Could a sermon on the impossibly demanding commandment to love your enemies really be about grace?
What does Frank Herbert’s Sci-fi epic have to teach us about Jesus? What does it have to teach us about a two thousand year old social call?
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars….” Haven’t we outgrown all this magical thinking? Does the idea of the Second Coming really have anything to say to us here and now?
When great troubles come upon us, when we are beginning to suspect that we might not be God after all, where do we turn?
How do we live? That, it seems to me is the big question. People in every age have asked it, in as many different ways as there have been cultures. Sometimes, as here, both the question and the answer have been explicit. Sometimes implicit – you have to look below the surface froth of events to have a sense of what is really driving things. But there is no escaping it. – all of human life is driven by this overarching question.
How do we live?
A man sits on an ash-heap, scratching at his sores with a broken shard of a clay pot. He looks up at the sky and demands answers. What happens next will amaze you!
In difficult times, our simplistic answers stop working. What is life all about? What big story am I part of?
Our experience of life is such a mxi of joy and sorrow, pleasure and suffering. How can we be grateful when the world is so full of suffering? Can we be grateful for, rather than to, the universe?
Some nights, I dream about freedom. About walking out the door without a mask, or having friends over to my house to have dinner together. To booking a plane ticket to, well, anywhere really, and being confident that I wouldn’t have to cancel it and add it to my enormous mountain of flight credit vouchers. But what does it mean to be really free – free in a way which lockdowns don’t touch?
When it comes to Easter, what I want is the Hollywood version. No, scrub that. I want the Bollywood version – all synchronize song and dance numbers and glorious technicolor. Instead, what Mark gives us is something altogether stranger. But perhaps this strange, even broken, account of the Good News is precisely what we need in our context.