Living Into Abundant Life: a sermon on John 10:10

Sacred spaceToday was Picnic Sunday at Holy Cross and we were blessed to worship on the shores of Lake Simcoe at the Loretto Maryholme Retreat Centre. The Worship Bulletin which includes the readings is available here.   A written text of the sermon I intended to preach can be found here, or you can listen too the abbreviated  sermon that was preached to the accompaniment of not so gentle breezes is printed below

 “I have come that they may have life and live it abundantly!”

Abundant life.

Please take a moment to sink deeply in to this great abundance of which we are a part.

Wiggle your toes upon the surface of this magnificent planet of which we are apart.

Reach out and touch the astounding, intricate textures of the grass.

Let your eyes feast upon the immensity of the sky, the shimmering beauty of the lake.

Somebody please hug a tree!

On this day, in the midst of such profound beauty let us read the gospel that is found in the book of Creation.  It is just as Sir Francis Bacon insisted, some 500 years ago, true that:

“God has, in fact, written two books, not just one. Of course, we are all familiar with the first book he wrote, namely Scripture. But he has written a second book called creation.”

Lift up your hearts and listen as the cosmos declares in infinite and magnificent the Gospel the Christ:  “I have come that they may have life and live it abundantly!”

Abundance: the dictionary defines the word abundance as an adjective meaning “existing or available in large quantities: plentiful. Copious, ample, profuse, rich, lavish, abounding, liberal, generous, bountiful, large, huge, great, bumper, prolific, teeming, plentiful, bounteous.

We stand in the midst of the abundance of Creation.

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life and live it abundantly!”

Abundant life, abounding life, generous life, bountiful life, large life, huge life, great life, bumper life, liberal life, prolific life, teeming life, plentiful life, bounteous life. Look around and you will see the Earth living abundantly. Take a deep breath and you can actually taste the abundance of life, teeming life, bounteous life, plentiful life, abounding life. The life of the Earth is indeed abundant.

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life and live it abundantly!” Sadly, over and over again, generations upon generations of the followers of Jesus have failed to embrace the Gospel, which Jesus lived as he proclaimed the Good News of abundant life, by living fully, loving extravagantly and being all that he was created to be. For too long now the followers of Jesus have failed to embrace abundance as the core, the very essence of the gospel.  We have opted for a smaller, lesser, more confining, indeed, a more restricting narrative with which to proclaim the gospel. For most of the past 2000 years, the master narrative the followers of Jesus have chosen to tell has been the story of the fall of Adam and Eve and the need from redemption through the suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. Humanity has been defined as fallen, broken, in bondage, sinful, less than, small, worthy of contempt. The followers of the One whose passion was the gift of abundant life, have opted for a story that portrays life as little more than a testing ground for some other life, some after-life, some place other than where we are now, a place to which we can escape the smallness of this life. But look around, taste and see that it is as our ancestors imagined our Creator declaring after each marvelous day in the Genesis of Creation, it is good, it is very good.

Human beings are in the words of Julian of Norwich, “not just made by God, we are made of God.”

We are in God and God is in us because we are made of God.

What’s more, this amazing Cosmos is not something separate or apart from us, we are in and of the Cosmos.

The Cosmos is in God and God is in the Cosmos.

This sacred communion of which we are a part is positively teeming with diversity.

There are no duplications, each precious part of the Cosmos is unique, each part intimately connected.

The sheer abundance of the Cosmos is beyond our comprehension and yet so very accessible if we but reach out and touch it, or open our eyes to see it, our open our arms to embrace it, or breathe deeply to draw life within it.

This gospel of abundance is so much bigger than the story we have chosen to tell.

Carefully studying the book that our Creator has written which we call the Universe, it is clear, in the words of Thomas Berry, that:

“Our challenge is to create a new language, even a new sense of what it is to be human.”

Embracing the abundant life that Jesus lived to proclaim, requires the faith to open ourselves to the splendor of the Cosmos of which we are an intricate part. The ongoing revelations provided by the Cosmos are clear for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.

As Berry so beautifully puts it, “in the unfolding dynamics  of the universe, we can see with confidence the continuing revelation that takes place in and through the earth.

From the beginning the course of the heavens, lighted the sun, and formed the earth, if this same dynamism brought forth the continents and seas and atmosphere, if it awakened life in the primordial cell and then brought into being the unnumbered variety of living beings, and finally brought us into being and guided us safely through the turbulent centuries, there is reason to believe that this same guiding process is precisely what has awakened in us our present understanding of ourselves and our relation to this stupendous process.

Sensitized to such guidance from the very structure and functioning of the universe, we can have confidence in the future that awaits the human venture.”

The gospel, the good news written large in the very stuff of the Earth, in our flesh and bones, this good news that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, fit for abundant life.

Yes, we are still evolving into all that we were created to be.

Yes, this evolution can be fearsome and will break us in ways that are painful, as we are shaped and molded by this compelling force pulling us deeper and deeper into the fullness of our being.

Yes, we are incomplete, but as we look to the Earth we see that the secrets of our evolution lie in our attraction to one another, our completeness is to be found in the ONENESS into which we are drawn by the very ONE we call God; the ONE in whom we live and move and have our being, this LOVE that we call God.

We are created for more.

The Good news of abundant life, is that the LOVE out of which we are made, lives and finds expression in us.

So let us, live this miraculous life of ours, abundantly, embracing all the adjectives that are synonymous with the word abundance:

Copious, ample, profuse, rich, lavish, abounding, liberal, generous, bountiful, large, huge, great, bumper, prolific, teeming, plentiful, bounteous.

Morning has Broken and it is Good.

The Earth is Good.

Life is Good.

Let us live as Jesus lived, let us live this God-given, this God-infused life of ours abundantly.

For in God, Life is Good, very very Good!

We are created for more.

The Good news of abundant life,

is that the LOVE out of which we are made,

lives and finds expression in us.

So let us, live this miraculous life of ours, abundantly, embracing all the adjectives that are

synonymous with the word abundance:

Copious, ample, profuse, rich, lavish, abounding, liberal, generous, bountiful, large, huge, great, bumper, prolific, teeming, plentiful, bounteous.

Morning has Broken and it is Good.

The Earth is Good.

Life is Good.

Let us live as Jesus lived,

let us live this God-given,

this God-infused life of ours abundantly.

For in God, our Lover, Beloved, and Love itself,

Life is Good, very very Good!

Amen.

 

 

 

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