Sermon for Sunday, 3rd August 2014 (Trinity 7/Pentecost 8)

    “And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children” Matthew 14:21

    The story of the feeding of the five thousand is one that challenges us, it asks questions of us as Christians; it asks us about rest and responsibility and response.

    “Now when Jesus heard this”, we are told in Saint Matthew Chapter 14 Verse 13. When Jesus heard what? When he heard of the murder of John the Baptist by Herod. Jesus must have been moved to anger at such a crime; he must have been filled …

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Sermons

Sermon for Sunday, 3rd August 2014 (Trinity 7/Pentecost 8)

"And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children" Matthew 14:21 The story of the feeding of the ...

Summer Sermon Series, 2014 – The Catechism: 8. What is thy duty towards God?

"Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, ...

Sermon for Sunday, 27th July 2014 (Trinity 6/Pentecost 7)

"The kingdom of heaven is like . . ." Matthew 13:31 Jesus' words are a great encouragement; for those of us ...

Summer Sermon Series, 2014 – The Catechism: 7. You should keep God’s Commandments

"The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul".  Psalm 19:7 "Your Sponsors did promise for you, that you should keep God's Commandments", ...

Sermon for Sunday, 20th July 2014 (Trinity 5/Pentecost 6)

"The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field" Matthew 13:24 Did you ever ...

Summer Sermon Series, 2014 – The Catechism: 6. I believe in the Holy Ghost

"When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth" John 16:13 "I believe in the Holy ...

Sermon for Sunday, 13th July 2014 (Trinity 4/Pentecost 5)

". . . what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, ...

Summer Sermon Series, 2014 – The Catechism: 5. And in Jesus Christ

"Rehearse the Articles of thy Belief", says the catechism and those being taught would say the Apostles' Creed, declaring their belief ...

Sermon for Sunday, 6th July 2014 (Trinity 3/Pentecost 4)

"you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants". Matthew 11:25 To make ...

Sermon for Sunday, 29th June (Trinity 2/Pentecost 3)

A Saint Peter's Day sermon is here "you are not under law but under grace" Romans 6:14 What does that mean to us, in ...

Sermon for Saint Peter’s Day 2014

"But who do you say that I am?" Matthew 16:15 We expect the actions of those in in public life to ...

Summer Sermon Series, 2014 – The Catechism: 4. I believe in God the Father

"The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'". Psalm 14:1 Those learning the catechism, those echoing back the things ...

Personal Columns

Dinner lady outings

The vagaries of satellite television mean programmes are sometimes watched from unanticipated sources. Foyle’s War is always worth a second (and even a third) viewing and turning on the satellite box brought a string of channels identified as “ITV”. Clicking on the first on the list brought a channel that had advertisements for businesses in places like Bournemouth in Dorset and Beaulieu in Hampshire.

“Beaulieu”, said the Best Beloved, “didn’t you go there?”

“1970″, I said, “on a school outing.

There was a lady of a certain age who used …

Ireland

No banality, please

More than five hundred pages into James Joyce’s Ulysses: parts are incomprehensible, others seem to anticipate a magical realism that would become popular decades later. What is striking is the extraordinary use of language; dialogues where each phrase commands attention. Perhaps that is why Joyce so alarmed the church, it wasn’t just the content of the story, it was its power to command attention.

The church tends to prefer banality; perhaps it is safer, more controllable. The most banal moment I can remember was at the funeral of a neighbour. …

Spirituality

Unequal, even in death

Death has been described as the great leveller, the one thing that ensures equality between human beings. Of course, it is no such thing, even in death some people are more equal than others. Standing, yesterday, among those gathered at the village of Guillemont for a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the first day of the battle of the Somme. The moving words of Tom Kettle were read. In his thirty-six years, Kettle managed to be a barrister, a member of parliament, an academic, a journalist and a soldier. …

Ministry

Making a living

The ice cream van still plays the “Match of the Day” theme tune, how many years has it used that jingle? How many handfuls of coins here and handfuls of coins there did you need to earn in order to make the evening’s effort worthwhile?

In Glasgow, in the 1980s, there was a ‘turf war’ between ice cream families, a dispute as to which families could take their vans into which neighbourhoods. The film Comfort and Joy was inspired by the idea of an ice cream war; sadly, the real war …

Cross Channel

Fertile soil for UKIP

The success of the radical right in the European elections did not come from nowhere, nor did it come from a sudden espousal of extremist views by tens of millions of people. In England, the sort of people who voted UKIP are the sort of people you would meet in the pub on a Sunday lunchtime; they are neighbours, friends, even; they are ordinary working people. Overwhelmingly, they are neither racists nor xenophobes; they are simply people with a deep sense of alienation, people who have been ignored by the decision-makers, …

International

A long way from Tipperary

Yesterday, it was a fine summer’s evening in the North Tipperary town of Templemore; an evening when there was time to pause and ponder. Walking from the Church of Ireland parish church, which lies at the Roscrea end of the town, a small stone cross close to the pathway caught the eye; inscriptions in German are not frequent in Irish churchyards.

“Hier ruht unter lieber kamerad L. Spellerberg vom Inf Regt 212 21e Komp am 21 Feb 1895 aw 21 Jan 1915″

Below here lies our dearly loved comrade. A German infantryman, dead …

Church of Ireland Comment

To love those whom we dislike

The news media carried reports that the Twelfth of July parades in Northern Ireland had passed off peacefully. There was little by way of comment on why this might not have been the case. Perhaps it is because we do not understand Loyalism, nor do we wish to do so.

My late mother-in-law used to tell stories from the Belfast shipyard community in the 1940, 50s and 60s; tales of a proud people who received little reward for their loyalty to the unionist political establishment. Not that talking about the need to …

Writing

Days alone

My annual entry for RTE Radio’s Francis MacManus Short Story Competition again came nowhere, so this is the only place the story will ever appear. It is inspired by a man I knew who regarded anyone representing “officialdom” with suspicion and who regarded day centres and nursing homes as “scrapyards.” It may have been a contentious view, but it was one he held with integrity and is one I have encountered among many older men.

It was time to go back to the house. He picked up his stick and rose unsteadily …

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

Overhearing

Public transport used to be much more interesting People passed the time of day with others, had conversations about odd things, told stories. Lots of the time, only a few words might be heard, but they were enough. It was like having a few pieces of a jigsaw and imagining the full picture. Now, everyone listens to their own music or talks to friends on the phone; conversations have disappeared.

It was the fragmentation, the truncation, of conversations that endowed them with a memorable quality. Full conversations are prosaic; not even …