Sermon preached on 12 October 2014

20141012 kelvin holdsworth – gnashing of from Kelvin Holdsworth on Vimeo.

‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Here in St Mary’s we end our Gospel reading with the response – Give thanks to the Lord for his Glorious Gospel, Praise to Christ our Lord.

In many churches, they end readings with the response “This is the Word of the Lord – Thanks be to God”.

I think that is one of those readings from scripture that would tempt me greatly, if that was the response that we were used to, to say, “Is this the word of the Lord?”

There’s no denying at all that it is a tricky gospel reading for many people who will be sitting here this morning.

Maybe you don’t think so and find it an obvious way of reinforcing what you believe – that anyone who doesn’t conform with what God wants will be thrown out of the feast unto the outer darkness.

Well, if that’s you, then good luck living your life with it. I know it isn’t for me.

Conformity to anything is a challenge to me and I find myself immediately troubled by the poor victim of Jesus’s tale who gets thrown out of all that is good and nourishing simply for breaking a dress code. What’s that all about?

Well, perhaps the best I can do this morning is to tell a few more stories. Let us see whether we can start to unravel this parable by telling some more parables.

Here’s one about dress codes to soften you up and we’ll come back to the gospel story in a minute.

Once upon a time (about four weeks ago) in a land far away (the West End of Glasgow) there was a Provost. And the Provost would strut around his cathedral the Lord of all he surveyed. He was young (or at least he still thought he was still young) and witty (or so they told him at the end of the service in about half an hour’s time) and he was handsome and fair…..and thanks be to God, he was modest and humble too. [Read more…]