The Transfiguration

Sermon preached at the Eucharist, Christ the Servant, Stockwood, Bristol, 1 April 1972

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing. […] Meanwhile, where is God? When you are happy, so happy that you have no sense of needing him, if you remember yourself and turn to him in gratitude and praise, you will be welcomed with open arms. But go to him when your need is desperate, when all other help is in vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double-bolting inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away…

That’s from the beginning of a book on grief written by C. S. Lewis after his wife died. It’s terribly final, isn’t it? Life comes suddenly to a full stop and people are no more. I find this coming home very forceable if I have to take a series of funerals in a week. A procession of people in sorrow; each one different and intimate, a family drawing closer together, pale and tear-locked faces; each one facing that peculiar barrier of death.Read More »

Go on – spoil yourself

Sermon preached at Evensong, Christ the Servant, Stockwood, Bristol, 7 March 1976

Are you superstitious? I think everybody at some time crosses their fingers, touches wood, and many will not dare to walk under ladders – and not just from fear of a fancy-free paint pot landing on your head. Others hate seeing crossed knives and can’t bear putting shoes on the table.

You feel very uncomfortable if you break these taboos and superstitions. So vague fear, or threat of having transgressed some tribal or ancient gods, or the bears, if you tread on the lines and not the squares.

There are other things which make you feel uncomfortable. That’s when you do something you know you ought not to do. If the bus conductor forgets to collect your fare and you get off without paying.

You may get away with your 20p still in your pocket, you may get away with doing many wrong things, but you don’t always feel very comfortable. That’s the guilty conscience, for there’s more guilt in not being found out than in being caught in the act.Read More »