Saturday, 19 April 2014

SERMON FOR EASTER - ENDS AND BEGINNINGS

HOMILY FOR EASTER 2014
Bishop Pat Buckley


THEME:     OLD ENDINGS – NEW BEGINNINGS

For many years in the early part of my life I suffered from severe panic attacks. Those of you who have ever suffered a panic attack will know how terrible the experience is. An irrational fear completely overwhelms your whole being – body and mind. Your heart races. You sweat profusely. You lose control over your thoughts and rationality and you want to run – but there is no place to run. As the French writer and tortured spiritual soul – Simone Weil described it, you feel like a butterfly pinned alive into a collector’s album.

I came to a point in my life where I could tolerate my panic attacks any longer and decided to do something about them – other than take Valium as prescribed.

I went on a 2 week course with Dr Frank Lake – the English psychiatrist and pioneer of the Primal Therapy school of thought.

During the 2 week course we went on a journey into our Inner Space – our subconscious mind. Mankind has begun to explore and even conquer Outer Space but most men and women never explore their own Inner Space – which in many ways is as vast as the Universe and Outer Space. And during my journey into my own Inner Space I found the origins and cause of my panic attacks.

I revisited my birth experience and I discovered that I did not want to be born – and as my mother’s body quite naturally went into birth mode to expel me from her womb I had my first – my primal panic attack. All my later panic attacks were just the replay of my first panic attack.

When it comes to the birth of a human baby all our thoughts are – understandably - on the joy of the new birth. If we think of birth pains we think of the mother’s birth pains.

But we never think of how the baby might feel. The baby has been warm, safe and secure in the mother’s womb – receiving all its oxygen and nourishment from the mother’s blood. Then suddenly – within the womb – there is an earthquake. The baby’s world starts to shake uncontrollably and it begins to be expelled – violently – from the only world it knows. The baby does not know it’s about to be “born”. The baby thinks and senses that its world is coming to an end. As far as the baby is concerned it is about to be annihilated. And the baby panics almost like the lamb waiting in a line in the abbatoir about to be slaughtered.

It is no coincidence that the first thing a baby does after it draws its first breath is to cry. No new born baby bursts out laughing or offers the mid wife a HIGH FIVE J

But of course looking back our birth was a great joy and the beginning of all our life’s adventure.

The phenomenon of birth is a parable for all of life and the lesson is that ALL NEW BEGINNINGS are preceded by OLD ENDINGS.

We see this in the great Christian Feast of Easter we are celebrating this weekend. Jesus’ Glorious Resurrection was preceded by his death – His ignominious ending. There would have been no Resurrection without the Crucifixion. What is the old catch cry: “NO CROSS -----NO CROWN”.

As Christians – and indeed as human beings – we must embrace this great “Fact of Life”.

We must come to understand and own the fact that all going forward means taking leave of the place we have been.

In order to move to life’s great “Hellos” we must embrace life’s “Goodbyes”.

The foetus must depart for the baby to come to be.
The baby must depart for the child to arrive.
The child must go for the youth to come forward.
The youth must wane in order for the adult to evolve.
The bachelor / spinster must depart for the husband and wife to arrive.
The virgin must give way to the parent.
The apprentice leaves to make way for the master.
The novice evaporates into the sage.
In nature the Sun dies for the Moon to rise.

We should never fall into the trap of thinking that the Resurrection is confined to one day of the year – Easter Sunday.

Every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every year the resurrection is taking place in every atom in each of us and in the Universe.

So we Chistians do not need to be afraid of CHANGE or PROGRESS, or MOVEMENT. All change and progress and movement is the Resurrection of Jesus percolating through our lives and all of existence.

The great writer C S Lewis said:

“IT MAY BE HARD FOR AN EGG TO TURN INTO A BIRD
IT WOULD BE HARDER STILL FOR IT TO LEARN TO FLY WHILE REMAINING AN EGG.
WE ARE LIKE EGGS AT PRESENT.
YOU CANNOT GO ON INDEFINITELY BEING JUST AN ORDINARY DECENT EGG.
YOU MUST HATCH – OR GO BAD”
We hatch in God's Hand

On the Feast of the Resurrection let us put our faith in Jesus and let us allow God – our Mother Hen – to help us to hatch – so that we can learn to fly and to eventually become BIRDS OF PARADISE.

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