A chapter in God's story
Sermon 5th August 2007
St Mary's Comberton
Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23; Luke 12:13-21
<<How does your life fit into God's story?>>
The Wednesday before last... unusual kind of funeral service.
Building work. Trench for drains. This being a churchyard.
C of E guidelines, lay to rest with respect, re-buried Christian funeral.
** No idea about who these people were – no headstones.
Expert archaeologist:- Male or female. Old or young. Rough age – prob at least 500yrs.
But nothing (absolutely nothing) about what they achieved in their life, hopes and dreams.
Who were their parents? / Did they get on with their parents?
Were they rich or poor?/ Did they enjoy the work they did for a living?
Who did they fall in love with? / Did they get to marry him or her?
Naturally makes us ask the question. What will our achievements add up to after we've departed this life? 10, 50, 500yrs
Question wrestling with in our first reading.
2v18 “I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it for those who come after me – and who knows whether they will be wise or foolish?”
Ecclesiastes not often read in Church.
Quotations: “There is nothing new under the sun.” poem “A time to be born, and a time to die”
What is the meaning of life?
Simple answers trite. Douglas Adams Hitch hikers guide to the galaxy. 42.
“The Teacher” - Ecclesiastes spends a lot of time talking about what is NOT the meaning of life.
Possessions: 2v4-5, 8a
Pleasure: 2v8b, 10
Wisdom: 2 v16
not even wisdom!
Absolutely right - those bones
No resolution in the reading. Even end of book – only a pointer.
Parable. “Therefore I tell you do not worry about your life... And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and to drink... Instead strive for God's kingdom.” Lk12: 22,29,31
Teacher, Ecclesiastes. Worldview without God.
Imagine the world as a library:
book represents a life.
Your life. Birth to death. Story.
Good read. Find it interesting.
Missed for a while.
Erased from the catalogue. No one would know.
Plenty of other romances / tragedies / crime.
Problem with viewing a world like that each book is complete in its own right. History made up of isolated lives of individuals. No over arching story or purpose.
If the world is like that library it is all eventually meaningless.
Christian view. Only complete with God. History isn't just made up of isolated accounts.
God has a purpose.
Library. Series of books. Harry Potter / Lord of the Rings. Volume 1, 2 ,3.
Story in vol 3 builds on that in vol 2.
Completely different. Wouldn't read through a whole library in the order they appeared on the shelf.
Here is the key to the meaning of life. Throughout History, God has been building his kingdom.
Actors in the story. Abraham -> St Paul. Since then. Some big part to play, some just a small part.
Part of the plot. Everything we do in Jesus' name part of the plot, moves that story on.
Are we in that story. Or do we not relate to it at all.
We do know something about them people.
They were members of this church.
Buried close, possibly benfactors.
The church is here and the mission of the church continues because of what they did.
Their lives were not meaningless. They helped the story of God's Kingdom move on in their generation.
And that is our challenge.