Sermon: Immersion in the Spirit


Sermon preached at MCC North London, Sunday 11th January 2015 (the Baptism of Christ).

Readings: Mark 4:1-11, Acts 19:1-7

Israeli desert seen from Masada, December 2008

Whom shall I send?

This is a similar reflection to that shared with the congregation of the Metropolitan Community Church of East London on Sunday, 7th February 2010.

Here I am, Lord

I vividly remember a conversation I had with a friend of mine once, I must have been about 17, in which I was complaining about having missed a period. (Sorry, boys.) So we got onto the subject of immaculate conception, and I believe what she actually said was,

God has used stranger people than you, Kate.

Back-handed compliments – win! But, seriously, I got to thinking about a couple of things from that. Firstly, what makes me such a strange person to be used? So I came up with a list of things that, in my mind, made me unsuitable;

  • my mental health difficulties
  • my sexuality (especially the fact that this was very much unresolved for me at the time)
  • my gender
  • my age
  • my lack of faith
  • my lay status
I suppose, I just thought that these days to be used by God you had to be a little bit more like this:
than this:

And when it comes down to it, I fall very far short of the glory of God. Being human, and all. As I heard in the sermon at MCC North London last week, from Jeremiah 1:5-7;

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
“Ah, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.”
But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.

As I heard the preacher say; there are any number of excuses we can wheel out. But, LORD, I’m…

  •  “crazy”
  • “gay”
  • “a woman”
  • “doubtful”
  • “not a priest”.
But, then, where do these excuses get us? What would happen if we all made those excuses?
“But, LORD, I’m crazy”.
I know. I love you. I need you to do this.
“But, LORD, I’m gay”.
I know. I love you. I need you to do this.
“But, LORD, I’m a woman”.
I know. I love you. I need you to do this.
“But, LORD, I’ doubtful”.
I know. I love you. I need you to do this.
“But, LORD, I’m not a priest”.
I know. I love you. I need you to do this.
Whom shall I send?
Here I am, God. Send me.