Homily Notes: Mother's Union Carol Service

Text: Mark 1:2-8

  • You can Choose your friends, not your relatives
  • John the Baptister – wayward, unconventional, charismatic, attractional
    • The most outrageous member of the family since… Jesus
    • Drawing thousands to hear a stark and challenging message: “Repent – the Messiah is coming!”
  • John is crucial to our Advent Story because he is the last of the tradition of Great Old Testament Prophets – dressed like Elijah, speaking the words of Isaiah and pointing to the one greater than he.
  • John is the hinge between the Old and New Testaments
    • Clearly rooted in his past, but never dwelling upon it
    • His concern for the present is only because of his hope for the future.
  • John spoke of the one who is to come, the one whose sandals he was not worthy to undo – an echo of the work of the lowliest in a Middle Eastern household who removed the dirty and the dusty… and he reckons himself unworthy of that!
  • The Church therefore, founded upon the prophecy of many like John should be similarly rooted in the heritage of our forebears, the history of the Church of England, the celebration of the past of the Mother’s Union
  • But it must like John look forward, at times prophetically
  • If the Church starts to look backwards, then it starts to turn away from the Christ who is always before us.
  • Isaiah:

“Cease to dwell on days gone by and to brood over past history. Here and now I will do a new thing; this moment it will break from the bud. Can you not perceive it?”

  • The greatest work of the Church lies not in its past
    • Not in its great buildings
    • Not in its Liturgy or Music
    • Not its former great numbers or political strength or influence
    • But in its future
      • What it will do for the poor, the outcast, the addicted and the destitute
      • For whom it will speak up for
      • Against which oppressor (both home and abroad) it will stand up to
      • To whom it will embrace, regardless of gender or sexuality, affluence or colour
    • The MU similarly reflects the Church, the body of Christ of which it is a part
    • If it looks in on itself, if the Church looks in on itself, rather than outward and forward then it has failed to hear today’s Gospel
      • And indeed every Gospel every Sunday
    • Across the world, the MU is looking with Advent-like expectation towards the Messiah, making ready the path in the wilderness, creating the Kingdom of God. Here. Now. Ready for when he comes, even though we know not the day or the hour.
  • What action will you take, in your lives, in your communities, in your MUs to look forward with Advent-like expectation?
  • What will you do to usher in the Kingdom?
  • Isaiah:

“Cease to dwell on days gone by and to brood over past history. Here and now I will do a new thing; this moment it will break from the bud. Can you not perceive it?”