Message of Life is Disruptive to Life as we know it! Bishop Peter
"While he was saying this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!” Luke 11:27
The Word of God - the Gospel - is a Message of Life but it is disruptive to life as we know it. It is not a top-up to life (such as advertising offers - most advertising is of the form, "Your life will be better if you buy this product"), but a disruptor. Your best life involves not a top-up but a change - upside down and inside out. So today’s gospel is about the disruption of the gospel to our lives.
Teresa and I have just visited the Diocese of Western Tanganyika in Tanzania. There were a lot of babies there, many being breast fed in church - the natural flow of life which undergirds the woman’s cry in our passage. Jesus challenges the natural flow of life. "No, he says, Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God..."
We could also talk about the gospel as a disruption to culture - to the way things are done around here... A Tanzanian story of cultures, theirs and ours, and the resulting (gentle) disruption to Teresa and me.
The Word of God is way more disruptive than that … to obey the word, to respond to the gospel, is often to go against culture and to embrace a new culture, the culture of the gospel of Jesus.
LYCiG is partly a word of God inspired disruptor of our local church culture. How could the way things are done around here change to help the gospel be heard and experienced, rather than shut off and obscured?
But, mainly, LYCiG is about bringing people to Jesus, about people meeting Jesus, about opening up the possibility of the Word of God, with all its disruptive but life-giving power being heard.
Critical is our own testimony to the word of life. This is vital to our plans for increased presence, clearer proclamation and engaging persuasion.
Our testimony is that Jesus has disrupted our lives and we have the best life ever as a result. Our lives are better with Jesus than without Jesus. Blessed are we who have heard the word of God and obeyed it!
What has God said to us, what obedience will we offer by way of our act of commitment, as we express our priorities?
Back to breastfeeding: nurture is obviously important for life. We 'Word of God obeyers' need nourishing … so we conclude this afternoon with communion … renewing the life of Jesus within us so that we can freshly say, "My life with Jesus is better than my life without Jesus."