“Are we living our lives as Christ would have us do?” Words taken from Richard Austen’s Sermon from Sunday.
Today we remember Augustine the first Archbishop of Canterbury, who was sent to England in 596 with a group of 40 monks, from Rome on the orders of Pope Gregory, to re-evangelize the English Church. Well much has changed since those very early steps of evangelism on English soil. It is then perhaps fitting that we should ask ourselves the question that we were asked by Richard on Sunday, “Are we living our lives as Christ would have us do?” , and indeed has the Church been preaching that same message through the ages since the time of Augustine?
We have now travelled through Easter and await the Day of Pentecost and the disciples being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, so that they could go out and evangelise, living as Christ had taught them to. Too often over the centuries the simple instruction from Jesus has been distorted and complicated by people’s desire, both rightly and wrongly, to put their own ‘imprint’ on to it, and the church has itself often been more than guilty of this.
As in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, in Luke’s Gospel 10: 25-37, Jesus makes it crystal clear what we must all do “Love your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.” One of the beauties, to my mind, of this very simple instruction, is that it includes all faiths, countless of millions of people across our world today. How often have we seen, again and again, over the past months people in our country and beyond, ‘loving their neighbours’, very often even more than they could care about, or consider themselves?
How much, at times could our World leaders and politicians, of all parties, learn from these everyday ordinary souls? We do not want ‘walls’, inflammatory laws, endless bickering and ‘point scoring’ one against another; what I believe most people want, especially now as we are in the hold of this Pandemic, is the very simple message that Christ taught to ‘love our neighbours as ourselves’, no matter race creed or social standing.
It is a very simple wish, maybe for some too simple and naive, but one that I personally am very happy to leave you with. As I have probably told you before, my Grandfather, and now I am one also, always said ,’sorry and thank you’ are sometimes the hardest words to say.’
May we all live our lives as Christ would have us do today and everyday.