Fifth Sunday of Easter, 18 May 2014, St Matthias, Patronal Service, morning

Patronal Feast of Saint Matthias the Apostle

Readings: Acts 1: 15-end; 1 Corinthians 4: 1-7; John 15: 9-17

Preacher:  Revd David Gardiner

To watch this sermon on YouTube, please click here.

 

May the words of my lips, and the mediations of all our hearts, be forever pleasing in your sight, O Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen.

The one thing everyone knows about Saint Matthias is that no-one knows very much about Saint Matthias.

But there is much we can work out about him from the narrative of his election: he was not someone we have heard about in the gospels, but he was with the other disciples from the very beginning, when John was baptising his followers, right up to the end of Jesus’ time on earth.

That he was there throughout tells us that he had a sense of dedication. He followed Jesus through times that were good and Jesus had many followers crowding around him. He also followed Jesus through times that were hard, when Jesus’ followers drifted, or even ran, away from him.

That we have not heard much about him tells us that Matthias may have been there, but he was not a very active character. He didn’t say impressive things like Peter (although he also didn’t say foolish things like Peter!). He wasn’t called from remarkable or controversial backgrounds like John and James the humble fishermen or Matthew the tax collector. Matthias was just always there, in the background, following and listening

That he was eventually nominated to the ministry of the apostles shows that he was nonetheless known and a part of the community of disciples.

That he allowed himself to be nominated to this public ministry after choosing to live in the background shows that Matthias was willing to do something for God that was beyond his own comfort.

That he was chosen by God shows that God chooses based not on the skills we see in ourselves or that others see in us; not on our successes or achievements; not on our strength and charisma; God chooses his apostles based on his own knowledge of those he has made, and the love he has for each one of us.

We are all called to minister as God calls us. The calling is different for each of us, according to the gifts God offers us. And, like Matthias, the ministry God calls us to can change from time to time.

Despite these differences and changes in the ministries we are called to, there are some things that are held in common for all of us. Our other two readings today tell us of what it means to be called to God’s ministry. We are called to be servants and stewards of God, trustworthy friends to God and one another.

It is summed up very simply by Jesus in our Gospel reading: we are called live in love, just as he did. Not love just for our friends, but for all God’s people, whether they know him or not. And, crucially, to love ourselves too, just as he loves us. Amen.

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