Final homily by Sherman Hesselgrave, Trinity Sunday, June 7, 2020
Readings: Deuteronomy 34:1-4 Psalm 8 2 Corinthians 13:11-13 Matthew 28:16-20
At the other end of my ministry, when I was a curate at a parish in Portland, Oregon, I preached a sermon entitled, “Famous Last Words.” I don’t remember what the scriptural text was that day, but it might well have been Jesus telling his flock that he was leaving, but not to worry, because the Holy Spirit would be sent to accompany them on their journey ahead and lead them into all truth. What I do remember is a parishioner telling me afterwards that she would always remember her 18-year-old son’s last words to her as he headed out for a Friday evening with his friends: “See you later, Mom!” That night, he was killed in a motorcycle accident.
A huge thank you to Susie and Jennifer for hosting the service this week from their home and to Moon for providing the music from New Brunswick. We were up to 39 households this week from 27 last week. It was so good to see everyone.
A recording of the service (minus all the visiting before and after) has now been uploaded to Youtube in our channel (links at right) or you can click to view it at the bottom of this page. Jennifer’s excellent homily (preceded by the readings for context) is also available separately in our Youtube channel or immediately below this text.
Thank you to everyone who joined us and a special thankjs to everyone who was able to contribute to making it happen: Suzanne Rumsey, Bill Whitla and Jean Robinson for reading; Ian Sowton for his homily; Jo Connolly, Joanna Manning and John Gardham for being part of the Nave team with me at HT; Susie Henderson for putting so much time into getting Ian and many others connected this morning, this could have been a train-wreck without Susie’s support.
I feel an immense amount of gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity to hang some of these artworks in a space like this, in a place like this. If the artworks speak at all, if they have a meaning or convey a sense of place and time, places and times shared and learned, then it is befitting that they get to sit among all of these wonderful sisters and brothers and sons and daughters, in a place where acts of radical hospitality and Love are performed, daily and incessantly. What an interesting place we find ourselves in, our friends sleeping outside, citizens bustling in and out of the Eaton Centre, all of us in here communing with each other. What an ebb and flow of paradox and of resilience.
morning we have hearty Hebrew scripture text and I am going to invite us to dig
into it. I suggest that you have it in
your hands. This is a text from which I
suggest we can make a dynamic analogy. We can recognize some elements in the context
of that biblical time that resemble our own.
And therefore, we can harvest some insights forward to our own day.
What is the context?
is part of the book of Isaiah referred to as Third Isaiah—potentially the third
writer voice. The period is “post-exilic,”
meaning the time that the Israelite people were returning after their exile in
Babylon (following the Fall of Jerusalem).
What we have come to understand is that it wasn’t all the people that
were exiled. The exiled ones were
essentially the religious and political elites—scribes, managers, political
leaders, religious leaders. The peasants–they
actually remained in the land, scraping out a living.
on the right, you are the religious and political elites. You on the left, you are the peasants who stayed
and tried to survive.
elites then return. They have big dreams
of what Isaiah often refers to as the “new thing,” but they also come back with
anxieties. Was exile a punishment for their
sins? In their return, the elites are intending to establish their claims to
land, and social, political and religious status.