Monday, December 11, 2006

Moot Homily with apologies to Buechner

Had the pleasure of visiting Moot in London last night and partaking in their service. Below is the homily.

Presence Moot Service Sun 10th December with much culled from the many and varied writings of Frederick buechner.

So hallowed and Gracious is the time - these lines from the first scene of Hamlet in a sense say it all. Marcellus is walking on the cold battlements of Elsinore speaking to his companions of the time of Jesus Birth - its a hallowed time he says - a holy time - a time in which life grows still like the surface of a river so that we can look down into it and see glimmering in its depths something precious , timeless , other. And also a gracious time - a time we cannot bring about it is a time that comes upon us as grace - as a free and unbidden gift from God as we celebrate his presence amongst us. At Christmas time it is hard for even the unbeliever not to believe in something. Peace on earth , goodwill to men ; a dream of innocence that is good to hold onto even if it is only a dream ; the mystery of being a child ; thepossibility of hope . Do you believe .........

Let us clebrate the presence of GOD this christmas time and also our community - our communion - our presence with and in each others lives ..... gathered as we are here in the least of the churches of westminster .

It is good to be present with you tonight. I’ve missed being here physically for these services but I feel that in a way I havent really left at all. It reminds me in a way of a story that Henry Nouwen told of how a former student came to visit him after a year apart . They sat on the floor facing each other catching up on what had been going in each others lives. After an hour or so they feel silent but neither felt uncomfortable and they sat just enjoying each others presence and a deep peace filled the empty space between them. Finally his friend said “When I look at you it is as if i am in the presence of Christ .” Nouwen replied “ It is the Christ in you who recognizes the Christ in me.” HIs friend then replied with what Nouwne said were the most healing words he had heard in many years ....From now on wherever you go or wherever I go , all the ground between us will be holy ground.” And when he left I knew that he had revealed to me what community really means.

And I agree - its how I feel about Moot - there is holy ground between us and always will be ...sometimes it feels closer like when Gareth and Philippa came for the weekend or when I can make it over here ...but I know that wherever I go now there are parts of me that have been shaped by Moot and the people here .... And the Holy ground between us - thats what community is all about ....whether its family or friends .. you can kiss them goodbye and out miles between you but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart , in your mind , in your soul because we dont just live in a world ...but a world lives in us.
And as with any homily from me at some point Mr Frederick Buechner will be involved and as usual he says it better than me.

"When you remember me, it means that you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are. It means that you can summon me back to your mind even though countless years and miles may stand between us. It means that if we meet again, you will know me. It means that even after I die, you can still see my face and hear my voice and speak to me in your heart.
For as long as you remember me, I am never entirely lost. When I'm feeling most ghost-like, it is your remembering me that helps remind me that I actually exist. When I'm feeling sad, it's my consolation. When I'm feeling happy, it's part of why I feel that way.
If you forget me, one of the ways I remember who I am will be gone. If you forget, part of who I am will be gone. "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." the good thief said from his cross (Luke 23:42). There are perhaps no more human words in all of Scripture, no prayer we can pray so well. " Jesus Remember me

Remember me - thats why we are here ...thats why we are present the presence of each other and of God. Look around you from the oldest to the youngest ...we are here to remember Jesus - what we are a part of tonight is the communion of saints........ someone will walk to the altar and break the bread and bless the wine ...the rest of us will sit here quietly waiting to get in on the act.....we all have a part to play and its not just us - If the prayerbook is to be believed - Angels and archangels and all the company of heaven, cherubim and seraphim surround us - if we could really see it , it would look like the fireworks exploding over the London Eye on new years eve, it would sound as beautiful as the aria from Mozarts marriage of figaro and yet be as wild as the Atlantic ocean in the midst of a winter storm - and we are part of all the company of heaven- thats everybody we have ever loved or lost ...including the ones we didnt know we loved until we lost them. Its people we know and people we have never heard off . It means everybody who ever did or at some unimaginable time in the future ever will - come together at something like this table in search of something like what is offered at it.

Whatever other reasons we have for coming here tonight to this table , if we come also to give each other our love and to give God our Love , then together with Gabriel and Micheal and Brendan the navigator and Godric and the civil servant and the social worker and teresa in her ecstacy - yes even St Patrick himself ......... with all of them and us in this room we are the communion of saints ..... look at each other - enjoy each others presence and lets try to live the cornerstone of our faith ..... Love God and Love your neighbour - on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets ......

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord

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