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St Matthews Church Oxhey Hertfordshire

Fr David's Sermon

25th November 2007

Fr David Shepherd

Christ the King

Imagine two ships. One is a luxury cruise liner – the QM2. You are a first class passenger so there is nothing to do save eat, drink, relax and sleep. This would be true of all the passengers, only the standard of comfort would differ. For the passengers to do nothing actually takes a lot of work. This is what they are paying for so in fact they are doing something – paying for it! Liners have a big crew to sail & maintain the ship and to look after the passengers’ every need – catering, domestic, entertainment &c.

The other ship is an old fashioned sailing ship, say a man of war or an Indiaman. This time there are no passengers. Everyone is needed to sail the ship, especially in heavy weather. Everyone has at least one task or job to do. If they fail to do it properly the ship would slow down or be placed in danger.

At the moment most of us are in the nave, a word which is akin to ‘navy’. It even looks like an upturned ship with the roof timbers like the hull. The Church has often been likened to a ship. It is why you sometimes see model sailing ships hanging in old churches.

If the church is a ship then in can’t be like a liner with lots of passengers doing nothing. It has to be like a sailing ship with no passengers. That means that each one of us belongs to the crew, each one of us has a task to do.

Today we are being invited to think about stewardship, to take time to think & pray about what God gives to us in Christ through St. Matthew’s Church? This does include money. (Remember even the passengers on a liner have to pay for their passage) Our church has its running costs & the ministry has to be paid for.

So we hope you will take time to consider what proportion of your income you can commit regularly to the work of St. Matthew’s and if you are a tax-payer we hope you will complete a gift aid form. At this point I’d like to thank you for your generous support over the last year.

So money is important. That said, this year the PCC would like us to focus on time & talents. To this end Marilyn has drawn up a useful sheet for us to fill in. (Available here on the website.) Hopefully you will be able to tick something you are already doing. You may also be reminded of some talent that you could offer to St. Matthew’s if you have the time.

The one thing we can all do is to pray for the work of the Church, for prayer is the wind in the sails of the Church, to return to the nautical analogy. To pray is to have a positive attitude, to be outward looking, to look to God. Hopefully most of us will be able to do more, not necessarily every week but perhaps on an occasional basis.

It is all about sharing the burden. At the moment we rely on a few who inevitably seem to do more. (Again out thanks go out to them.) It is also about expressing what it means to be the Church, the Body of Christ, something we are. One of the great rediscoveries of the liturgical movement of the last century is that the Eucharist is something we do – it is the work of the people of God. It is the means by which we worship God; it is how we receive him in our lives and how we are equipped to serve him in our daily lives. The seeds of the renewal of the church lie in making this a reality.

We can remind ourselves of the parable of the talents. Each was given a different amount of money. Some made more, some less but only the one who buried his talent in the ground and made nothing was condemned.

Today on the last Sunday of the Church’s year, stir up Sunday, we pray that we may be stirred up to respond to God’s call to use all that he gives us in his service.


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Comments about this site or problems? Contact Webmaster (Colin Richards) at Last updated 28/11/2007 22:30 Author: David Shepherd