Sermon For Easter II

Easter II sermon

Easter II – 30.4.17

A TV programme we might have tuned into on Tuesday evening of this past week is “The Yorkshire Vet”.

The story is of a young stag caught by its antlers – from which it is not able to free itself, but frantically trying to do so.

A moving image. If it hadn’t been for the Vet the stag would have become exhausted and died.

This is a picture we have before us in place of the sheep this morning – a portrayal of the stag simply because the stag is in desperate need – put to us vividly by the camera.

But it is significant that we have no need of a literal picture. Our imagination is sufficient – and more than sufficient – to affect us deeply. We experience a distress patterned on that of the animal – and with a heart-felt thanks for the Vet who was able to free the stag.

Yes. Our imagination suffices. In fact imagination is all important to our very being – for our lives are animated by our imagination. But not by allowing our imagination free-play – rather having our imagination guided by way of Godliness. Our God who loves us to the extent of the Crucifixion.

Some have understood Creation having place first of all in the imagination of God.

This is fascinating when we consider that God makes man in his own image.

Here, Bonhoeffer too is fascinating. Writing – as have so many – on the “imago Dei” of the word in Genesis, of God creating man in his own image. Bonhoeffer makes the point that God creates humanity in his own image, and through relationship. Male and female.

Then arguing that God wants to be seen or imaged in creatures who freely worship their Creator, Bonhoeffer writes, “No one can think of freedom as a substance or something individualistic. Freedom is simply something that happens to us through the other person”.

He continues – for in the language of the Bible freedom is not something that people have for themselves but something they have for others. No one is free in herself or “himself” – free, as it were in a vacuum, or free in the same way that a person may be musical, intelligent or blind in herself or in himself. Freedom is not a quality a human being has, it is not an ability, a capacity – because freedom is not a possession, something to hand, an object; instead it is a relationship and nothing else.

Freedom is a relationship between two persons. Being free means “being – free – for the other, because we are bound to the other. Only by being in relationship with the other am I free”.

©Br George Linnegar