Author Archives: Avril Hannah-Jones

Sermon: When Jesus is being all too clear

It is absolutely important for us, as Christians, to donate to the work of Uniting, and FoodBank Victoria, and other emergency relief agencies. But in the twenty-first century it is no longer enough to expect the rich man to share what drops from his table with the beggar at his gate. We also need to use our intellect and our connections and our articulate voices to ask why there is any poverty at all in wealthy Australia, even if that takes us into the realm of ‘politics’. Continue reading

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Sermon: What is Jesus saying? (We don’t know!)

No one has any idea what today’s parable, the parable of the unjust steward, is about. The Church Fathers ignored it; renowned contemporary commentators have declared it to be incomprehensible; and people have suggested that the author of the Gospel according to Luke himself had no idea of its meaning, and so just added a series of morals to the end of the story in the hope that they would make sense of it. Continue reading

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Sermon: Thank goodness! We’re back to love!!!

Reflection for North Balwyn Uniting Church 11th of September 2022 Luke 15:1-10 Oh, thank goodness! After weeks of hard sayings from Jesus, during which preachers must remind congregations that Jesus is journeying to his death and so is understandably short … Continue reading

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Sermon: Losing our lives

I have also mentioned the Census numbers, because every church in Australia needs to take them seriously. They could be seen as evidence that Christianity in Australia is dying. I do not believe that it is. I believe that Christianity is becoming what it always meant to be: the salt, not the whole meal; the yeast, not the whole loaf. Continue reading

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Sermon: Jesus gets scary!

Today’s readings do not provide the gentle encouragement on which I prefer to preach. Today’s liturgy contains the word ‘love’ nine times, but it does not appear in either of the readings. And yet, as your minister, of course I am going to end with encouragement anyway. As one of my favourite saints, Julian of Norwich, wrote: God ‘did not say, “You shall not be perturbed, you shall not be troubled, you shall not be distressed,” but he said, “You shall not be overcome.”’ Continue reading

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Sermon: Be afraid, very afraid – or reassured and encouraged

The prophets told the people of Israel again and again that in order to be the people of God it was not enough for them simply to worship God, no matter how carefully they followed the requirements for such worship given in the books of the Law. To truly belong to God, the people of God needed to live out their calling in justice, and in caring for those most in need. Continue reading

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Sermon: Being rich toward God

We do not need to fear the future, even though we know it will not look like the past, because the God who cared for us in the past will accompany us into that future. We can be rich towards God, because God is always rich towards us. Continue reading

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Sermon: The women in the Gospel according to Luke

Maybe what Jesus is telling us is to focus on the one thing immediately in front of us as we do it, whether that is preparing a meal for a guest, or sitting with that same guest and paying attention to what they are saying. Maybe this is a story about being ‘pure in heart,’ as we translate one of the Beatitudes, having a single focus on whatever it is that we are doing, to do it well and to the glory of God. Continue reading

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Sermon: Laugh hard. Run fast. Be kind.

Violence against violence is worthless. Hate is always foolish, and love is always wise. Always try to be nice and never fail to be kind. Who was the neighbour? The one who showed mercy. Let us go and do likewise. Amen. Continue reading

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Sermon: The Uniting Church ‘radicals in politics’

We are involved in these apparently political issues because we believe that this is what the Gospel demands of us. Today we ordain women, we marry gay people, we are in covenant with the First Nations of this land, we celebrate our cultural and linguistic diversity, and we do all this because we are seeking to abide in Jesus and bear fruit. Continue reading

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