Teaching in the parish

Teaching in the parish

This blog is to share the teaching within the parish

We are a parish who worship in four churches whilst being one worshipping community. Those who teach and preach within the parish wish to share what we believe God is sharing with us as we journey into the local communities and those in the wider areas.

Yvonne Callaghan - "Come out of the darkness"

Sunday 13th March 2017Posted by Yvonne Callaghan Tue, April 18, 2017 22:22:36

Nicodemus

A Pharisee,

a leader of the Jewish Sanhardrin

this Powerful and respected leader

came quietly under the cover of darkness

to meet with and learn from Jesus...


I often wonder about that meeting

was it so amazing that Nicodemus was changed so much by it

or is that meeting the only one reported on in the bible

and the truth is that they met more often than has been noted.

we will never know whether it was the one meeting

or the many meetings


All we know is that meeting Jesus changed Nicodemus

As a Pharisee

as a leader of the Sanhadrin

Nicodemus was present at the mock trial

it was he who spoke up

saying that that the law requires that a person be heard

before being judged…


Nicodeumus from knowing and learning of Jesus

knew Jesus to be innocent

innocent. as Jesus was tried, tortured and killed


And at the death of Jesus we see Nicodemus

stepping out of the darkness

and into full light

full vision

as he accompanied Joseph another secret disciple of Jesus

to ask for the body of Jesus

not only did Nicodemus accompany Joseph

Nicodemus took with him

a mixture of myrrh and alloes..

the two of these leaders

these secret disciples took the body of Jesus

wrapped it with the spices and in strips of linen..

Yet is was only at the time of torture and death

that we see Nicodemus finding the courage to speak out

and by doing so he staked his reputation on all he was

the respect of others

his position as a leader

he was willing to give all this up

to care for Jesus..


Again we need to remember

someone considered a blasphemer could not receive

the rites of a proper Jewish Funeral

Yet Nicodemus

gave to Jesus as much of the rites as he was able

before the sun went down and the Sabbath began


Nicodemus is a man

similar to Saul

who held one view

and upon meeting Jesus

truly meeting Jesus

are changed beyond anything they could have imagined ..


The story of Nicodemus reminds me of

the life ofAugust Landmesser

a gentleman who we meet publicly in 1936

at the launch ceremony of a German ship

at which Hitler himself was present

when everyone else raised their arms in salute

and in allegiance to the Nazi Party and Adolph Hitler.

August Landmesser

kept his hands down and folded infant of him


Why might a young man behave differently to the rules

everyone else was following?

Well.August joined the Nazi Party in 1931

believing in its philosophy and connections

believing he could be something big

make the right connections

Then he met a woman named Irma Exkler

a Jewess …

Remember the intolerance of the German ideal

the hatred of those different

who do not fit what Hitler believed to be right

the ones following the right rules..

having a relationship with Irma

must have meant his eyes were opened

he himself changed..


Nothing was public

in the open

until August and Irma were engaged…

and because August was countering the Nazi party rule

he was expelled from the Nazi party

and their marriage application

denied under the racial Nuremberg Laws..

August was imprisoned for not hiding his love of Irma

and Irma sent to a Euthensai centre..

just for being born a Jew


Change happened to August as he experienced love

anyone who denies love

is denying the love of God within them

And August changed by experiencing love

could not hide in the dark any more

his love for Irma

was more than his desire for connections,

for power, esteem and money…


By experiencing love

he knew the intolerance of the Nazi party

was wrong

and he could not accept what he was

and needed to be who he was as someone in love and loved.


That is the same way that the heart and mind of Nicodemus

was changed,

through experiencing the love and teaching of God..


So today I have a couple of questions in my heart

Are we who come to church

coming to listen - hear - learn

about Jesus under cover of darkness?


I know we physically come to Church in the day time

.. the darkness to which I refer

is the darkness of hiding

hiding our questions

our understanding or even our misunderstanding

through our hiding are we denying Jesus?


Or are we being bold in being Church

are we bold in speaking to others about being Church..

about living in the love of God

in and through Jesus..


Or do we come on a Sunday and that's it..

No more thought about meeting together

Praying together

Or joining in with events

or gatherings which happen during the week..

Do we not want to be seen as followers

as disciples of Jesus.?


Nicodemus did not want people to see him with Jesus

He had a position to uphold

Perhaps he didn't want to have to think more deeply

about this man Jesus..

Yet though the conversations

todays reading show us that he did think deeply..

he did try to work out the incongruence of his leadership roll

and the teachings of Jesus

He even recognised God within Jesus

as he said.. Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher

who has come from God,

for no one can do these signs that you do

apart from the very presence of God


Jesus was born Emmanuel

God with us

Emmanuel speaks of God in Jesus

remember Jesus was fully human

but living in relationship

letting the Holy Spirit blow where it will

Jesus heals

turns water into wine

feed thousands from a few simple loaves and fishes

brings Lazarus to life..

equips the woman at the well to bring others to him

to see who the Messiah is


Jesus, Emmanuel, our Messiah, our Redeemenr and our friend

tells us that to know him properly

we have to be born from above

we have to hear again the call of the Spirit in our lives

we have to hear again the call to covenant

to give of ourself and receive from God..


Nicodemus was eager

Nicodemus engaged… Nicodemus learnt

how… through experiencing relationship with Jesus

Nicodemus’ life was changed for ever

he gave up on all he held dear

and came to hold Jesus and all he offered

dearer than his own desires..


Nicdemus finally came out and become public

about his relationship with Jesus

But... and here's the thing

He became VOCAL AND VISIBLE … AsJesus was dying..

So I ask

Are we waiting for the Church here to die

before we all put aside the things which we are respected for

the things we hold power over

the things we prefer

the excuses we make

Are we waiting for death

before we testify to what we have seen

so others can receive our testimony

others can see God within us


One hour on a Sunday is not enough

enough time or enough space

to let the Spirit of God blow through our hearts and minds

enough to show others the presence of God within us?


I invite you again

to gather more than on a Sunday

I invite you to share fellowship

Share our stories

Share our joys and our sorrows

Share our lives

Together in mutually flourishing relationships


Today more than ever

we have to learn again

to be Church

Church who do not hide in the darkness

We have to open our doors

and our hearts


We have to be Church who meet together in the light

in public

we have to be the ones who does not raise our hands

to oppression,

to the worlds bigotry

to the power of others ….. because its safe

The mossed missed thing about Jesus

about being a Christian

is… Jesus was radical

he stood up in the light against those who held power bases

he stood up in the light and confronted behaviours and beliefs

He stood up and taught us how to be Church


Meeting, eating, walking, worshiping, studying,

spending time together..

with his disciples

with those who came by darkness

so he could show us how to be Church

a people

who would gather anywhere to be Church

Church who

stand up for the weak, the vulnerable, the poor, the needy,


So as the body of Christ here in our little patch of North Yorkshire

can we step out of the darkness

can we step into the light of being seen

can we confront behaviour that do not value all people


Can we be like August Landmesser

and be different to the crowd

walking in the light

and not the darkness.


Can we let Jesus change us

can we let him remove the scales from our eyes

as he Did to Saul


So we too can remove the yolk of oppression

from our hearts and minds

allowing our faith to be seen

in all we are and in all we do.


Amen…