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St Matthews Church Oxhey Hertfordshire

Fr David's Sermon


4th November 2007

Fr David Shepherd

All Saints’ Sunday 2007

The great thing these days is connectivity. By this I mean connectivity to the web. It’s surprising how much you can miss being connected to the internet once you get used to it. At half-term laptop can travel but broad band connection cannot – something of a mixed blessing. Soon no doubt we will be able to connect any time anywhere by wireless. The world as we knew it is rapidly changing.

In many ways though we are less connected than ever, electronic communication is often at the expense of real relationships and true friendships. In the end human beings cannot always be connected. We can’t after all contact the dead.

As Christians we are part of an altogether different connectivity – the communion of the saints. To use the words of the collect we are knit together. I must confess knitting has always been a mystery to me. As a little boy I was fascinated by my granny’s knitting. She did succeed in showing me how to knit a few stitches but to be honest I was always more interested in pulling things apart – pulling out the needles. That said we can relate to the image of being knit together by Christ in a complex and beautiful pattern, many different threads and yet all one.

As Christians we are always connected, connected by our relationship to Jesus Christ. As Christians we are in touch in Christ. When we receive the sacraments we are in touch. When we receive the host into our hands it is Christ who touches us. When we pray we get through to God or rather he gets through to us. When we meet together are interconnectivity is reaffirmed. When we read the scriptures and join in common worship we do so in the Communion of the Saints.

It has to be said that this sense of communion has had to be rediscovered. At the reformation some of the lines were cut. In emphasising the individual’s relationship to God the sense of the communal was lost. Saints were treated with suspicion. No longer could you be in touch through relics for example. Most of all the sense of being in touch with the dead was lost. The dead were no more to be prayed for.

It took the impact of the mass slaughter of the First World War to revive the sense of the Communion of Saints. People had a need to be in touch with the departed. Unable to get through in Church they turned to the bizarre, spiritualism and the like.

More recently the great feast of All Saint’s has come to the fore again. At All Saints’ tide we remind ourselves of all Christians in time & space & of how we are one in fellowship with them. At All Souls’ we are encouraged to be in touch with the departed in Christ, not directly but through our membership of the communion of saints.

We are now encouraged to keep the season of the kingdom when we celebrate our true connectivity in Christ, truly universal, not subject to crashes or power failures or viruses or the limitations of time or space.

Amen

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Comments about this site or problems? Contact Webmaster (Colin Richards) at webmaster@stmatthewsoxhey.org.uk Last updated 10/11/2007 19:30 Author: David Shepherd