Last week I started my sermon with the drama sequence in journalist Eamonn Mallie’s wonderful article Grace. It had Arlene Foster pulling an ailing Martin McGuinness to her bosom and telling him it would be alright, that they would sort it out and she would step side to give them the time and space.
This week I started with another dream sequence. I imagined, that after Martin McGuinness stepped back from politics, Ian Paisley Jr would come on The View and not only wish McGuinness well in his health and retirement but go on to thank him for his contribution to our journey towards peace before saying that relationships might help in our reconciliation!
Of course the second one was not a dream sequence but a reality! What a moment! Before we start getting cynical and investigating Paisley’s motives, let us sit in the positive contribution it has made to our current divisive political conversation. I will bask in its grace , its humanity and its hope even if it gets snuffed out far too quickly. Grace, humanity and hope are all words that Eamonn Mallie was seeking in his aforementioned article. Thank you Ian for giving an alternative voice.
My sermon was based in Matthew 4 and Isaiah 9. Those passages were declaring that a light was shining on those in darkness. I was also recognising it had been Martin Luther King Day and added a footnote to the sermon on the dreams of MLK. The sermon closed with U2’s meditative song MLK sung by Laura Campbell, Claire Nicholl and Ali McKeown.
Before they sang, I asked the congregation to take a moment and ask that God would show us all what dream sequence we could walk into this week. What could we do to change the conversation, to change the direction of our lives and our country’s life as Jesus asked of us in Matthew 4, “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.”
As in the same passage Jesus asks us to “follow me,” what dreams could we follow him into. What imaginative, creative, Kingdom like act can God lead us into this week…
And may your dreams be realised…
… So let it be