Rev'd Philip Heak
I’m quite sure that today, all of us are very perturbed, worried and anxious about the escalating prevalence of Covid-19 in the whole Island of Ireland. As we have been told, every indicator is on the rise and it’s difficult to see much light in the road ahead. Covid-19 is not something that is going to disappear, but will be with us for quite a while.
Against this bleak picture we heard our Bible readings today. Phillipians and Matthew. In Phillipians St. Paul appeal to us to “Rejoice” St. Matthew recounts Jesus’ parable of the wedding banquet. I know that weddings are in short supply these days, but Wedding are occasions full of Joy and happiness. Jesus says the Kingdom of Heaven is like that.
Significantly, St. Paul’s letter to the Phillipians is known as the “Epistle of Joy”. Repeatedly St. Paul appeals to his listeners to be Joyful in the Lord – to rejoice.
But yet, when Paul wrote his epistle to the Phillipians, his own situation was far from joyful. He was in prison, possibly in Rome. Traditions holds that two years later he would be beheaded and martyred in 65AD.
St. Paul was in a bleak situation and yet, his words to the church at Phillipi are enfused with Joy. Joy in the Lord.
There is of course a message in that to all of us. We are living in difficult and bleak times, but we can be joyful in our faith.
To help us explore that I’m going to show something I did earlier. It’s a school assembly I did this week and it’s entitled, “Carry on laughing.”