When did we see you ill or in prison and come to visit you?” The ruler will answer them, “The truth is, every time you did this for the least of my sisters or brothers, you did it for me.”

There is opportunity to involve ourselves in corporate works of mercy. Together, we can make a difference to the way that food is distributed, the way that prisoners are treated in our state. God be with you

And then as individuals we can be merciful. I am called, in and through the conditions of my life (limitations enable this creativity), to respond mercifully to those around me. This is the good news.

Before we write homilies and seek to overcome estrangement, we belong together in the world. This is the good news.

It’s not about being right. It’s not about being strong. It’s not about being talented, intelligent or respectable. It’s about being merciful – caring, attentive, compassionate. This is the good news.

And here’s the sting. It remains the case that anyone imprisoned or suffering – including the one in self-imposed exile – is one in need of mercy. He or she is, then, according to Christ, “the least of my sisters or brothers”. This is the good news.

Still, we might ask: If it is the case that merciful nonbelievers are welcomed into the banquet of life – we are not shown devotees of one or other god or cult but simply kind and humane persons – then why bother with Christianity?

Why bother with religion? If, in the end, “only kindness matters” (Jewel, “Hands”, 1998), then why pray, why meet for worship, why build synagogues, mosques, temples and churches?

The question can, of course, be asked the other way around: How does my/your faith centre on reverence for life, on acknowledging the preciousness of life communicated by the gospel? How does being/becoming a Christian help me/you to be merciful?

The gospel brings clarity, shines a light on kindness. This is the good news. Amen.

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