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St Matthews Church Oxhey Hertfordshire

Fr David's Sermon


8th February 2004

Fr David Shepherd

Third Sunday Before Lent

Modern secular calendars and diaries begin the week with Monday. In our household that causes some confusion because my Church diary always begins with Sunday. We often find ourselves talking about different days or weeks. It seems we are not alone in this. There was an article by Matthew Parris in The Spectator on just this question. If you are writing an article for Sunday publication do you refer to 'this week' or 'next week'?

Behind all this is the slow erosion of our Christian culture by the secularists. I am sure that you don't need me to remind you that Sunday is the first day of the week because the first Christians met in worship to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus on the first day of the week, this despite their Jewish background with the keeping of the Sabbath on the last day of the week.
Before the development of a complex Christian Calendar every Sunday was the day of resurrection, a celebration in the presence of the Risen Lord. That remains fundamentally true in our worshipping life.
Today's epistle from 1 Corinthians 15 reminds us how important our Resurrection faith is. Most scholars date this letter to c.54AD. Paul was writing only two decades after the Resurrection of Jesus, putting into writing what was already commonplace in the churches. He reminded them of the Gospel he had already proclaimed to them. In their receiving of it they were being saved through it. Some though were denying the core message, hence the need to repeat it. So let's look at Paul's letter more closely.

It is good to be reminded of the basis of our faith in the Risen Christ in whose presence we gather here, Sunday by Sunday, on the first day of the week to worship God in and through him. By making worship our priority we are acknowledging that all that we do in the week is dependant on him. Far from reflecting a rather silly and pedantic argument, where we place Sunday in the week, reveals both where our priorities lie and the nature of our deepest beliefs.

'All things come from you O Lord and of your own do we give you'.

Amen

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Last updated 08/02/04 09:00:00 Author: Fr David Shepherd