Sermon for Sunday, 2nd November 2014 (4th before Advent)

    “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practise what they teach” Matthew 23:2-3

    Hearing part of a conversation can be misleading, without knowing what had been said before and what might be said afterwards, there is a danger of drawing conclusions about the conversation that do not reflect the full truth of what is being said.  Sometimes our reading of Scripture is like hearing a snatch of a conversation, …

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Sermons

Sermon for Sunday, 2nd November 2014 (4th before Advent)

"The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not ...

Sermon for Sunday, 26th October 2014 (Trinity 21/Pentecost 20)

"If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?" Matthew 22:45 This is an important question because this ...

Sermon on Saint Luke

The opening words of Saint Luke’s gospel offer us important insights into the writing he leaves us and into the ...

Sermon for Sunday, 19th October (Trinity 18/Pentecost 19)

"Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's". Matthew 22:21 What are ...

Sermon for Sunday, 12th October 2014 (Trinity 17/Pentecost 18)

"For many are called, but few are chosen." Matthew 22:14 Imagine being invited somewhere and then being ejected because you had ...

Sermon for Sunday, 5th October 2014 (Trinity 16/Pentecost 17)

"I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces ...

Sermon for Harvest Thanksgiving 2014

"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15 "Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we thine unworthy servants do ...

Sermon for Sunday, 28th September 2014 (Trinity 15/Pentecost 16)

"By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?" Matthew 21:23 By whose authority do we ...

Sermon for Saint Matthew’s Day

Week by week, we read the Gospel story and rarely stop to think about the writers, those who wrote down ...

Sermon for Sunday, 21st September 2014 (Trinity 14/Pentecost 15)

"Are you envious because I am generous?" Matthew 20:15 "Call the labourers and give them their pay", says the landowner in ...

Sermon for Sunday, 14th September 2014 (Trinity 13/Pentecost 14)

"Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Matthew 18:21 Forgiving ...

Sermon for Sunday 31st August 2014 (Trinity 11/Pentecost 12)

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up ...

Personal Columns

A mythological evening

A mythological evening.

A harvest thanksgiving in a little country church, at a remove from the nearest village. A plain, Protestant place without cross or candles, filled literally to the rafters with people, for seating was so much in demand that the precarious gallery was fully occupied. Singing was so loud and enthusiastic that there were stanzas when the organist let the voices find their own way. The Sunday evening of a bank holiday weekend, television schedules filled with programmes supposed drawing millions, and people of all ages gathered for …

Ireland

Gerry and Tommy

Responding to allegations of sexual abuse by IRA members, members then moved south of the border to escape any prospect of due process, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams declared in the Dail chamber,   “But these actions were of their time and reflected not only a community at war but also an attitude within Ireland which did not then understand or know as we now do, how deeply embedded abuse is in our society.” Mr Adams, that is nonsense, either that or the IRA was filled with ignoramuses who knew …

Spirituality

Halloween is drivel

If someone says something is so, and they seem a credible sort of person, and there seems no reason why they would want to tell a lie, and they would certainly stand to gain nothing from telling you something that was not true, well, then, there seems no reason to disbelieve them. So it was when, moving from the North, we heard tales of Halloween and Samhain, and talk of the start of winter and the Celtic New Year.

It was a friend from the North who pointed out the …

Ministry

Life viewed from a safe distance

Days as a curate in the late-80s were not easy.  The paramilitary ceasefires were still years away; there were still plenty of atrocities to come. The extremists fed off the polarisation of the two communities and the middle ground was narrow and precarious.  There were moments when the hatred was visceral, and when just about anywhere else on Earth would have seemed attractive.

A ridge of hills rose steeply to the west and north of the town.  Driving one particular road brought you to open ground where you could stand …

Cross Channel

Not as a hen gathers her chicks

Their arrival in the airport could not have been missed; laughter, calls, shouts across the security area. “Please don’t let them be in my flight.” Of course, they were though, the only other flights left on the board were for Belfast and Gdansk, the chances of a Liverpool hen party heading for either destination were slim.

The flight was called and a queue formed, the party were concerned that their boarding cards showed them to be in different parts of the cabin. A member of the ground staff said he would …

International

Are they watching us?

In Liverpool at the beginning of the month, a radical bookshop looked tempting.

In undergraduate days, such shops had a magnetic attraction. By the 80s, the days when one attached credibility to the claims of many of the writers were long past, but the bookshops provided a counter-balance to the rising politics of neo-liberalism with its abdication of social responsibility, and the conversations one might hear among the shelves were always fascinating. The hard Left thrived on conspiracy theories, it was easier to rally students against people objectified as plutocrats …

Church of Ireland Comment

Words are not necessary

The man on the RTE radio programme this morning said that communication was 80% body language, 12 per cent tone of voice and just 8% words, (only hearing the middle part of the interview while driving the car, I don’t know who he was). Can that really be true? Do the actual words we use really account for only one-twelfth of what we communicate, and what does that say to those of us who are in the business of trying to communicate with people Sunday by Sunday?

If we take …

Writing

Waking thoughts

Keeping his eyes closed, he tried to slip back into drowsiness. The day that awaited was uninviting, to drift into sleep seemed much preferable.

The dream had been odd. He was at the gathering of a family unknown to him, a gathering so large that they had moved from their house to be seated in the street outside of their front door. Different family members were performing ‘party pieces’, a song, a piece of music, an Irish dance. He could not remember why he had come to be there and …

Notice Board

Summer Sermon Series

On Wednesday, 4th June we begin our fifth annual summer series in Borris-in-Ossory. This year we have a twelve week series on “Re-learning our faith”. The series will be based on the catechism many church members will have learned in their younger days and will ask what it is we believe today

Wednesday, 4th June: Who gave you this name?
Wednesday, 11th June: What did your Godfathers and Godmothers do for you?
Wednesday, 18th June: Thou art bound to believe, and do, as they promised for thee
Wednesday, 25th June: I …

Pop thinking

No more Blondies

“Three decades ago it wasn’t unusual for older acts to find success in the pop charts – but that is no longer the case”, writes Greg Kot, music critic at the Chicago Tribune on the BBC Culture pages, his answer as to why bands now in their forties or fifties do not enjoy chart success is no more than partial. Kot writes:

“What changed? How did veteran acts manage to maintain pop relevance in previous eras? A closer look at some of the more notable examples in past decades