Sermon for Sunday, 21st December 2014 (4th Sunday in Advent)

    “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High” Luke 1:32

    He was great, he is great, he will be great; past, present and future As the Letter to the Hebrews Chapter 13 Verse 8 puts it, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever”.

    He was great.

    Jesus was always great. The Virgin Mary is told in Saint Luke Chapter 1 Verse 31, “And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him …

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Sermons

Sermon for Sunday, 21st December 2014 (4th Sunday in Advent)

"He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High" Luke 1:32 He was great, he is ...

Sermon for Sunday, 14th December 2014 (Third Sunday of Advent)

"He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, 'I am not the Messiah.' And they asked him, 'What then? ...

Sermon for the Second Sunday in Advent, 7th December 2014

"The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God". Mark 1:1 Saint Mark begins his account of ...

Sermon for Advent Sunday, 30th November 2014

"But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the ...

Sermon for Christ the King, Sunday, 23rd November 2014

"Lord, when was it that we saw you . . ." Matthew Chapter 25 Verse 37 The word "care" might provide ...

Sermon for Sunday, 16th November 2014 (2nd before Advent)

"For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who ...

Sermon for Armistice Day, 2014

Sermon at Saint Fintan's Church Mountrath on Tuesday, 11th November 2014 ‘The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the ...

Sermon for Remembrance Sunday 2014

"Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour." Matthew 25:13 In the year in which we have ...

Sermon for All Saints’ 2014

"Blessed" Matthew 5:3 Are we blessed? Are we a blessing? Being a Christian is to be blessed and to be a blessing.  ...

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 ...

Personal Columns

A dog’s Christmas

UTV Live tonight highlighted the plight of dogs at Christmas time. Puppy farms, puppies given for Christmas, old dogs being no longer wanted and being abandoned or taken to the council pound. To someone who regards most dogs as better than many humans, it is depressing news. A friend, who belongs to a Plymouth Brethren church, and I agree strongly on a doctrine that would probably be considered heterodox by the elders of his tradition and the bishops of mine: dogs surely have a place in heaven.

A conversation at …

Ireland

I’m dreaming of a green Christmas

The presenters on Lyric FM must dread this time of year, the demands for the same music to be played year upon year. The daybreak programme included a version of the worst of all seasonal songs, “White Christmas”, (surely even Bing Crosby grew tired of listening to it?) As if on cue, the car twitched; ever so slightly, but enough to notice. The road had been salted,  but the moisture on the surface had frozen again in the sub-zero temperatures, creating black ice ready to catch out unwitting motorists.

Do …

Spirituality

Cancelling Christmas would not be a problem

Traffic bound for shopping centres on a Saturday evening seemed contrary to the normal order of things in Dublin. Sitting at traffic lights, my companion watched the passing lines of cars, “this was not what Christmas was like – it used to be different”. After a rugby match at Lansdowne Road, we drove back through the city centre. After ten o’clock, the streets were filled with revellers, men in Christmas jumpers, women in cocktail dresses that offered little protection against the damp chill of the December air, and the odd …

Ministry

Make this Christmas one to remember

A gentle, softly spoken man, he lived in a terraced house in a street of what had once been a mill town, but was by then a dormitory for Belfast. The old community had been diluted by the arrival of thousands of new people living in the housing developments that encompassed the town. The streets in the town centre, houses where the front door opened on to the pavement and where there was no more than a small yard at the back, did not attract young families and were mostly …

Cross Channel

Blessed are the poor in spirit?

It is a day on which to remember her.

Once the post office had been a busy shop, though in such a small village it was probably never a “thriving business”. By the late 1960s the shop facilities were no more than sweets and soft drinks that might be sold to small boys with a handful of pennies. Together with her mother’s pension, the post office provided an income on which the lady and her mother lived; it can never have been very lucrative. There was the sale of stamps, …

International

Flying by the book

A power cut this afternoon in the British air traffic control centre at Swanwick in Hampshire caused substantial disruption of flight times and schedules. There were stories of passengers sitting inside aircraft on the tarmac for three hours with the cabin doors open, and of flights circling and circling, and of others being diverted to other airports.  It is hard to imagine air travel at it once was, when pilots could make choices, exercise discretion, and were not operatives in a computer-controlled network.

There used to be a book at …

Church of Ireland Comment

Ministering in rural communities
Last time I wrote to the Church of Ireland Gazette, my letter was ignored. Lest the latest letter does not find its way into print, here it is:
Sir,

For the first time in my ordained ministry, I recently found myself a member of boards of nomination for vacant parishes; it was not an encouraging experience. Applications were not plentiful and faithful church members found it hard to understand why there were so few people interested in coming to be their pastor. Given the emphasis of so much of the

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

A dreamin’ morning

“The Mamas and The Papas versus The Boomtown Rats – it’s one of those days”: a friend’s words to accompany his photograph of a threatening morning sky on a Dublin winter’s day. It’s not about the ominous colours of an Irish morning, though, it’s a state of mind, an approach to life: buoyant optimism versus grim realism. “California dreamin” versus “Rat Trap”; being in L.A. or a “Banana Republic”.

“California dreamin” evokes imaginings of a mythical land where winter and gloominess have no place.  Perhaps being there on a December …