Sunday 26th July 2020 – St Olave’s Day Service
This Sunday’s Reflection is by the Rev’d Arani Sen, Rector St Olave Hart Street
Reflection for St Olave’s Day 2020
Matthew 13: 31 -33 and 44 -52
Today as we reflect upon the life and mission of St Olave, we are encouraged by the gospel reading today, the parables which describe God’s growing kingdom, it grows from something tiny into a huge, unprecedented world changing movement. It grew fast. King Olaf II is a complex and not uncontroversial character BUT what we do know that he is remembered as the one who brought the conversion of Norway to Christianity. Olaf’s life was changed miraculously when he encountered Jesus Christ in England. Of course, he was a Viking warrior, and a bit like St Paul, we need to read him in context. What I want to want to concentrate on is his zeal to see people following Jesus Christ, and his desire to spread the kingdom of God and its influence.
In the parable today, Jesus talks about things that grow very fast. He says the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. Something tiny will grow, and its influence will bring about life changing events in the world. It is a great encouragement to us. Building God’s kingdom is not easy especially at this time of COVID. We are uncertain about the future, yet we trust God and his purposes. For example, more people have begun to explore spirituality in lockdown, as life is uncertain, we have a hope and a certainty in Jesus Christ to share. We pray that we can engage with people who are seeking the forgiveness and new life of Jesus Christ.
The next parable is about yeast is also very tiny and it grows at an astonishing rate; God’s kingdom growing does not depend on us; the unexpected out of the ordinary – perhaps these things signpost the kingdom of heaven. Thus, Olaf encountered Jesus Christ and was baptised in Rouen. Something must have happened that made him think that Christianity speaks to his deepest needs. Christianity can make positive change. It is a gospel of love, peace, and healing although I do not think he got all of that. The conversation on Norwegians was sometimes forced and violent.
Yet, Olaf had a heart of mission, working an English bishop Grewolf, to spread the teachings of Jesus Christ. The laws of Norway were then influenced by Christianity. Christianity spreads deeply, like yeast, it should influence the way we view our own society. King Haakon VII interests me; here we have a Christian leader, a king, whose faith lead him, like Olaf. to be courageous and step out even when things were very tough. King Haakon stop against Hitler’s demands, even fleeing to England where he led an exile government. The memorial stone reminds us of the courageous Christians leaders who stood up for justice and the reign of Jesus Christ. May we be courageous in our faith and proclaim with confidence Jesus Christ, crucified and risen.
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