Memorial service for those who’ve lost loved ones.

7th May 2017. Reading: Romans 8:31-end

No Audio this time! Sorry.

Hope is what we cling to in the time of tragedy.
Some of you may have heard the story in the news recently of the Scottish surfer lost at sea for thirty-two hours. 22-year-old Matthew Bryce could not have known how his normal day of surfing would end with him stranded out to sea floating helplessly out to sea. Clinging to his surf board, he tried battling against the wind, paddling with all his might but of no use. As the hours passed and his shouts to passing boats went unheard, he said he’d almost lost hope “thinking I was going to die, I was almost convinced. More

Is it a mystery to you? Doubting Thomas

Listen along!

 

Readings: John 20:19-31. Acts 2:14a, 22-32.

Somewhere, in the distance
Hidden, from a view
Suspended in the atmosphere
Waiting, to come through
Sometimes it’s so far away
Sometimes it’s very near More

You are the salt and light of the world, so do something!

1 Corinthians 2.1-12, Matthew 5.13-20

The worlds a strange place right now. Nothing new in that you may say but these past few weeks, perhaps even month have made the world, our society,  even stranger and worrying than usual. We have the debates over what is  going to happen with Brexit, a new President of the US who making  executive orders which are apparently unconstitutional and the disquieting  reaction of middle Eastern countries to them. Although Boris Johnson said  Trump’s bark is worse than his bite, we all know he who barks loudest is  the most influential in his society. The resulting international protest  marches reflect that quieter voices will be heard as disaffection with eventsdeepen.  

So, here we are, in church as followers of Christ praying for peace, reconciliation and love. Where do we stand in this face of civil unease and  disturbing events? What does the scripture have to say to us?  

As I read through the readings I saw how easy it would be to pull out the linethe rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish and create a sermon based  upon trusting in God so don’worry, He’s in control. Yet this would be a  hollow message because, although in essence this is true, the message of  Christ is effectively cheapened.  

Looking deeper into the passage, we see Paul is speaking to the church of Corinthian about the divisions among them because they relied too much  upon following the wisdom of men rather than the wisdom of God. They  thought all theirs shows of spirituality, of following the right rules and  attending the right meetings made them safe, indeed, saved them from God’s judgement. They had, in effect, perfected the spiritual law by following the  loudest leader with the most convincing wisdom. Paul says no, this isn’t the  way of Christ because true wisdom is Gods, and can only be taught by the  Spirit. As Paul speaks he is demonstrating the power of the spirit to work  through him by stating his fear of speaking to them for he knows the wisdom  of God is counter intuitive to the wisdom of men and their observance of  religious rituals is hollow rhetoric. Their good news had become misleading  fake news.  

In Matthew, Jesus says Dzunless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”. In other words, it is not enough to know the law but to act in love. Love is the ultimate measure of following Christ, not the outward signs of spirituality.  

Going to church is good, yes, but only if the desire to go is born out an authentic, holy reverence, for the spirit of God to work within us and moves us as God’s people to advocate for those being treated unfairly, to speak for those whose voices are being silenced, and to help those caught in poverty. That’s the true power and Spirit of God’s wisdom. To be in God and love unconditionally like God, giving selflessly through serving others.

We do this by being salt and light in the world as our reading from Matthew tells us. Salt flavours, light illuminates. The good news of Christ brings a new flavour, a new light of hope into a world soured by darkness. This is our calling to bring God’s justice and liberation to our communities, whom like Pavlov’s dog, salivate on hearing another bell tolling the demise of life and liberty.

The worship God calls for is for us to serve our communities in love. We are called to no longer just defend the faith, for being defensive builds barriers, walls around us and them. Defending seeks to maintain previous gains which is ultimately a losing battle. Playing the offensive through nonviolent direct action campaigns continually escalates demands for liberty and justice to the point where small voices can no longer be denied to be heard.

When we are in God’s light, what will we do, how will we share the love of Jesus, the light of the world in concrete, material ways? Can we become so dissatisfied with selfish, status quo Christian spirituality that has no impact on society that we feel moved to do something? True worship of God deepens our relationship with God but also includes social witness and
justice as we are empowered by God, through the power of the Holy Spirit to act in love. God’s love is a driving force that inspires us to take action and risks to build communities and speak out. God’s love sustains us through difficult decisions and painful moments. But most of all God’s love unites all who are broken, disillusioned and betrayed by the world’s consumerism and politics. God’s  rule brings a kingdom of hope, peace and wisdom that can never be destroyed or corrupted. When we open ourselves to live under God’s rule, when our hearts are full of his love, how can we not share with
others the good news of Jesus? 

Take a step back

HT EP Psalm 119.81-96*, Isaiah 33.13-22, John 3.22-36. 28th August 2016

 

Last Thursday evening I had the wonderful opportunity to meet two young people to discuss their wedding in November. I could tell they were very much in love and completely comfortable with each other. Weddings are times for celebration. They celebrate two people coming together in the presence of God to confirm their commitment to one another. They are surrounded by their family and friends. Some are bridesmaids, flower girls and of course there is the best man. More

Change is to be welcomed.

Mark 7: 1-23 EP HT 10th July 2016 Gen 32:9-30, Ps 77


 

Part of what makes the Anglican Church the via middle way is the conviction that its beliefs and practices must derive from a thorough integration of Scripture, reason, and tradition.  Trying to achieve a perfect balance of these this is nigh on impossible, however, our church believes that we are in danger of teaching and living heresy if one of the categories dominates to the extent that the others are excluded.  So, next time anyone asks what is exactly is an Anglican then just quote Scripture, reason, and tradition.  Then send them to read up on Richard Hooker, one of the most influential priests of the Church of England in the 16th Century!

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Granny Puppet realises she will no longer be a pew potatoe

Family service HT 03 July 2016 Luke 10: 1-11, 16-20 with baptism 2 Kings 5.1-14

Granny puppet talks about:

  • Being Baptised and going to church regularly
  • Her love for her Garden – found poorly bird, prayed and cared for the little blackbird. (thinks) If I can do that, what can I do for people?
  • She decides to stop being a Pew potato and do something with the gift God has given her. (explain a pew potato is someone who just comes to church and sits on the pew. Then when service is over, they get up and go home.  Kind of like a couch potato.)
  • She realises she can do something; she can pray for others.

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Loving the demonized. Short Homily

Galatians 3.23-29, Luke 8.26-39 8am Homily HT.

In one of my former careers at a college, the end of the academic year always involved a time of staff training.  I remember that at one of these training days the team was gathered around a table for a team building exercise.  During the team building session, the team leader asked for each of us to reflect a moment on our colleagues.  They then asked us to pick a particular team member with which we found difficult to work with and write down all the faults of this person.  They then invited us to share this faults along with the person’s name with the group.  Now, as you can imagine, I was appalled by this and felt I had to step in.  So, before the exercise began I spoke up by telling a story of  an encounter with a Nun I met while on retreat.  I said that the Nun told me that the things we do not like in other people are usually the things we dislike in ourselves.  After a moment of silence by the group, I realised that my point had incidentally put paid to the exercise as no one was willing to complete the task.

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