This is a brief, 3 1/2 minute, homily delivered at Morning Prayer, on the Sunday All Saints became a separate, self governing self sustaining Chaplaincy inside the Diocese of Europe.
‘Walk in his ways‘, June 2nd 2019, The Sunday after Ascension, Morning Prayer. Deuteronomy 34
Deuteronomy is set at a transition time for the Jewish people. No longer in the desert, now in Moab, about to enter the promised land, the next chapter volume in their history. We as All Saints move into a new chapter this day.
Moses has been preparing them to enter the land, by preaching, teaching reminding them. In Deut 10 he tells them how they are to live in the new world:
‘Fear the Lord your God, walk in all his ways, love him, serve him with all your heart and soul, and observe the Lord’s commands.’
Walk in all his ways. The rabbis wanted to know how to follow. They focused on ‘Be Holy as I am Holy’ in Leviticus.
What does it mean to be holy? They decided it was more than just obeying God’s commands. It was look at what God does, walk in his ways – follow his character, to copy what he does. What can walking in his ways look like as we begin as a new chaplaincy? How can we walk in his ways as we begin this new chapter of All Saints? What does that ‘walking’ look like?
In this very moving last chapter of the Torah. God gives sight – Moses supernaturally is able to see the whole land, to see what God is giving. What a gift to him! Jesus announced, showed and lived the kingdom, and the tells his followers, ‘you go and do the same’, introduce people to the gift of the reign and rule of God in Jesus.
People need vision, to see what this rule and reign of God looks like – we are the ones to share it. We give sight.
God is there in grief and pain and death. A beautiful phrase, ‘God buried Moses’, (v6). God had spoken, through the years face to face with Moses. He was there in Moses last hours, he watched his last breath and he buried him, like in Africa, family bury loved ones. To walk in his ways, is to be there in the pain with people, to sit with them in suffering and death. In England, in deprived areas, the church is there. When the structures, organisations condemn, give up, the church will not.
We are to be there, present, in pain, in addiction, in people’s darkness, in personal suffering, in death, because God was.
God calls. He called Moses when he was not sure. Joshua was one who needed much encouragement – just read the start of Joshua and how many times, ”be strong and courageous”, he is told. You may not be the one who calls, but you can be someone who can encourage the gifts and skills in a person.
You can invite someone to be involved in what you are doing in our church . You can give a word, an encouragement, which can be a stepping stone to the next part of God’s service, to that person hearing how God is calling..
God gives sight. God is there in grief, pain and death. God calls.
In our new chapter as All Saints, we are to walk in his ways. Amen.