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Sermon for the Feast of St Simon and St Jude

Fr. David Curry

Christ Church Windsor
8am October 28th, AD 2012

“He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”


It is a powerful passage and one which takes us back to the Sundays of Easter leading to Pentecost, to the coming down of the Holy Spirit, hence the liturgical colour of red which connects the Holy Spirit with the Apostles who are sent in Jesus’ name. In other words, this powerful passage from the Gospel of St. John places us in the very heart of the Trinity; in short, in the communion of God who is the basis of our communion and fellowship with one another. We live only when we live with God.

That must seem a hard saying or at least a puzzling statement and yet it lies at the very heart of the Christian understanding of our life with God. Through the witness of the Scriptures, Jesus, who is the Word of God, has made known to us the things which God wants us to know and live. His word becomes the very basis of our life in his body, the Church. The Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude reminds us of the apostolic fellowship to which we belong precisely because of the power of the Holy Spirit “teach[ing us] all things and bring[ing] all things to [our] remembrance,” all the things which Jesus has said to us.

At first glance such ideas might seem merely dogmatic and authoritative. But upon consideration, perhaps, you can begin to see their wisdom. Left to ourselves, it can be said, we are destructive monsters – the whole of the biblical witness bears testimony to this idea, an idea which is equally confirmed by experience itself. We live in the midst of a bloody, violent and uncertain world, a world of our own making, to be sure. And yet, the Scripture readings of this day remind us of another kingdom, the kingdom of God, another city, the heavenly city, the City of God. They remind us of the apostolic fellowship of the Church which, if it is to be the Church, must stand upon the authority of God’s Word.

The feast of St. Simon and St. Jude completes the cyclic celebration of the apostles in the course of the year. We end that cycle with Simon and Jude about whom we know precious little, biographically speaking. Yet, with them the celebration of the twelve-fold apostolic foundation of the holy city, the City of God, is complete. And yet who are they? They are simply those who followed Jesus’ teaching and became the emissaries of his word and life; in short, apostles, those who are sent. They are defined not by their own words and deeds but by the Word of God incarnate in Jesus Christ “himself being the head cornerstone” in the lovely language of the Collect. Their lives are nothing less than a visible witness to Jesus Christ and to the power of his life in us. To be sure, we associate certain things with these apostolic witnesses and the saints in general; they are the patron saints of one thing or another which is a way of pointing out certain qualities of our humanity as redeemed in Christ.

Simon is associated with zeal. A zealot is really a kind of fanatic, which of course probably troubles us but in another way, zeal or strong desire for God and his kingdom can hardly be denied or dismissed; it is more a question about what we are strongly desirous about and in what way. Will it be the things of God in mercy and truth or our twisted view of what we think is right?

Jude, on the other hand, is associated with lost causes. I must admit to having some affinity with Jude. Lost causes! Now there’s a sobering thought! Yet it reminds us of the limits of this world and the limits of human ambition which can so easily distort even good desires and ambitions into something monstrous and destructive. I like to think that Simon and Jude belong together as a kind of corrective to the destructive follies of our humanity when we think we know what is good for others and for our world but without proper regard for the very things which the Holy Spirit brings to our remembrance, namely, the words of Christ. We cannot take the Gospel captive to human agendas. Rather that Word must take us captive to himself and let its resonance be seen and heard in our lives.

That can only happen by the grace of God through his Word having its resonance in us and our lives. Only so shall we be made an holy temple acceptable unto God. The temple theme resonates through our liturgy. We gather in this temple and are reminded of our calling to be temples too, temples of the Holy Spirit united in the doctrine, the teaching of the Apostles, so concisely and succinctly set before us in the Creeds of the Church. In a way, the three great creeds are all the Apostles’ Creed. They proclaim our biblical faith and remind us of who we are and what we are called to be. It is, we might say, nothing more and nothing less than what St. John means when Jesus says that the Holy Spirit “shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” Only so can we dwell in the love of God – by Word and Sacrament and in the power of his grace.


“He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”