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From the Office of the Presiding Bishop > Look. Learn. Listen

26 Apr 2020

A Sermon preached in an empty Cathedral  by his Eminence Archbishop Hartley, April 26. 2020. 
The powerful letter written to  the people of Corinth by St Paul gives us time to think as this mysterious virus sinks into our culture, flesh and civility. We are driven to great despair of what it means, some even say it’s the end of the world, but Paul reminds us in his 13th letter to the Corinth  people  and now to the world  ""Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass”, it is time to listen 
In the  world life  has become unbearable because of this virus  that SURROUNDS us it has broken the mettle of government’s, wreck havoc in institutions of healing and divided countries  into a political abyss, we are not sure what will happen too our lives which has become like a candle in the wind, but St Paul however was more to the point “Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, I have all faith,  that  could remove mountains, but without love, I am nothing”
As politicians  goes before  TV cameras to talk of this virus they are self-promoting themselves ignoring the thousands of deaths that are taking  place and those who grieve their lost, lives are spoken of  like  rabbits in the outer shires of the forest that are  attacked and killed by  predators, it seems like  love and care is lost as suffering continues, with  no end is sight, its devastating but St Paul cradles in thought of love and care "It Doth not, (he says)  behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, think no evil”. beloved  we should show  more care as corona attacks. Instead some are making  a profit over the demise of others. Politicians divide us making  speeches under the guise of press-conferences as this  unknown, uninformed enemy attacks, saying one day shelter-in-place, the next  calling  for states liberation, but again Paul brings us back to the point ""Rejoice not in words, but rejoice in the truth” we must not take a victory-lap for a war  not ended
Then there are others who will not take to the advice given by health professionals to  adhere to social-distancing and use proper  hygiene, then blame others when the virus hits home  finding excuses to run hither and there,  not only putting themselves in danger but  those who enter they sphere, they take offence when others try to lead them to safety, 2-million people around the world are gone, so is 50,000  in the USA perhaps they may listen to St Paul ""Bear,  believe, hope all things, endure rightful-things”
Life is not a  movie set where at   the end  if the hero dies he rises up and receive a paycheck and moves on to make another movie, life is to be  cherished-and-enjoyed, to help others in thought and deed, listen to St Paul again ""For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face-to-face: now I shall  know even as I am known”
Let us look at the  broader picture, why so many are trapped and dying in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, homeless thrown on the streets as if it means nothing,  others  who claim they care but only do so when the TV cameras are  running and their  tax deduction is coming and self-promotion intact.   St Paul teaches this “Now abides these three  faith, hope, charity,  but the greatest of these is charity”  let it shine unselfishly in loving kindness and hope for a better future. 
Today I urge  governments, clergy,  politicians and citizens alike to  approach Corono-19 as serious and behave in the manner that God would have us 
Hear St Paul one last time in 1st-Corinthians-13  When I was a child, I spoke as a child,  understood as a child,  thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things”
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen 

++Hartley, Presiding Bishop of the ACW


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