Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas Sermon

I hope I'll be forgiven for using tonights sermon in the blog....but it says everything I want to say today!  

I’ve never actually understood the term being born again.  Its something my son said to me when I told him I was going to be ordained....Clearly thunderstruck he muttered something which it was as well I didn’t hear before he said      
“Oh Well.....Have you been born again then? “
This made me laugh. Christian claptrap was the term that came to mind, followed by 
“Well not really, I’ve always been a Christian!”  
I found trying to explain to people just what was happening to me very difficult...it was like being an interpreter for someone else...and I found all the modern Christian language very difficult... I just knew that the call I had had first when I was a teen ager had finally been recognised  
 When I was a girl I found Billy Graham very worrying. The girls in my class had all been to Manchester to hear him preach and came back full of it .....
I just found the whole thing deeply  embarassing and this stayed with me as an adult as well....I am just not evangelical at all Im afraid.  
.Some of you here will remember my journey to this point because it all started  here in Cornwall...and what  many of you will not know is that the actual priesting was done here, in the church.at Gerrans 
Soon after women were admitted to the priesthood there had been some trouble with demonstrators at the cathedral so it was decided that each priesting would be done in our own churches..
On the due date the Bishop arrived with the archdeacon and all the other clergy  from the Roseland were robed in the rectory and it was a beautiful warm summer evening. The first priesting here since the reformation. 
Part of the service is the laying on of hands....all the clergy gather around the candidate and lay their hands on the head.....it is a symbolic gesture meant to pass on the the apostolic succession..
I was astounded to discover that there were at least ten C of E priests here but also two non conformist ministers, and a Roman Catholic one too, all of whom  joined in with the laying on of hands. 
It was at that point I think that I became born again....a real feeling of being accepted into something enormous and the joy hit me....I emerged grinning like a Cheshire cat and have not really stopped till this day. ... 
Its that feeling  that I hope to pass on to you tonight....
The Christ child came into the world and brought with him the joy, the peace and the love....Love came down at Christmas...
We know that Jesus lived and died and that the two conditions were part of one whole. 
Its not just the birth of Christ that we celebrate today but our own. Every Christmas as the story is reenacted we are to some degree born again with Him...
WE pray that each heart might be a manger, and each home a Bethlehem....thats what we have to aspire to.....to be receptive and to be able to cherish the Christ child....He is born in us every year...at this time...and just as he is reborn every year so can we be too......there I’ve said it.!  
 Another Christmas miracle!  

7 comments:

  1. What a lovely heart-warming story Jean.
    Almost enough to lift me out of my Christmas misery. I'll read it again 2 or 3 times and who knows, it may get through the fog.
    Have a blessed Christmas.

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  2. Its a sad time Ray for many people. I am still mourning my daughter who died five years ago now......Christmas makes it sharper . But now I am going to sit down and picture you with a cloud around your head and I am lifting it upwards and as it goes its taking the misery with it! Gods blessing on you this Christmas!

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  3. Ah I really enjoyed this! Thanks so much for sharing your story and sermon.

    Nicola

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  4. Happy Christmas, Jean! So glad to get to know you this year via your blog!

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  5. Jean, thanks for sharing this wonderful story.

    I have used the term 'born again' as when I returned to Christianity after such a long absence, and into a new, more joyful context, it really felt much like that. Transformative experience that it was - it took a huge leap of faith for me to once again accept Jesus Christ into my life.

    Going into a church again for the first time, was cushioned somewhat by my spouse accompanying me, fulfilling something she had wished and prayed for all of our married life.

    I was confirmed in the CofE, just before my first advent back in the Church - and I recall the excitement that I felt than, and which still fills me at Advent. Jesus is coming and we have so much to thank him for. And on this occasion I can thank him for your witness, which has inspired me so much in the direction of discernment and knowing that age is not a debarment to a fruitful ministry.

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  6. Thank you all of you.....its been a year and a half in all sorts of different ways and I value your input enormously.... Its a special privilege to be able to record some of the things that have happened...are happening, will happen....and it makes it even more special that I have made so many good friends! Merry Christmas to you all!

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  7. Sorry to be late reading your moving story. Like you, I've never quite understood the term, To Be Born Again. However, I understand it better after hearing recent testimonies by people I love.

    When I was a teenager, I went to Billy Graham rallies in Manchester, The Kings Hall in Belle Vue was one venue. He was in London I think, and it was beamed onto a large screen from there. I was a church-going Christian at the time, but couldn't persuade myself to "go to the front". It was embarrassing as you say. I thought I was missing out on something important though. i.e. The Holy Spirit.

    I love the fact that a RC priest laid his hands on you along with the others.

    I do believe that I am responsible for protecting the bit of Jesus that lies within me.

    Happy Christmas Jean to you and OH from me and my OH, and I hope the ham was a success.

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