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12 July 2011 @ 10:29 pm
Eternal Moments  
A short sermon from my first celebration of the Eucharist on Saturday.

It has been a huge joy to share with so many of you at the testimony service three weeks ago, last Sunday in Southport and at Chester and of course, here today. Lots of people have asked me how I feel, or what I think about it – is it different? I was told that being ordained allows you to be in more than one place at once, but I still haven’t worked out how you do that.

But there was one way that many of us chose to speak of the events of last Sunday. We spoke of them as an eternal moment, a focal point within our own lives and within the life of the church, the point that our vocational journeys had been directed towards and the point that they radiate out from again. In one sense nothing has changed for all of this has for ever been in the hands of God, but in another sense everything has changed.

The readings point us to other eternal moments in the life of God’s people. God’s people hear from Moses the word of the Lord and his presence descends in the cloud. The elders of the people are moved to prophecy by God’s Spirit. In the word, in the cloud, by the spirit, God’s presence is revealed for a moment, but for an eternity.

In the upper room, Christ’s most devoted followers – women and men and including his blessed mother Mary – are gathered. This is another eternal moment, in wind and in fire, the presence of God the Holy Spirit is revealed. They are all moved to speak in other languages as the Spirit enables them. They create stunned and shocked reactions in those around them and they, through their preaching, reveal God to those around them. God’s presence is revealed to them, and by them to others.

Jesus Christ, after his resurrection, comes to the disciples gathered in fear in the Upper Room. He comes to Thomas who could not believe unless he saw and touched. Jesus Christ, God the Son, reveals himself to Thomas who recognises him as his Lord and God. It is another eternal moment, the presence of God revealed.

Ordinations are eternal moments, signs and symbols of God’s revelation to the Church, gifts of the Spirit and encounters with Christ.

But it is the supreme eternal moment in the life of the church that we gather to celebrate the afternoon as we come to the Lord’s table. For as often as we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. We are joined here with the sacrifice of Calvary, with his glorious resurrection and ascension, with his eternal reign in heaven, with the Church on earth and in heaven through all time and space as in this one moment of eternity we offer the greatest praise we can give to God the Holy Trinity. This is an eternal moment.

These eternal moments draw us in to the presence of God, to God’s gifts for us, to God’s grace for us. They plunge us deeper into the life of God which is the source of all life. And they send us out, they propel us on, to share God’s love, to speak God’s word, to reveal God’s presence to the whole world. We are drawn in and we are sent out through the eternal moment of God’s presence in our life. Amen.