Holy Innocents

Sermon Title: Holy Innocents

Date: 27th December, 2015

Preacher: Rev’d Susanne Chambers

Lectionary Readings: Jeremiah 31.15-20, Psalm 124, 1 John 1.5-2.2, Matthew 2.13-18 

The most difficult funerals I have had to take are those of babies and children.  No one wants to be there. No one wanted this little life to be gone… a little flame snuffed out so early.

It’s hard…its achingly hard… and for those whose children have died..the grief never goes away. For those who have children, can only imagine…and shiver at the thought of if it was one of theirs.

And yet, all through history, mothers and fathers have grieved over the death of their children.  Through disease, through gunshot wounds, bombs exploding, car accidents, overdosing….

With Rachel, we weep and weep…

I remember being told the story of the ‘flight into Egypt’ as a child, and usually in a matter of fact way…sort of an adventure story where Joseph through a dream, took the child and his mother to Egypt. I think the following story of Herod being tricked by the wise men and then because he was furious, killed all children under two years old, didn’t impact me at a young age. It was all told matter of factly! And although this was a very dangerous world for Jesus, I knew that he survived til he was in his 30’s!..I knew the end of the story…

How different do I read and hear that story now!

Mary and Joseph were simply refugees fleeing from a jealous tyrant.

So many refugees are fleeing from similar tyrants in our world, and seeing pictures of their plight brings this bible story sadly to life..…families taking risks in boats, crossing into other countries usually by foot, living in camps, leaving all their possessions behind, just to keep their families safe from those who would kill them. And sadly as we know, they don’t all make it.  The washed up body of the little two year old on the beach, struck all our hearts..

Did we think that our own world was safer for our children?

We are very fortunate here in Australia and we need to daily give thanks to God for the peace and comfort we have and the opportunities that our children have.

It is easy for us to think and say ‘thank God that’s not happening to us!’ that it’s over there…nothing to do with us…”

I am in awe of the Angela Merkl, from Germany who said ‘we can do this’.  We can help those who are fleeing for their lives…their history I’m sure underpins their compassion.

But every single child, man and woman, are loved by God…oh and even those who are using their power, their religion, and their greed, to disregard the commandment to love.  Always a difficult one, to love your enemies.

For Christians, the birth of Christ can and must remind us that there can be no cheap comfort for those who mourn their children or who are living in fear for their lives.  Christmas time I’m sure must be so tough for those whose children have died, since it’s all centered around children..

We here in Australia, need to continually pray, give support through survival packs, rally like the grandmothers who don’t want to see children in detention.  We can support as we have done, the Asylum Seeker and refugee Centre in Dandenong…one of many.

It’s heartening to see so many Australians, helping those who are less fortunate.

We will still weep like Rachel, weeping for her children who refuses to be consoled, because they are no more.

And yet, as we enter and sit with the pain and sorrows of this world, we also know that there is nothing, not even death that separates us from our children, our parents, our friends and enemies.  Because Love is stronger than death.  Love is the force that overcomes all manner of things that life throws up at us.

Love is what in the end, will heal the wounds of this broken world.

Love is what will bring about justice…when we say ‘enough’!

Enough killing.  Enough suffering. Enough…

And it starts with each of us…believing in the Christ child that came to show us that God cares for what God has made..you and me.

Believe this for your self!  A beloved child of God and then you and I are more likely to understand this for others.


The Lord be with you.