Author Archives: Avril Hannah-Jones

Sermon: Trouble-making and scape-goating

But if the outsider was no longer an outsider, the insiders might need to examine their own lives. Without a contrasting ‘baddie’, the insiders might not seem to be as good as they had imagined. If there was no longer an external enemy to draw people together, the differences between them would become more obvious. They would no longer have simply been able to rely on being part of a community created by what it was not: a community made up of people who wear clothes and live in houses and do not need to be chained up. Continue reading

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Sermon: Relying on Holy Wisdom

I know that this is true, that God can give us wisdom as a gift, because I became a minister in my early thirties, and even now, fifteen years later, I am still much younger than most of this congregation. Yet every week I stand up and preach to people who in some cases have exactly twice as much life experience as I have. Continue reading

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Sermon: A quieter Pentecost

There is no wrong way to feel when people we love have died. But my prayer whenever I sit by the side of the dying is that they may go gently and peacefully into the loving hands of God, and I believe with every fibre of my being that as we say good-bye to someone we love we are giving them into the arms of the God who has loved them all the days of their lives and who continues to love them after death. Continue reading

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Sermon: Salvation and Liberation

God’s love does not save us from suffering. God’s love does, however, accompany us as we suffer. God suffers with us. Continue reading

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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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