A Sermon Preached by Canon Simon Butler
Parish Carol Service
17th December 2017
Right now, the world is full of noises.
People shout at each other across social media. Because we fail to communicate and fail to listen, the temperature rises. The world gets noisier.
Politicians descend into personal animosity over Brexit. They offer us, not truth, but ‘alternative facts’. The temperature rises. The world gets noisier.
Terrorists scream ‘God is great’ as they blow themselves up at a children’s pop concert. Mourners cry ‘God is great’ as they bury another victim of collateral damage. Our fellow citizens cry ‘God is great’ as they stand alongside as victims of the same terror as we face. The world gets noisier.
Across the globe, accusations fly. One leader calls another Rocket Man. The other responds, louder, with dotard. One offers fire and fury. The other responds with more missile test. The world gets noisier…and more dangerous.
We are bombarded with words: angry words, accusing words, suspicious words, words demanding immediate action, immediate response, words from voices crying out to be noticed, for good or for ill.
And we wonder why. Why doesn’t it stop? Why doesn’t the world get better? Why can’t someone do something to change it? And our questions hang in the air…and we fear they will just be more words to add to the never-ending tally of words: written words, shouted words, screamed words, begged words. Words of agony, words of grief, words of comfort, words of…well, I could add yet more words, couldn’t I?
But one Word has been spoken: a Word that doesn’t demand, or insist. A Word that does not accuse nor judge. A Word that speaks quietly, gently, infantly, on a dark, Bethlehem night, offering love, compassion, forgiveness and justice to the world. A Word that became flesh and dwelt among us.
That Word speaks to all our words, useful and useless. We might hear that Word more clearly if we stopped and listened to our own hearts, for that Word speaks there, first and foremost, offering us…well, not philosophy, not religion, not dogma, but just Himself. And when He speals. He speaks to our deepest needs, the ones we know and the ones we dare not face. He speaks Himself…to a hungry, often hopeless and noisy world. He is there, for you and me, and all we need to do is…let him speak.