Advent Sunday Sermon at Saint Matthias’, 2nd December 2007
” . . . on the last day when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead .”
The words of the Collect, the prayer for Advent, sound strange to 21st Century ears, even though we say them each week in the Creed, the still sound odd. The idea of God coming into our world does not fit into our contemporary thinking. If you asked people if they believed that God would come in …
John Humphrys remembers his father as not being very favourably disposed towards clergy,
“That can probably be traced to an experience he had as a young man when he was staying with his aunt at her little cottage in a Somerset village not long after the First WorId War had ended. They were about to sit down for Sunday lunch when the door burst open and the vicar strode in. Without so much as a by-yourleave, a tap on the door or even ‘Good morning’, he demanded to know why
Tom was a good friend to me. Thirty years my senior, he was an avuncular figure who 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 was getting better. The day he was told that the tests were clear, he waltzed his wife around the hospital ward.
A few days after the good news, Tom died. It was a cold, bleak winter’s Saturday evening in Belfast and Tom …
Our kids attend a very nice fee-paying school. This is possible, in part, because the Irish Government pays the salaries of all teachers, making private education accessible to many more than would otherwise be the case; in part, because the school offers very generous terms to clergy. On a stipend that is roughly on a par with the average industrial wage, we can send them to what the English call a “public school”.
Very good sets of exam results came home last night and pondering these I opened this morning’s …
John Humphrys’ In God we Doubt is troubling. John Humphrys is always reassuring, but he seems to encounter a world filled with fundamentalists. There are the Christians who believe the world began 6,000 years ago (as Mr Humphrys points out, this is a thousand years after the Sumerians invented glue); there are the Moslems who wish to re-establish the Caliphate under Sharia law; and there are the atheists who insist nothing means anything anyway because we are just an accident of genetic combinations.
What gets lost in any conflict is …
Standing in a crammed hall of people eating cake and drinking tea, I caught sight of a friend, younger than me, standing alone. Excusing myself from the group I was with, I pushed through the crowd and reached him. His wife and a friend stood a few feet away, with their backs turned, deep in conversation.
“Um, why are you standing by yourself?”
“I can’t eat sandwiches and talk to people”.
Completely baffled, I changed the subject.
How do school kids and workmen and picnickers manage? I thought. …