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Baptism of Molly Mulraney, daughter of Nicolas and Anne

Baptism of Molly Mulraney, daughter of Nicolas and Anne

Matthew 11: 25-30.


I was thinking about what the main problem of the world is.

And then it dawned on me.

The problem with the world is that I am not in charge of it.

Think about it, wouldn’t the world be better if I was in charge of it.

How many times have you had ‘that’ conversation with someone and then said, ‘Well now we’ve sorted out the world.’

And yet that attitude that we know what is best can drive others to great consternation.

We might know all the answers but that can drive others nuts.

I have this gift of annoying people.

It’s true...ask any of my squash partners.

But not just my squash partners. My family, ask my family how much of a pain in the neck I am.

Like last week. Last week my daughter Iona and her mum had a baby shower for her sister Cairy. And Iona, who is getting married quite soon, decided that she would discuss how the bridesmaids were going to enter the church...which was all wrong. And she couldn’t see how wrong it was.

But not just my squash partners and my family.

Complete strangers.

There was this quiz on Heroes and Villains that my wife gave me.

This was one of the questions...

Which Super Person controls the weather?

The answer she wanted...Storm.

But that’s not what my answer was.

My answer was...

Depends which graphic novel universe you are talking about.

In the Marvel Universe Storm from the X Men control the weather.

In the DC Universe it is Weather Wizard from the Rogues.

Or what about this question...

What is the secret identity of the Green Lantern?

The answer they wanted...Hal Jordan.

My answer...the original Green lantern was Alan Scott, then when they rebooted the franchise it became Hal Jordon and then Guy Gardener. When they wanted to introduce more racial integrity to the franchise they added John Stewart and Kyle Raynor, both were black. Then recently they added Simon Baz who was Muslim and Jessica Cruz as a woman Green lantern.

I was the only one to get the whole quiz right because I was the only one to notice that one of the questions was wrong. One of the anagrams had all the letters mixed up and the clue that it was a one word answer. But the truth is that the answer was The Penguin...which is two words.

These are rookie mistakes.

That’s the trouble with this world. The person who made up the quiz didn't know what she was really doing. In the end she had to Google my answers to see if they were right.

If I had been in charge of the quiz that wouldn't have happened.

The only problem is that the person, who was setting the quiz and didn't know the answers, was the same person who was sorting out the prize.

Now let’s think this through.

What would be a great prize for someone winning a heroes and villains quiz.

Maybe a brand new graphic novel.

Maybe a book token.

Maybe a computer game or a DVD based on a superhero.

But no...I win a Babylis hair curler and straightener.

Trust me...if I had been in charge that would not have been the prize I would have chosen.

And it isn’t just in silly things like this that we wish we were in control of, more major things as well.

‘Come to me all, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and let me put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.’

The problem we have is that we are not in charge of our world.

The world is covered in idiots who seem to think that their sole purpose in this world is to make our lives more difficult.

But that doesn't stop us trying to be in control as much as possible.

And if you have children then that burden of trying to be in control just gets worse and worse.

You have the years that they are wee and you are helping them get their first words, helping them walk. And you have to move all the furniture about because designers have made all the tables have sharp edges which our children seem to be attracted to when they fall.

Then covering up all the plugs, because architects have put all the plugs really low down, which doesn’t suit anyone. Old folk can’t bend down to put plugs in, wee ones have an ideal height when they are crawling to stick their fingers in the plugs.

But it doesn’t get better when they get older.

Like waiting in accident and emergency for five hours because something has happened to their eyes and the nurse then says to you, ‘It’s probably OK. Bathe it in cold water and if it gets worse see your doctor tomorrow.’ After five hours of sitting with the weirdest of folks on a Saturday night that’s the best advice they can give?

And then when they get older there are the boyfriends.

Now think about this. You have spent the best years of your life protecting this brat from all kinds of harm, going through apoplexy helping them with homework projects, comforting them when they don't get an invite to a birthday party, making sure that every holiday revolves round them being happy.

And then when you give them some gentle advice about this scruff of a boyfriend who isn't good for them they tell you that you don't understand them and you’ve never cared for them.

‘Come to me all, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and let me put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.’

This trouble with this world is that we are not in control.

But that doesn't stop us trying to be in control.

Because if only we could get control, then things would be better.

Ok major question...what is the main difference between God and ourselves?

God doesn’t think that He is us.

We might not be God, but we sure try to be Him in our wee world.

We struggle so hard to be in control. And that means trying to control everyone else.

Because we will only be happy when we are in control, and what stops us being in control is all the idiot decisions that everyone else in our lives is making.

You know how hard it is trying to be control of everything?

Of course you do, that’s why you are so stressed out all the time.

Life today is like trying to sail a yacht in the middle of a force ten storm.

You’re exhausted trying to keep it all together, and even then you don't really think that you are in control, but if you just give up then it will be complete disaster.

But if there is no God in your life, then how can that change?

Or if there is a God but you don't listen to him, then how can that change?

No one else is going to help you.

No one else can be in charge of your life.

No one else can be in control.

No one else can share the responsibility.

Your life is your life and no one else's.

And the truth is....we are never truly in control of our life.

September last year.

I am playing squash.

I am desperately trying to be in control of the match.

If I can take control of the match then I can win the game.

Little did I know I wasn't even in control of my own body.

There are three arteries that supply blood to the heart.

As I played squash I was totally oblivious to the fact that two of my arteries had gone on holiday.

In my moment of need I couldn't even trust my own body not to let me down.

I came off that court sweating like nobodies business. And no doubt there was part

of my brain that was saying, ‘That seemed harder than it should have been. Is there anything wrong?’

And my heart is saying, ‘No everything's fine down here. Trust me. If I was having a heart attack you would be the first to know. I would put you in lots of pain to warn you. Everything fine.’

And I wasn’t having a heart attack, I had had TWO heart attacks.

How are we supposed to control what is happening in our world when we can’t even be in control of our own bodies?

But that doesn't stop us trying.

‘Come to me all, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and let me put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.’

There is another way.

It is equally as tough. But I believe it is better.

Instead of the burden we have created for ourselves. Why not take the burden of God?

The burden of not being in charge of our lives.

Of following the path that God has for us.

Of being the person that God wants us to be.

And I know what your objection would be...but God’s standards will be even greater than out own.

And that’s true.

But God also gives us guidance, give us strength, and gives us wisdom.

I don't need to be perfect, because I know I am not perfect. And i don’t even need to pretend to be perfect.

If I see that I am always a work in progress, then that means I have the freedom to get it wrong. And admit I get it wrong at times.

Look at politicians. They get it wrong all the time. But they can never admit that they are wrong because that would be fodder to their opposition. So even when they get it wrong they pretend that it wasn't their fault, try to pass the blame.

And when we are in charge of our life then we are just the same.

Imagine God being in charge of our life.

And when we botch things up God says to need to ask forgiveness, and God then gives you forgiveness, and strength to admit to the mistake, learn from the mistake and grow from the mistake. How much of a better person would you become?

Or when God stops you making a mistake in the first place because he is warning you of the selfishness of the action that you about to make...helps you stop that action which would hurt someone that you deeply care about.

There are only two people that can ever be in control of our life.

Either God is in control of our life or we are.

If we are in control then there is no one to help us, we are ultimately on our own.

And as someone who is a bit of a control freak I can appreciate the attractiveness of that scenario...but trust me, it is a lonely life that leads nowhere. Because in the end which of us knows where we are supposed to be heading.

When God is in control of our life, when we share the responsibility. God gives the guidance and the direction and the purpose, we choose to follow. And in following we may be led down some tough paths, having to admit to who we are becoming, making changes that feel like tough sacrifices. But the person we become, is the person that others will trust, others can rely on, others will love.

It’s our choice.

All I know, is the person I am, is better than they person I would have been, if I had been in charge.

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