Sermon on John 14 by Revd Bill Boyd

Gospel Reading: John 14
Dear Christian Community,

Words, phrases, sentences either stay with us or are soon forgotten, no matter what their nature. Some we retain, others we let go. Words spoken in anger or contempt may strike root and we discover that the speaker feels shame when reminded of them. Such words are like weeds which need to be uprooted from our heart and thrown on the soul’s compost heap. But we can
also find that some of the seemingly less important words are worth keeping and cultivating.

“Let not your hearts be troubled” might be treated like the “Dear So-and-so” of a letter before we launch into the main message. When Christ Jesus spoke those words, did He intend them as a kind of rhetorical flourish before the substantive “in my Father’s house are many rooms…”.?

Let us take these introductory words, “Let not your heart be troubled” as a kind of seed and, having pulled up what we can recognise as those surrounding weeds of ours, plant it in our own secret garden with good earth from our compost heap.

Everyone can have such a garden; you may have many acres of land and see yourself as too busy to make time for one, or live on the eighth floor of a high-rise and create one which becomes (as Frances Hodgson Burnett discovered) a place of healing, a source of strength.

Our seed will call for care and attention. It will need regular watering and the ever-encroaching weeds will have to be kept at bay. When it grows to maturity it will have become a scented plant like the cottage garden’s southernwood (apple-ringie in Scotland) whose leaves once marked the revered pages of Church of Scotland bibles. We shall find that, rather than a formality, it has become the key to seeing and understanding.

We shall find that, rather than a formality, it has become the key to seeing and understanding the vital passage that follows.
Yea, so be it

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