Words becoming redundant?

    There were two, perhaps three, cameras in the house in the early ’90s: an SLR without a flash, and two smaller cameras, one with a flash and one without.  Taking photographs was not the expensive pastime it once had been, but only someone professional would take lots of pictures when one or two would suffice. Go twenty years further back, and pictures are few and far between.  Film was expensive, developing and printing was expensive, and it would not have occurred to most people to have simply taken random photographs.…

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Sermons

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 ...

Summer sermon series, 2014 – The Catechism: 12. The Lord’s Supper

"Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to ...

Sermon for Sunday, 24th August 2014

"And they said, 'Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.'" ...

Personal Columns

Birthdays revisited

Miss Rabbage encouraged research: a history project was to be written on things that had happened on one’s birthday. Forty odd years later, the three items found in the the junior classroom book that listed anniversaries are still memorable.

On 16th October 1555, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, Church of England bishops who refused to renounce their Reformed faith, were burned at the stake in Oxford.

On 16th October 1793, during the rule of the Committee of Public Safety, Marie Antoinette, the former queen of France, was guillotined.

On 16th October …

Ireland

Bad taxes

It is budget day tomorrow. There is small chance of finance minister Michael Noonan introducing a progressive taxation system; one that bears upon people according to their ability to pay, one that is efficient in its collection so as to maximize the revenues available to the state, rather than one where much of what is collected goes to running the collection system. Regardless of what happens, the soft targets will be singled out by the revenue officials, those who do not have accountants and solicitors to massage the figures. The …

Spirituality

Robin Hood knows no weakness

Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood” was on television tonight. Robin Hood was a hero in my childhood days, though I am not sure Scott’s depiction of him would have matched those childish imaginings.

Back in the 1960s, television seemed full of heroic figures.  There would be police drama series where the coppers were always straight and the crooks were always caught; there would be war films in which the central character would triumph against overwhelming odds and make a Shakespearean-style tribute to his dead comrades at the end; there would be …

Ministry

Reaching the point of messiness

Being in the area, there was a moment of curiosity as to what the church was doing. “Messy church” announced its website; the sort of stuff that has, for decades, been the staple of children’s and youth clubs re-branded to suggest that church is something “hip and cool and with it”, or whatever the current phrase is. Reading it, the heart sank, what is wrong with simply declaring that your church is about the worship of the most high God? Won’t people take you as seriously as you take yourself?…

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

Words becoming redundant?

There were two, perhaps three, cameras in the house in the early ’90s: an SLR without a flash, and two smaller cameras, one with a flash and one without.  Taking photographs was not the expensive pastime it once had been, but only someone professional would take lots of pictures when one or two would suffice. Go twenty years further back, and pictures are few and far between.  Film was expensive, developing and printing was expensive, and it would not have occurred to most people to have simply taken random photographs.…

Church of Ireland Comment

If it were proved people wanted a diocese

Our three day diocesan clergy conference may become a thing of the past: our diocese is threatened. Of course, the argument will be couched in vague theological terms, there will be appeals to higher principles, but, at root, the issue is about numbers and money. If bishops and clergy cost nothing, no such changes would be contemplated: every church would have its own priest and dioceses would multiply.

The preoccupation with statistics can lead to a forgetting that people themselves are of unmeasurable worth.  A century ago, WB Yeats expressed …

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