St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church

Vancouver, B.C.

Phone: 604-877-1788

E-mail: office@stmarymags.ca


The Anglican Parish of St. Mary Magdalene

2950 Laurel Street at West 14th Avenue

Vancouver, BC, V5Z  3T3

Home Who We Are UAM What Is On Sermons Contact Us
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Diocese of New Westminster Anglican Church of Canada

Home Who We Are UAM What Is On Sermons Contact Us

Sermon

February 21st Lent 1, 2021                                 John Marsh


Genesis 9:8-17; Psalm 25:1-10; 1 Peter 25:18-22; Mark 1:9-15


After last week’s movement forward in the gospel of Mark – see the transfiguration readings – we return, in today’s gospel, to the immediacy of the opening chapters of Mark…


We return to the urgency of a call, calls but barely heard, to go beyond, to go where many have feared to tread – if we thought about it all of us would so fear; and yet, there is, perhaps, the stirring of an insistence to go beyond civilized certainties, risking the unknown, the unknowable, risking a struggle with our fears, our desires, risking the lure of our dreams, the lure of the succubus of success…


As the gospel story unfolds, we hear of Yeshua’s teaching, his message of good news. His message is that the reign of god is drawing near, his call is for us to ‘repent’, to turn around, to be of a different mind.¹


Jesus calls us to go beyond the limits of our minds and other’s definitions to embrace life renewed and renewing; he calls us to open to possibilities of the commonwealth of god, to let go of that which ‘possesses us’; he calls us to new gatherings of people which are alternative to the usual structures of dominance, inequity and the impoverishment of soul and social vision.


Yeshua calls, others call; Jesus’ call erupting out of depth encounters with what is astir within the name of god, calls within calls of the other, within intrusions of strange voices…


Yet know that in responding to intrusive calls:


We risk encounters with a wilderness within, a wilderness sometimes carried by the experience of a wilderness without…


We risk a hearing, a hearing of wilderness voices, voices calling, luring, seducing, voices with origins unknown, voices promising life yet perhaps life lost, we know not which…


We risk a hearing of voices in the night, voices barely audible, voices threatening to slip away unless attended to, midnight voices luring a meditation, voices different than all diurnal communications…


In so hearing, we risk a going out of our mind, a certain madness, risking either the madness of life lost and confused or, the madness of life renewed and renewing, we know not which…


However, truth to tell, we live in a world more complex than a binary choice would suggest, we live in between, between confusion and renewal yet perhaps, perhaps, if we take the risk of response, the work of risking change, the work of honest listening and reflection, we may open to life, to hope deeply astir…


Yet hope, if it is hope, is hope in a promise, a fleeting promise – if the Genesis story is taken seriously – a rainbow, a momentary climatic sign, a vapour threatening to evaporate; such is the divine promise to honour life and not destroy…


And thus, within uncertain calls, within the risk of no guarantees, Lent begins and continues…


Take responsibility for the promise and do the work…


 ¹ ‘Metanoia’ - repentance – literally means ‘to go beyond your usual mind’ in both an intellectual and an existential sense. To repent is to be of a different mind.