"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded. And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager
He talked about what binds us together being our common posture before Christ as "people who have not had the nerve to walk away from Christ."
"We are the people who have not had the nerve to walk away; who have not had the nerve to say in the face of Jesus, 'All right, I'm healthy, I'm not hungry. I've finished, I've done.' We have, thank God, not found it in us to lie to that extent. For all the lies we tell ourselves day after day, that fundamental lie has been impossible for us. Thank God.
"We're here as hungry people, we are here because we cannot heal and complete ourselves; we're here to eat together at the table of the Lord, as he sits at dinner in this house, and is surrounded by these disreputable, unfinished, unhealthy, hungry, sinful, but at the end of the day almost honest people, gathered with him to find renewal, to be converted, and to change. Because the hard secret of our humanity is that while the body has the capacity to heal itself, the soul itseems doesn't. The soul can only be loved into life - and love is always something that we cannot generate out of our own insides - where we have to come with hands and hearts open to receive.
"The people who didn't have the nerve to walk away. And because they didn't have the nerve to walk away, the people who not always in an easy or welcome way, find they have more in common than they might have thought. What do we all have in common this morning in this church? We are hungry for God's love, God's truth, and God's healing, and we have recognised that we cannot heal our own spirits, but must come to one another and to God for that healing. Hungry together, reaching out our empty hands together, we discover something about our humanity that we could in no other way discover, and we as an Anglican Communion, a world-wide fellowship of believers, we are saying that from country to country and language to language, and culture to culture, there is always the hunger, there is always the need for love, and at that level our human solidarity is revealed to us as it is in no other way.
"Just theology? Just pulpit talk? No. No, in a world where human solidarity doesn't seem so obvious. Next weekend, and the week after that, the wealthy nations of the world will be considering what particular crumbs from their table might fall somewhere in the direction of the needy of the world. In a world where such a meeting is even necessary, we need witnesses to solidarity. We need to remember that those who starve and struggle in terrible violence and deprivation are us, not them - part of one human community, loved equally with the passion of God, invited equally to the table of Jesus Christ. We are part of the civilisation which has somehow got used to the idea that what is good for us in the wealthy part of the world has no connection with what is good for anyone else. We have somehow got used to this, and we as Christians are all too seldom pained and angered enough by this.
"I spoke during the meeting last week of the vision of the Church as that of a community where the poverty of one is the poverty of all, where the wealth of one is the wealth of all. Where because we recognise our solidarity as human beings, our active compassion for one another is kindled. And in a civilisation that is deeply sick, we need the Body of Christ to be alive and well. And that too is what we celebrate this morning. Invited into the Body of Christ, into those who recognise together their need and their hunger, we proclaim to the world that it is God's purpose that we should live with and for each other; that it is God's purpose that each of us here to be a gift to the neighbour of whatever background, whatever race. 'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.' And Jesus says to us, not only as individuals, but as a whole civilisation here in the northern world, the western world, 'So, you don't need me; so you are well?' God help us if we try to turn away from that challenge."
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"Christ's example is being
demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy,
which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here.
If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest
of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't,
it will be irrelevant."