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Sermon for Trinity 1 (2021)

Listen to a sermon for the First Sunday after Trinity, 6 June 2021, by Revd Stephen Buckman

  • In today’s gospel reading we heard these words: The crowd came together again, so that Jesus and his apostles could not even eat.  When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.”
  • The King James Version of the bible translates the concern of Jesus’ family in these words – He is beside himself.
  • J B Phillips translates it as: People were saying, “He must be mad.”
  • The 1995 Contemporary English Version says: When Jesus’ family heard what he was doing, they thought he was crazy and went to get him under control.

Despite its lack of poetic sophistication, I must say that I find the last of these translations the most striking: Jesus was – and is – crazy!

What is more – those who would follow Jesus, are called, summoned and challenged to be just as crazy! Yes – without a doubt, we are in desperate need of crazy Christians!

In the first letter of Peter we read: Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. When you think about putting such teaching into practice, surely you must conclude that it is crazy.

In Matthew’s gospel we read: The greatest among you will be your servant. More craziness!

Here is something else that the everyday, secular world would define as being crazy. What the world calls wretched, Jesus calls blessed –

  • Blessed are the poor and the poor in spirit;
  • Blessed are the merciful, the compassionate;
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst that God’s righteous judgement might prevail;
  • Blessed are those who work for peace;
  • Blessed are you when you are persecuted just for trying to love and to do what is good.

Surely there can be no doubt – Jesus was crazy!

And – just as Jesus was crazy – so we need more and more followers of Jesus to be just as crazy!

All who would dare to call themselves Christian are called to be crazy enough to –

  • love like Jesus;
  • give like Jesus;
  • forgive like Jesus;
  • do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God – just like Jesus?

Are you crazy enough to dare to change the world from the nightmare it often is into something closer to the dream that God dreams for it?

Are you – in your desire to be ‘good’ disciples of Christ – ready to be called to the same craziness as Jesus himself?

There is a great model of this sort of craziness in Mary Magdalene. So often she gets a rough deal in the way we remember her, but think back to the scene of the crucifixion.

Crucifixion was an intentionally brutal means of execution by public torture. If you knew the victim of this means of capital punishment, the sensible thing to do was to lie low.

Having said that, let’s think about Jesus’ crucifixion. Let’s take a roll call of those who supported him:
Simon Peter – absent; 
James – absent; 
Andrew – absent; 
Bartholomew – absent; 
Thomas – absent; 
Judas – definitely absent; 
Mary Magdalene – present and accounted for!

In the words of the old slave song: Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Mary Magdalene is the one who could say, Yes, I was crazy enough to be there!  And I was there!!!

The Church is in such need of people like Mary Magdalene.

The Church struggles to flourish where it allows itself to become cosy, sane and sensible. We need Christians who are crazy enough not only to believe, but also to live out the belief every moment of every day.

The Church needs Christians crazy enough to:

  • believe that children do not have to go to bed hungry;
  • believe that every human being is created in the image of God;
  • believe that the joy of the resurrection is for all.

Then they (WE) need to go out and live that crazy faith!!!