A Sermon from Sherborne
A sermon for Evensong at Sherborne Abbey, preached on Sunday 20 August 2017 by The Reverend Guntars Reboks, Assistant Curate
When people today refer to a “myth”, they would say that a myth is something that is not true, or even a lie. But a myth simply conveys the truth in a non-factual, symbolic way. Today’s society has chosen to follow only that which it imagines to be fact, forgetting about the truth that symbols can reveal. There are a lot of symbolic and mythological stories in Christianity. One of these myths is “the fall of humanity.” God’s intention was to create the world good. But at one point something happened, that introduced into this reality what we recognize as evil. Since then humans have tried to distinguish between things good and things that are evil. Even to a material level.
When we pray to God, we often ask him to help us with the material things around us, even our body. We as Christians believe that only Christ makes things holy. Christ has a power to purify and make clean. Do we still believe that God can do those things, that he is the creator of the universe, that he can influence matter, the cosmos, the world, our mortal bodies – or do we believe that only external things can influence our lives?
Today there are many diet types. Most of them – except the medically-grounded ones – are based on the belief that by eating or abstaining from something, you are making your body better or more attractive, or improving your own spirituality – or even making the world a better or a greener place. And then there are many kinds of religious diets that distinguish between holy and unholy foods. Do you follow a diet for “spiritual” reasons, to purify yourself?
The simple truth is that the body cannot be purified in a spiritual manner by external things. Only God working in us can influence things that are material, even our bodies. Miracles? Healings? Are they possible? Are they real?
Today’s society has dismissed God as a myth, and prefers to trust in other, and often strange, things: energies, stones, nature and so on. It is one thing to say and believe that nature is created by God and that is why we must deal with it carefully, but it is another thing, when you trust in nature as if it were a divine being. Nature is not just about beautiful trees and birds: it is a life-death cycle. To trust just in nature means to die a slow, natural death. And the scariest thing is that when people start trusting in external objects and things, they slowly devour the inner being, the soul. You see, though stones and crystals were made by God, they do not have the power to save you. Only God can extend your life to eternity.
If we banish God from our lives and start worshipping things, then eventually evil will come out of it. The 20th century demonstrated it to us very clearly – the rise of radical nationalism, atheism, communism. But if we believe in God and place him in the centre of our lives, he will make the light within us grow and he will guide us in the right direction. And so we will come to recognise God’s presence with us, both individually and as a society. I hope and pray we will make the right choice. Amen.