July 2017 Convocation Newsletter
Bishop Pierre's Sermons
[Holy Trinity, Nice, France] Today, we are celebrating, two days in advance, the festival of All Saints – all of the people who are with the Lord, past present and future. You know that we don’t have to be Anglican in order to go to heaven, though I am told that it will help a great deal to know which fork to use at the heavenly banquet! All Saints’ Day is an odd festival because all of the other festivals of the church are festivals of things past, whereas All Saints’ Day is really a festival of the future. This is the only church festival that is about the future…Whose future? Your future, my future.
The letter of James is something that we hear only once every three years, and it is worth remembering that two of our sacramental practices are based on this Scripture: the anointing of the sick, which when I was a boy was called Extreme Unction and was supposed to be reserved only for the dying (but is now much more the sick), and the other is the sacrament of reconciliation also known Penance. If you will take your Italian books and open to page 253 in the BCP, you will see this title, Ministration to the Sick, or if your prefer, 'minister per i malati.' This is based on this letter of James that we read today.
I like to speak briefly about the Kingdom of god or and the Kingdom of Heaven, as it is referred to in the Gospels. What is this Kingdom? Where is it? Who belongs to it? Well, first of all, we modern people do not have kings, unless you are British, of course, and even there, we do not think of monarchs as being in charge of our lives. The Kingdom of God. How do we translate that? Well, modern people say the ‘Rule of God’, ‘the reign of God’, where god is, where God’s will is done. Jesus tries to get this across in many different ways. The Kingdom of God is like a man who sows a seed on the ground, that sprouts, and then he takes a sickle to it. Or like a mustard seed, a tiny little thing, and when you sow it into the earth, it grows into a great big bush.