Last Sunday, I preached off some brief notes rather than a full text – I find there are pros and cons to these different approaches – so I am sorry that there is not a full sermon on the website this week.
I can offer this by way of a summary:
My main point and image – with the help of my old bashed-up glasses, and my new varifocals! – was about the glasses we choose to look through, and then perhaps become less aware of, and our Christian calling to continually ‘regrind the lens’ through which we see. Though we might see church, for instance, as a place of refuge and comfort, as I hope it often is, it is also sometimes a place of challenge and confrontation: in our gospel reading from Luke 24:37, the disciples are startled and afraid to see Jesus standing among them. He explains and invites them to see differently, as ‘witnesses of these things.’
The calling to ‘repent’ should be understood more positively than it is often portrayed. Where our lectionary cuts off the reading from Acts (3:12-19) is potentially misleading: the call to ‘Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out,’ is followed by ‘so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.’
I offered a couple of examples from my own experience – of the rough-looking young man at the ticket machine in London who I thought was going to mug me but offered me change, and the fracture in my own family over my grandmother’s will, and coming to understand a bit more about the source of my godparents’ pain many years later. I also remembered the remarkable example of the transformation of Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness before their deaths from implacable opponents in the Irish troubles to ‘the chuckle brothers’ in the Irish government.
I asked if people could think of their own examples, in their own lives.
Whatever the state of our eyes physically – may we too, individually and together, know again the refreshment that comes from turning, and turning back to the Lord, and allowing Jesus to ‘re-grind the lens’ through which we see. So may we continually be renewed as witnesses to our Easter hope in the risen Christ.