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SERMON PREACHED IN THE PARISH CHURCH ON ...

By Yolanda Daniels,2014-02-19 21:17
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SERMON PREACHED IN THE PARISH CHURCH ON ...

SERMON PREACHED IN THE PARISH CHURCH ON LINDISFARNE FOR THE DIOCESAN

    PILGRIMAGE ST CUTHBERT’S DAY 2010

Grant us your help against the enemy,

     for earthly help is in vain.

    12 Through God will we do great acts,

     for it is he that shall tread down our enemies. psalm 60

    Those are the words the monks are chanting in the darkness of that early March morning. Suddenly the office is interrupted. One of the brothers enters the church and he does not need to say anything the other monks know that Cuthbert their beloved bishop and friend has gone to the bliss of Paradise.

Out in the darkness of the distant Farnes the monks have been chanting the same words “Grant us

    your help against the enemy, for earthly help is in vain Through God will we do great acts, for it is he that shall tread down our enemies. The brother who has been watching

    with the dying saint comes out to tell the brothers that the saint is dead

Grant us your help against the enemy,

     for earthly help is in vain.

    12 Through God will we do great acts,

     for it is he that shall tread down our enemies

    200 years pass from that dark March morning and for a new company of monks that psalm will echo in their minds and hearts again as invaders threaten and the decision is taken to set out for a safe place with the body of the saint. They set out carrying this precious cargo and along with the body of the saint a precious copy of the Gospels written and produced in honour of Cuthbert. And what a moving and poignant picture that is

    The story tells that they went hither and thither desperately trying to find a safe place. Story is they set sail for Ireland and in a great storm the precious gospel were swept overboard. The brothers are distraught at the loss of such a precious cargo. In the midst of a great storm there is nothing that they can do. Some many hours later they find themselves washed up back on the shore of England. They search hour after hour in vain hope that the precious gospel book might be found and then, the story goes, one of their number is granted a vision of Cuthbert who tells him where the Gospel Book is to be found. And lo and behold by some great miracle it is resting high above the water level. A little damp but by some great miracle totally unharmed.

    And preachers who down the years have told that story on days like today suggest that we might see in that story a small picture of the life of our Church and the story of the Gospel. Not infrequently we feel tossed about at times it may even feel that all is lost but somehow by the sheer miracle of

    God’s grace that wonderful story of Our Lord Jesus Christ is preserved.

Grant us your help against the enemy,

     for earthly help is in vain.

    12 Through God will we do great acts,

     for it is he that shall tread down our enemies.

    The brothers set out from this place with their precious cargo and by God’s grace eventually arrive in Durham. Today as we leave surely the precious cargo that we carry

    with us is that same story of Jesus which the monks thought they had lost in the storm. The story of Jesus which we believe has the power to change the lives of individuals and whole communities. That is the precious cargo that we take back to Hartlepool, to Bishop Auckland, to Crook , to wherever it is that we are

    As Bede writes the story of the life of Cuthbert he seems to want to say to us that in the days of Cuthbert it was as if Jesus were alive. The sick are healed. Those whom everyone neglects are visited. The poor have the Good news preached to them. How amazing that would be if it could be said of us in our communities in years to come as it was so clearly said of Cuthbert that it was as if Jesus was alive again.

Grant us your help against the enemy,

     for earthly help is in vain.

    12 Through God will we do great acts,

     for it is he that shall tread down our enemies. psalm 60

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