Author Archives: Avril Hannah-Jones

Sermon: The Unexpected Lydia

One of the reasons for declining church membership is simply that in twenty-first century Australia there is declining membership of everything. But unlike unions, sports clubs, and political parties, churches believe that we have God on our side, which leaves us with Judas’ question: ‘Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?’ Continue reading

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Reflection: The Offering

What I explained over the course of that year is that as a worship leader I stand up every single Sunday and tell a congregation something along the lines of, “Everything that we have is a gift from God, given to us to share”. If I mean that about my money, and my time, and my talents, then I could also mean this about a spare kidney, if I had one. Continue reading

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Sermon: Joining the church

But as Martin Luther King is quoted as saying: ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,’ and so, over the centuries, the church has discovered that apartheid is wrong, that women are the equals of men and (at least in the Uniting Church) that LGBTIQ+ people are to be welcomed and celebrated. Each time the church recognises that no one created by God can be called unclean or profane, the church is closer to living in a way that reveals God’s love to the world. Continue reading

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Reflection for Mothers Day

On this day when some of us are mourning the loving mothers we once had who have died, others are regretting the mothers who were unable to love us as they should, and yet others are grieving their own inability to become parents, it may comfort us to remember that in Jesus we have a Mother who is always with us and who will always love us. So on this Mothers’ Day let us celebrate and give thanks for the God who is our Mother as well as our Father. Amen. Continue reading

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Sermon: Thank goodness for Peter

There is a lovely line in a poem called A Vision of Piers Plowman, written in about 1400 by a man called William Langland: ‘And all the wickedness in this world that man might work or think/Is no more to the mercy of God than a live coal in the sea.’ That is what this epilogue to the Gospel according to John tells us; no human crime, sin or failing can outweigh the graciousness of God. Continue reading

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Sermon: This is our story

In the single greatest act of civil disobedience ever seen this man, executed by the powers of Empire, was raised from the dead. The very least that the world’s oppressive regimes expect when they kill someone is that the person will stay killed. Continue reading

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Sermon: Thank God! Palm Sunday and Refugees

I believe that Australia’s mistreatment of the asylum seekers who sought refuge here by boat has in recent years been this country’s greatest sin. It is supported by both the ALP and the LNP, and has broken the hearts of supporters of both. Continue reading

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Sermon: Do not be afraid

We do not need to fear the future or look back on the past with nostalgic regret, because we know that the God who does new things will walk with us into whatever lies ahead. It may be death, but we also know that after the crucifixion comes resurrection. We have nothing to fear. Thanks be to God. Amen. Continue reading

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Sermon: Two brothers

We often fail to live as the people God creates us to be, and then we repent that, but that doesn’t mean that we need to try to earn our Father’s forgiveness. As this parable shows us, all we need to do is come to ourselves in whichever far country we have exiled ourselves, and return home. The Father will come running to welcome us. Continue reading

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Sermon: Don’t blame the victim

Reflection for North Balwyn Uniting ChurchThird Sunday of Lent, 20th of March, 2020 Isaiah 55:1-9Luke 13:1-9 Humans have a dreadful tendency, in our need to make sense of life, to blame victims. We tend to see it when a woman … Continue reading

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