Formation Of Dundee United
No One Has Seen God
I want to remind us what we have been thinking about the last few weeks.
Two weeks ago remember we had the heater here, and we talked about how many heaters there are in the universe.
2,945 million million million million million million million heaters in the universe.
And the level of protective clothing you would need to see God, would be too much.
So there are two way that we see God,
And in the love for each other.
And remember we said there are two places in John where the writer says
“No one has ever seen God.”
No one has ever seen God, John 1:18
It is God the only son who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
No one has ever seen God, 1 John 4:12
If we love one another, God abides in us, and his love is perfected in us.
And we suggested that this is how we see God,
In people, God in them, loving each other.
And then last week we had Dave and Fiona talking to us about the Church in Cambodia,
And you remember the way that people turned to God in the dark days when so many of them were being killed.
Remember Dave got us all to stand up, and say if we were like the Church in Cambodia, then the number of believers in the Church left after Pol Pot would be the front few rows here.
And you are wondering how did that happen, the courage, the truthfulness of the Christians, God must have been in them, loving.
That verse must have been happening.
No one has ever seen God,
But if we love on another, God is in us, and his love is perfected in us.
Fiona, said a kind of throwaway remark when she was showing the pictures of Cambodia.
Remember there was a Buddhist temple, and Fiona said,
People have this yearning to know God,
And even if they don’t know him, they make temples to try and reach out to him.
So these things are all here:
The love that that we have for each other
God in us
And that temple, the reaching out for God.
Jesus In The Garden
The passage that we read this morning comes from the last hours of Jesus life.
Jesus is about to die, but he has some things that he must utter to his Father,
Before the torture and pain of their separation.
And he is on his knees,
And he prays for himself,
And he prays for his disciples.
And then he prays for those who will believe through the word that the disciples pass on.
In other words, us.
Every single thing that we have heard about Jesus, can be traced back at some point to these 12 men and many more women,
We are the ones that believe
So in that Garden, Jesus is praying for us.
And what he prays, is kind of hard to grasp,
It is prayer that becomes from deep within Jesus,
Not the part of him that sorts everything out into easy to understand, intelligible sentences, no a deeper place than that.
And he starts to pray.
“And now I ask not for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word. Than they may all be one…”
And then you get a huge mix of things, which keep coming again and again:
That we may be one
And the Father and Son are united, are in each other
And that we would be in the Father and the Son
And that we would love
And that we would know the glory of the Son
And that the world would know that the Jesus has been sent by the Father
And that we would know God.
All that is there, in this deep prayer
Uttered for us,
When Jesus’ life is just about to end.
And to help us think about that mix of things
The Father and Son united in each other
We united in each other, and in the Father and Son
And we are One
And that we would love
And that we would know the glory of the Father of the Son – the power, the heaters
And that we would know that Jesus has been sent by the Father and the Son
And that we would know God.
To help us think about these things,
I want us to think about the formation of Dundee United.
Formation Of Dundee United
I have been thinking about the way that football teams are named this week.
Always there is mention of place.
Sometimes it is quite baldly stated
Motherwell nothing else, just Motherwell
Or a place that you have associations with
Celtic, or Hibernian
And maybe because the name Dundee was already taken, you know they needed to tweak it, so there wouldn’t be brand confusion.
But why Dundee United.
Well partly because Dundee City was taken,
And partly because in 1923, the businessmen that were rescuing the club wanted something with broad appeal (the previous name Dundee Hibernian was too limited), they went for Dundee United.
And then you might say, what are you going to do.
And it’s interesting that more recent names for teams, often in sports like Rugby,
Are About what you are going to do the opposition.
Leicester Tigers – we are going to devour you
Sale Sharks – we are rip you to pieces
Glasgow Warriors – not for us the subtle elegant mechanisms of the shark, not for us the finely honed predation of the tiger,
No will just batter you.
But earlier names for teams, reflected something different:
We are not just good at football, you know, we are also a bit brainy.
Said Hamilton Academicals – footballs on a Saturday, but the rest of the week its Latin and Calculus.
And other teams it is about an adventure:
Rovers, is about that, we are going to rove, we are just going to go about the place, having adventures:
So the men from Kircaldy, from Raith, they are going to Rove, all over Fife, and maybe when daring into Tayside and Central,
And the men of Doncaster, and the men of Bristol, And the men of Melchester, roving
And the rovers, would be joined by like minded souls, would be the Rangers,
And you would get the Glasgow Rangers, and the Cambuslang Rangers,
And the Rovers, and the Rangers, might bump into the Crusaders from Belfast,
Who are Roving and Ranging but with a cause in mind.
But the folks forming Dundee, they didn’t want to rip you apart with teeth, like the Sale Sharks
Or Batter you like Glasgow Warriors
Or be quite clever like the guys from Hamilton
Or Rove or Range like the ones from Doncaster, or Bristol
They wanted to Unite.
And that is something that they shared, with folk from
Manchester – Manchester United
Newcastle – Newcastle United
Ayr – Ayr United
And I think that this captures something about success,
United we stand, divided we fall,
The people of Portsmouth will stand a better chance if they unite
So they will be Portsmouth United.
But there is something else going on,
That being united, is something precious,
That there is something going on here which is about more than football,
We have this deep, deep craving to be united,
To be one.
Aliens Thinking Sex As Pleasure
If a group of aliens landed from another galaxy, and by some mis-setting of the GPS co-ordinates, they landed on a Newsagents,
What would deduce about this planet from newspapers and magazines.
They would conclude perhaps that the most important person in Britain
Was a young lady from Essex called Katie Price
And that, existed on a diet of sugar and potato
And that sex was all about pleasure.
For that is what the magazines would be telling them.
Sex is about pleasure.
And sex as pleasure is not alien to the Bible, although it is concentrated in one place, in a book called Song of Solomon,
But when the Bible normally wants to talk about sex, it doesn’t talk about fun or even satisfaction, it talks about knowing.
Abraham knew Sarah, and they had a son
Jacob knew Rebecca and they had twins
The aliens in the newsagent would say that you have sex with someone and then you get to know them
In the Bible, the you can’t do one without the other.
And what is this knowing about
This knowing, in the Bible, critical verse, is about two becoming one.
The Spice Girls had a point, when they sang “Two become one”
That is what is going on.
When Nick Clegg and David Cameron stood on the Downing Street lawn, they were not only announcing a new politics, because this is how we get laws through the house of commons,
Somehow they were rejoicing that it was better to be one.
Possible, in some people’s ears, the best song that U2 have ever produced is a song called One.
It’s a song which on the face of it is about the break up of a relationship.
The video has a disillusioned Bono sitting along in a restaurant, smoking cigarettes and bemoaning of the absence of a woman who he loved once, but who is now guilt-ridden actress with a misplaced sense of importance:
Have you come here for forgiveness?
Have you come to raise the dead?
Have you come here to play Jesus?
To the lepers in your head
Did I ask too much?
More than a lot.
You gave me nothing,
Now it’s all I got
But we’re not the same
Hurt each other
Then we do it again
But then something overtakes, there is a possibility that something can be better than this:
We’re one, but we’re not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other
What is interesting about that song, is that a decade later,
This is the song that allowed people so sing about 9/11
U2 had a song that might have had better lyrics for this, they had a song called New York
But this is the song that captured the imagination
And as they sang the song
And people sang One
Up on the stage would be names, names of people.
Because the backdrop to the pain of a breakup
And the bitterness of rewriting history
And the sharpness of betrayal
And horror of death
Is the hope, the yearning, the deep deep hunger
In the Buddhist temples of Cambodia
And the naming of Dundee United
And the powerful emotions of sexual attraction,
Is the hope, the conviction, that we might be one.
In The Garden…
And so in the garden, Jesus sinks to knees
And what does he pray for us
He prays that we might be one.
We are so different
We are from many different generations
We have different levels of pay
We have different abilities with our brains, with our hands, with our ears, with our tongues
We have different experiences of God
Some of us are committed, firm believers, with a solid knowledge of the ancient documents of Protestant Faith, some of us are new in the door,
Some of us live in families, some of us are alone
Some of us have histories of excess and depress
Some of us nurse the bitterness of things that we wish we had done
Some of us feel like passengers, some of us like drivers,
Some of us like old songs, and some of us like knew
Some of us make others here come alive, some would struggle to hold a conversation
With the exception of Jesus.
Not one single person here, knows every other person’s name;
And he it is that prays
That they may be one….
It can be done.
And two reasons swirl around the passage
One, that the world might believe-
That was the great pray of the South Indian Church,
Whose logo is on the front of the Order of service,
In our one-ness, and that Church was made up of Presbyterians, Methodists and Anglicans, through our bickering the world disbelieves, through our unity lies the hope of our transformation.
And through our one-ness
We come to be like God
Who is One, Father, Son and Spirit.
That is the hankering, the hunger, yearning that is in the cry “one”
It is the cry to be found in God.
And because Jesus prayed – it must be hard, you don’t pray for things that happen anyway, you don’t pray for gravity to work, or for Tesco to keep expanding
But because Jesus prayed, it can be done
In our time, in our eating, in our prayers,
In our love
We can, we can