Sunday Sermon 9th October-Baptism of Leah Bridget Blair
Baptism of Leah Bridget Blair Daughter of Iain and Cairy
Hymn 631: A little child the Saviour came
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0Wsbw52wsETime for all
Baptism of Leah Bridget Blair
Hymn 632: Our children Lord in faith and prayer
Reading Luke 17: 11-19 Elaine
Hymn 522: The Church is wherever
Hymn 166: Lord of all hopefulness
Welcome to our reflection for 9th of October.
Happy ever afters are all we ever want.
I have a son who is hoping to get married this week...is that a happy ever after?
I have a daughter that is not well, if she was healed, would that be a happy ever after?
In our reading today we have 10 men who are diseased that ask Jesus for help, and they are helped, is that the end of their story?
We will find out after Elaine leads us in that reading and our prayer for today.
We so love a ‘happy ever after...’
Snow White is kissed by her prince, they defeat the wicked witch and they get married and they all live ‘happy ever after.’
Only that would never be the end of the story.
Because life goes on.
Let me tell you a modern fairy story.
There was once a very naughty prime minister called Boris. Boris did what he wanted when he wanted. He pretended to care for the poor but the rich got richer and the poor got poorer.
In the end he told one lie too many and got caught for the umpteenth time. His party thought that if they went into another election they would do very badly.
So they got rid of him and replaced him with someone called Liz...and we all lived happily ever after...
The food banks and the food inflation and the fuel bills and the war in Ukraine all just disappeared...really?
With Snow White and Prince Charming the story would have gone on.
With a new king and queen in power the neighbouring states would have seen this as a time of flux, instability, as the new king and queen get to grips with all the difficulties of running a country for the first time. If there was ever a good time to invade the country, make a land grab, then that would be it.
So off goes King Charming to fight on the borders of his country, taking all the fit able men to defend the country.
And Queen Snow White is left in charge.
What does she have to do?
Well she has to deal with the food crisis, because King Charming has taken all the fit men, who would normally be bringing in the harvest, off to war.
With all the food rotting in the ground those left behind are in front of the castle demanding that she do something about it.
Does that sound like a happy ever after?
But it is what we have heard, there are ‘happy ever afters’, it is what we spend so much of our time looking for.
In our service today Leah was baptised.
I spent decades between Castlemilk and Alva baptising children.
The families would come along to the manse and ask if they could get their ‘weans done.’
What they meant was that in the back of their mind was a myth that if a child happened to die before they were baptised then that child couldn’t enter heaven. Now they don’t know if that is true or not, but they don’t want to take the chance. So they will come along and get the child baptised and after that everything is fine.
They don’t need to do any more.
Only they find that life goes on, their child still has dirty nappies the next day.’
Life goes on. But we still expect the ‘happy ever after.’
We never learn.)
If only I get those exams. If I get those exams then everything will be fine...I’ll get my happy ever after...
If only I marry my hero. If I marry my hero then everything will be fine...I’ll get my happy ever after...
If only I get that job. If I get that job then my life will be stable, comfortable. I will get my happy ever after...
If only I can get to retirement. If I get to retirement then I don’t need to put up with all these idiots I have been forced to work with for decades. Then I will have my happy ever after...
I am sure that the lepers who came to Jesus that day thought that if they could just be cured then their lives would be sorted, that they would have their happy ever after.
Leprosy in those days was incurable.
Once you contacted it you were cast out the house, the family would have a funeral service for you because on that day you were dead to them.
You were not only cast out the house, you were cast out of society, by law you were not allowed to interact with any healthy person. By law if you tried to interact with a healthy person then you could immediately be stoned to death.
The only people you could hang out with were other lepers.
Remember when we all had to isolate/quarantine because of COVID?
Well remember how hard that was, and multiply it by the rest of your life.
And these men were cured from that...if there was ever a happy ever after, then that was it.
Only one realises that it isn’t a happy ever after.
Because life goes on.
He goes back home and thinks everything is going to be great.
But in that society his wife has probably remarried.
There is no job for him because his work has been taken over by someone else.
There will be neighbours who refuse to talk to him because he might say that he is cured but how do they know he isn’t lying?
One healed leper realises that he is better and goes back.
To say thank you, sure, but also to ask what happens next.
I have a fair idea what happens next because Jesus again and again in the gospels directs people in the same way.
Don’t look at this as a happy ever after; look at this as a happy beginning.
You have been forgiven...what do you do with that now? Do you use that forgiveness to carry on doing what you did before, or do you use your forgiveness to forgive others?
You have been given your eyesight back...what do you do with that now, do you use your eyesight to take advantage of others, steal from them, or do you use it to help others, help them across the road?
You have been blessed by God...what do you do with that blessing now, do you use it to live a comfortable happy life of selfishness not caring for anyone else , or do you use that blessing to be a blessing for others?
(Today Leah has been baptised. In a way this has been a huge thank you for a safe birth and a wonderful child. But what do we do now?
We can fold our arms and say, ‘Well that was nice.’
Or we can accept that today is just a happy beginning, not a happy ever after, and use God’s wisdom and strength and patience and forgiveness to help each other show Leah, and everyone else we meet, see the possibilities and hopes for this day).
So good news bad news.
The bad news is that there is not a happy ever after.
The good news is that today is a happy beginning, not a happy ever after, and we can use God’s wisdom and strength and patience and forgiveness to help each other see the possibilities and hopes for this day.
Today is not the end, today not the happy ever after.
Today is the happy beginning, the day we make the choice of what we do with the gifts God has given us.
Let us pray
Too often we spend our life grasping for something that we can never have.
We are bombarded by adverts that tell us that the perfect life is possible, and then we torture ourselves trying to achieve it.
For sometimes it is easier to seek an impossible dream rather than seek to find what we can enjoy in a reality.
And when we become disillusioned with our false dreams, sometimes it is easier to dull the pain with self medication rather than work with what we have.
Give us the wisdom to see the joys of the day we have; the shelter the food the company we share life with.
But also to follow the guidance you give us, to see them not as an end in themselves, but the beginnings, the foundations, of tomorrow.
May we take the blessings we have, and become a blessing for others.
This we ask in Jesus name.