Holy Trinity Church Huddersfield,
Sunday 4th October 2020
The week after the busy week I have just had is always a difficult one due to my disability. Plenty of pain and a lack of sleep are what I have until I get a chance to rest properly. Picking up my granddaughter from school three times and having her at out house yesterday has cut my recovery time. It should be a lot easier this week. There is no resentment for the short holiday we had or taking time to be with a four-year-old, I have thoroughly enjoyed both. I have a choice between being as active as I can and enduring the pain or minimising the pain and doing nothing. I choose enjoyment as the painful after effects are nothing compared to the enjoyment had. Current situation, happy.
Licensed lay minister Bev led the service, A new series going through the Gospel of Mark. Mark’s Gospel is very dynamically written—Then Jesus did this, then he did that, said Bev. (My understanding is that Mark used a historic present tense, something that is not present in English. The Greek being even more dynamic—now Jesus is is doing this, now he is doing that.)
The order of the service was in a different order to previous weeks. The notices were up front, after the welcome. Where the notices go in the service is something I argued with the last two vicars, I cannot remember if I have mentioned it to Vicar Mike, despite him being here since 2013. My view is that we worship God as a community* so what the community is doing and has done is important to the worship of the community. I think the notices belong in the service because they are worship. It seems I have a minority view.
The children’s part of the service had some of our young people saying who their superheroes are. stereotypically the boys admired sports stars, and the girl’s choices included Barbie. Jesus is the ultimate superhero said Bev at the end.
Which brings me to the sermon, preached by Vicar Mike. Mark’s Gospel was probably the first of the four gospels to be written in about AD 60. It asks “Who is Jesus?” What followed was a short film, a vox pop of different people who were asked, “Who is Jesus?” Which started with a statement that Jesus is the most famous person in history, there have been more books written about him and more depictions in art that anyone else. The following vox pop used example raging from Son of God to didn’t exist and don’t know.
Then the Bible reading which was Mark 1:1-13.
Mike oreached: The first verse is the title, “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.” This is no biography, the whole point is to say who Jesus is. We try to squash the Gospel into a formula, but the Gospel is bigger than that.
Jesus is the Messiah, in Greek the Christ. It is a title not a name, Jesus was not the son of Joseph and Mary Christ. He has come and rule with justice. Mark also calls Jesus the son of God. An insight into Jesus Godness. There is prophesy of the Messiah that a voice will cry in the desert, John the Baptist is that voice. By inference Jesus is God’s fulfilment of all that, the climax of Israel story.
Mark takes us back to the beginning in Genesis, this is a new start. The voice of God speaks in creation and at the baptism of Jesus. The Holy Spirit hovers over creation and over Jesus at his baptism, The Aramaic had the Spirit fluttering in creation, like a dove, and a dove is the representative of the Spirit at the baptism.
In Genesis there follows temptation, Jesus is tempted, though Mark does not go into the detail of Matthew’s Gospel. But this victory of Jesus is decisive. Because of this spirits recognise him and his destiny.
This is a new creation, heaven is ripped open, a permanent rending, Jesus is among us and God is here for good.
The one who is filled with the Spirit and baptises with the Spirit is King. Jesus is my king, do you know him?
C S Lewis said that Jesus is either mad. evil or the son of God. God has landed on this enemy infested world in human form.
* By community I mean church, but as some people wrongly assume the church is the building I think it is clearer to use community.