Sermon for Easter 2015

    “Early on the first day of the week . . .” John 20:1

    The word “Easter” provides us with an acrostic to think about what happened on that morning in Jerusalem.

    “E” reminds us that it was “early” on that first day of the week that Mary Magdalene went to the garden to visit the tomb. It is dark, it is cold, it is not hard to imagine how Mary must have felt. She probably has not slept much since Friday evening, she feels weary, but at the first opportunity …

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Sermons

Sermon for Easter 2015

"Early on the first day of the week . . ." John 20:1 The word "Easter" provides us with an acrostic ...

Sermon for Palm Sunday, 2015

"Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields." ...

Holy Week Sermons, 2015 (Good Friday): Five Objects – A Spear

"one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out." John 19:34 Our ...

Holy Week Sermons, 2015 (Maundy Thursday): Five Objects – A Cup

Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from ...

Holy Week Sermons, 2015: Five Objects – A Coin

" . . . he overturned the tables of the money-changers" Matthew 21:12 Our Holy Week addresses this year focus upon ...

Lent Series 2015: What the word we hear and read?

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" 2 Timothy 3:16 "What the word we ...

Holy Week Sermons, 2015: Five Objects – A Table

When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. Luke 22:14 Our Holy Week ...

Holy Week Sermons, 2015: Five Objects – A Cloak

"Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields." ...

Sermon for Sunday, 22nd March 2015 (Fifth Sunday in Lent)

"among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from ...

Lent Series 2015: Who Say One Creed

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son ...

Sermon for Saint Patrick’s Day, 2015

"Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved" Acts 16:31 Patrick left us two pieces of writing, his ...

Sermon for Mothering Sunday, 15th March 2015

A sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Lent is here: http://forthefainthearted.com/2015/03/09/sermon-for-sunday-15th-march-fourth-sunday-in-lent/ " . . . as a hen gathers her brood under ...

Personal Columns

Past wrongs

Maybe the unruly hair is the only element of continuity.

Looking back through photograph albums, there are moments when the person seems to be someone entirely different.

Of course, it is the same person; the illusion of it being someone different as illusory as time itself.

One is pulled up sharply by  Albert Einstein who expressed the belief that “the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one.”   Einstein believed that the only reason for time was to stop everything happening all at once, …

Ireland

What has changed?

The Irish Times this week carried a column representing the views of fifty “evangelical” leaders who are urging a “no” vote in the marriage equality referendum. The question must be asked as to whether Jesus would have endorsed their opinions. Would Jesus have been a reactionary? Many church people have thought so.

Many Christians in the 18th and 19th Centuries thought he might have supported slavery. George Whitefield, the 18th Century cleric who is a major figure in evangelical history actually campaigned for the legalization of slavery in the state …

Spirituality

Hearing voices

On the night air there seems to come the sound of a human voice, speaking to someone, although there is no reply and it is not clear from where the voice might have come. Perhaps there was no voice at all, for no words were discernible; perhaps it was just a sound that might have resembled a human voice.

Do people who speak of encounters with the divine hear plain speaking voices? Words articulated in tones and a language they can understand? If they do, why don’t other people also …

Ministry

Speaking of the dead

A country funeral, a celebration of a good and faithful life, and an opportunity to speak of all that was pure and good, to give thanks for the person we knew and loved. An opportunity to unhesitatingly speak the whole truth. It is not always the case that the truth is spoken at funerals

There is an old Jewish story about a gathering for a funeral.  The mourners have come out of a sense of obligation rather than through any fondness for the departed.  The rabbi sensing a feeling in …

Cross Channel

Seaside days

A butcher’s shop in Bridport was the focus for a BBC 4 history programme. In childhood days, Bridport would have possessed a great mystique, but not for any of its shops. Bridport meant West Bay and the seaside. In the years of my West Country childhood, the seaside had always a sense of the magical, the exotic; a place where reality was different. Being an obsessive classifier, the seaside in youthful perception fell into four divisions.

The fourth division was the Bristol Channel coast of Somerset; it ran from Weston-Super-Mare down …

International

Missing names

Trying to prepare a short talk for the local history society on local men who died on the Western Front, the thought occurred to look at where they died and where they were commemorated and something struck me I had never realized before. Of the forty-four who died in the Great War, thirty-five died in Belgium or France; thirteen in the former and twenty-two in the latter. Of the thirteen who fell in Belgium, seven have graves and the other six have no known burial place, their names appearing among …

Church of Ireland Comment

On not being rich

The following was written for Bock the Robber’s blog – where its readership will be many times larger than its readership here.

“I hated being a Protestant when I was young. My friends used to say to me, “Sure, Tom, you must have money, you’re a Protestant.” They could not see him as someone who had as little as they had, being Protestant meant he was somehow mysteriously wealthy.

He would tell of being at school in the late 1960s when he was given ten shillings one Saturday to go …

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

Rector’s Letter – April 2015

I don’t cope with grief very well.  I remember the death of a man I knew well.

Tom was a good friend to me. Thirty years my senior, he was more like an uncle than a parishioner.  He kept open the little church where he and his wife and a small number of others worshipped Sunday by Sunday. Tom always smiled, always laughed; always had an encouraging word.

Tom became ill and had to go to hospital, he wasn’t pleased to leave his little village, but he took everything with …

Pop thinking

War pictures

On grey days when mist and cloud create a semi-darkness even in mid-afternoon, certain music is therapeutic. Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Band have the capacity to change the mood, to bring another world into the confines of a small and battered Peugeot car. It was The Band’s “The Night they drove old Dixie down” that launched a train of thought. “In the winter of ’65, we were hungry, just barely alive”, goes the song.

The winter of ’65? A hundred and fifty years ago. Why had a song about …