It was good to welcome the Bishop of Monmouth to the Priory Church this morning to Confirm 7 new disciples.
Bishop Richard used the Gospel message ‘Blessed are the pure in heart’ as the text for his Sermon.
“Christian Faith is not skin deep. It goes to the heart of the matter. This service of confirmation is concerned with the life of the spirit that God has given at our baptism. Of course this is not separated from our body and mind, but the life of the spirit is at the centre of who we are and how we relate to God and others.
Blessed are the pure in heart
Strange in our society we place so much emphasis on external freedom. Our rights, our benefits. But a mature rounded person needs to look for the freedom of spirit which comes from purity of heart.
If we mention the word pure it has negative overtones – a Puritan who doesn’t enjoy life and it’s pleasures. How far this is from the truth! The Christian life is about joy, about love and peace. But these qualities, this way of life is hindered if we do not have a pure heart. The word pure in Greek literarily means clean, not full of dirt. For the early fathers of the church a pure heart was a heart set on the things of God, his goodness.
There are many things that distract us, many things that pull us apart within and without. There is a struggle between good things and bad things. A pure heart is set on working towards the good and allowing God to work within us.
Pure can also mean clearly transparent – you see things as they are. The saints which we celebrate over this weekend are people who allow God’s love to be revealed because they are open, transparent in their love for God. They can see God because he is within. We see that purity in them.
Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God. The Jews thought you could only hear God. Jesus says you can see God. You can, literarily recognise him.
For you being confirmed today I ask that you will have pure hearts. Hearts that will be focused on God and seek the good. If you do this God will reward you for you will begin to see the landscape of the spirit. You will see God. You will recognise him in your life and recognise him at work in the circumstances of your life and in those you meet. God is never absent, it’s just that most of the time we don’t see him! What you and I need is to give ourselves openly to God to receive his spirit of love and have our eyes and hearts open to catch glimpses of heaven in our midst.
For blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”
The Bishop will speak at the King Henry VIII School Remembrance Service next Friday at 9am, and will return to the Priory Church on November 15th at 12noon to Licence our new Deacon & Sub -Prior.