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Friday, March 02, 2007

Seasons of the Soul: A fool for Christ

outside St Paul's Cathedral, cnr Flinders & Swanston Streets, Melbourne.
Thoughts for Ash Wednesday Service '07
Preached by Rev Susanne Chambers at the Church of St Thomas, Upper Ferntree Gully
Wednesday 21 February 2007

Today at St Paul’s Cathedral there was a special Ash Wednesday service which included a giant cross carved from wood burnt in the recent bushfires. The cross is alpine ash from the back of Timber Top. As you know, Mansfield, Jamieson and Merrijig and surrounding areas, were on full fire alert day after day throughout December and January, leading to a high level of anxiety and fear--------- combined with community spirit and outreach.

The vicar of Mansfield, Chris Huxtable, said the visual symbol of the cross recognises the suffering of the Victorian countryside, in partnership with the prayers of the city. Quote: “I can see the direct parallels with the Easter story. The high country has been crucified by the fires. There has been devastation for the people and the environment. The cross made from suffering wood stands in the middle of this and it speaks to me of Jesus being in the midst of our community”.

When we speak of Ash Wednesday, most members of our community think of the Ash Wednesday fires. In conversation, we then add the church’s reason for Ash Wednesday.
They usually look bewildered/politely nodding/but think we are a bit potty!

Ash Wednesday the beginning of our Lenten time together, as we grow through/ go through lent to Easter Day!

Maybe they are right in thinking we are a bit mad…look at the man we follow! At an early age around 30ish, he headed straight to his death..to Jerusalem….to Golgotha…some would say ‘what a fool!’ and he did it for all people? People he didn’t even know? Why? To give them a chance for new life. To show them a different way to live their lives.
Palm Sunday this year is on April Fool’s day….
seems to me to be an interesting theme to take up!!
Is Christ a fool?
Are we fool’s for Christ’s sake?

Tonight when we pray the litany of penitence, let the words creep past any barriers you may have built up. Open yourself up to new possibilities!! To new life not only for yourself, but for future generations…your grandchildren and mine…for the environment….for relationships of different cultures… let’s be open to not just pray for rain, but first say sorry for the mess we have added in our small corner to the changing weather conditions. Let’s be honest to God and to ourselves.
Ah …but is this just foolish talk??
Maybe….but I am a fool for Christ…are you?

1 comment:

  1. On their 1986 album, Back to the Street, Christian band Petra had a song called "Fool's Gold." One of the lines in this song said, "I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man than a fool in the eyes of God." This often comes to mind when Christians or Christianity is mocked and ridiculed. Christ is no fool, and I'm glad to stand up and be counted for him.