A sermon preached
Reading: Psalm 130; Matthew 20:17-23
“I wait for the
My soul looks for the Lord, more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning,”
[Psalm 130:5-6 – the Psalm appointed for today,
and also set as a part of Rutter’s Requiem]
Not a sermon, but four brief cameos:
The weary sentinel has been on duty half the night –
the surrounding countryside is hostile, the night is pitch black,
He scans the terrain -
his rifle cold in the night air, held anxiously,
peering for any movement or shift
in the dangerous grey blacks in the dark night beyond his lookout post,
Waiting, waiting, longing
for the relative safety of the first streaks of dawn
2. 2800 years ago, Jerusalem pilgrims
have climbed up from the depths of the valley below
to Zion, the hilltop on which is built Jerusalem –
Now it is night and they rest,
huddled against the walls of the outer court of the Temple.
Perhaps they look back down into the dark valley they climbed from -
muttering a Psalm of Ascent
“Out of the depths have I cried unto thee….”
Patiently they await the
first sacrifice of the morning,
the sacrifice which will undue the sins of the valley
and put them right with their God
“O Lord, I wait for the morning sacrifice,
more than the watchman waits for the morning”
3. The evening of 31st July 1830, Jamaica.
The night has come, but no one seems to be sleeping.
There are thousands out on the streets.
For slavery is to be abolished tomorrow,
and thousands cannot, will not sleep,
but laugh and sing and watch, watch for the morning,
the first morning of freedom.
4. A Funeral Mass.
The mourners gather and pray, thinking of the dear departed.
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine:
Grant them eternal rest, O Lord,
and each mourner reflects on
the ending of this life
and the beginning of new life in heaven.
And in the midst of sorrow
and loss they look and trust the Lord,
trusting that indeed the darkness of death shall be no more
and new life shall dawn….
And what is your story?
Are you fearful of a dark or threatening world?
Are you striving to be at one with God and drag yourself out of the depth of sin?
Do you yearn from freedom from bondage?
For life in the face of death and destruction?
Well, walk to Golgotha this passion-tide –
Wait with Mary at the foot of the cross –
Wait, more than the watchman waits for the morning –
Do so and you will not be
for there shall you find
· Your fears dispelled,
· Your hopes rekindled,
· Your chains loosed.
· Your life renewed.
And from the darkest night
in the riches of his infinite love,
bring all the riches of a new dawn!